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How To Send Files Over The Internet

There are many ways to send files (pictures, videos, documents, etc) across the Internet to another computer. You might want to send someone pictures from a birthday or wedding, or maybe a document or spreadsheet you’ve been working on.

Obviously, you could just load the files onto a USB stick and “pop round” to share the files. But often that’s going to be impracticable.

Sending the files across the Internet, however, is easy to do, convenient and quick.

Send Files Using Email.

You can use your email account to send files directly to one or multiple recipients. You simply add the file(s) as attachments to the email.

Email attachments can be pictures, videos, or just about any type of document. The only proviso is the total size of the email. Depending on which email service you’re using, there’s a limit of either 20MB to 25MB. Although that’s not much, it’s usually sufficient for sharing a few photos with friends.

How To Attach A File To An Email.

Log in to your email account and begin a new email just as you normally would, adding in the email address of the recipient(s), a subject line and a quick message in the email body section.

When you’re ready to attach your file, click the paper clip icon.

The paper clip will appear in different places depending on which email service you’re using (which is mildly annoying), but it’ll be there somewhere.

In this example, I’m using Gmail, but they’re all similar.

Paper clip (add attachment) icon indicated in Gmail.
To send a file as an attachment to an email, click the paper clip icon.

After clicking the paper clip icon a File Explorer window will open.

Simply locate and select the file(s) that you want to send and then click the attach button.

After a few moments, the files will be uploaded and attached to your email. Now all you need to do is to click the send button. Job done.

Selecting the files to send in File Explorer.
Locate and select the files you want to send.

Selecting A File To Attach.

Finding the file(s) to attach to your email is done through Windows File Explorer which we covered earlier in the At Home Computer Course How To Use Windows File Explorer

Sending Larger Files Over The Internet.

Sending files as attachments to emails, although easy to do, won’t be suitable every time that you need to transfer files from one machine to another. Sometimes the sheer number of files will be a problem and sometimes the size limit for emails will be an issue.

To get around that you can use a file-sharing service. There are many of them around, but they all work in generally the same way.

How it works is that you will upload the files and/or folders that you want to send to the website (or service), then send an email to the intended recipient of the files/folders.

The email will contain a link, that when clicked, will take them directly to those files.

From there they can simply download the files onto their own computer.

In effect, the service is operating as a kind of middleman, holding the files/folders until they are collected by your recipient. Rather like sending a parcel through the post.

Folder being uploaded to the cloud and then downloaded to a computer.
From me to you.

Whilst the basic principle is exactly the same regardless of which service you use, the way in which it actually operates will vary slightly between the different services.

Sending Files Using Microsoft Onedrive.

To get started, copy and paste the files/folders that you want to share into your Onedrive folder.

Onedrive will automatically begin uploading your data to your account in the cloud.

Depending on your Internet connection speed and the size of your files it may take a while, but eventually, they’ll be ready.

Ondrive folder marked in File Explorer. Also the folder to be sent over the Internet is highlighted.
Copy and Paste the files/folders you want to send (share) into your OneDrive folder.

Sharing A File/Folder In OneDrive.

Once your files are safely deposited on the Onedrive servers, the next thing to do is to “share” them.

Inside the Onedrive folder, select the file/folder by left-clicking it once and then right-clicking on it to open the context menu. On the context menu, move your pointer onto Onedrive and then click the SHARE option.

The SEND LINK window will open. Type in the email address of your intended recipient. You can add several email addresses by clicking in the “Add Another” box.

Just below the email address boxes, you can add a greeting or quick message. When you’re ready, click the SEND button.

Onedrive and Share options on the right click context menu in Windows 11.
Move you’re pointer onto Onedrive and then click SHARE.
Sending a link from Onedrive to share a folder.
Add the email address of your recipient, a quick message and then click SEND.

After clicking the SEND button, Onedrive will automatically send emails to all the recipient email addresses that you type in. They’ll each receive an email containing a link that will connect them directly to the file/folder that you’ve shared.

To transfer the files to their own computer, they can simply click the DOWNLOAD button.

Email with the link to the file/folder that you want to share.
Email from OneDrive containing the link.
Inside the Onedrive folder. The Download button is highlighted.
The Download button in OneDrive.

Send Files Using Google Drive.

If you’ve got a Google account (anyone with a Gmail email address has a Google account) you get 15GB of storage space for free.

And similarly to Onedrive, you can “share” any files or folders that you’ve uploaded to your account.

How To Upload Files/Folders To Gdrive.

In order to send (or share) a file/folder in Google drive, you need to upload it first. You can access your Google Drive account from the Google homepage or from within your Gmail account.

Google apps and Google Drive indicated on Google home page.
To access Google Drive from Google’s homepage, Click the Apps icon and then click Drive.
Apps menu in Gmail. Google Drive is indicated.
Or from within Gmail, click the Apps icon and then click Drive.

Once inside your Google Drive account, click the MY DRIVE button to open a drop-down menu.

On the menu, click either FILE UPLOAD or FOLDER UPLOAD depending on what you’re trying to send.

Note that you’ll need to select the correct option. If you choose File Upload, then you’ll only be able to upload files. You can upload as many files as you wish, but you won’t be able to select any folders.

If you choose Folder Upload, you can only select folders for uploading. The folders will obviously contain files, but you won’t be able to select an individual file, only the folder that it’s in.

Google Drive. My Drive button marked, menu open and File upload and Folder upload indicated.
Click the My Drive button and then select to upload either files or folders.

Whether you chose to upload files or folders, a File Explorer window will open.

Navigate to the item you want to share, select it with a single left click and then click the UPLOAD button.

Folder selected for upload to Google Drive.
Upload the file/folder that you want to send over the Internet.

Sharing (Sending) A File/Folder In Google Drive.

Once your file/folder has finished uploading to Google Drive you’ll see it appear. To share it, you’ll need to send a link, right-click on the item you’re going to share and then left-click GET LINK.

Folder to be sent over the Internet indicated in Google Drive
The folder has finished uploading to Gdrive.
Get Link option marked on the right click context menu in Google Drive.
To send it to someone else, right-click on it and then left-click Get Link.

After clicking the Get Link option, the Share window will open. Under the General Access section, click the Restricted drop-down arrowhead and then select “Anyone with this link”. Finally, click the COPY LINK button and then the DONE button to close the window.

Share window options in Google Drive. General access section is highlighted.
Click the drop-down arrowhead.
Anyone with this link and Copy link button indicated.
Select “Anyone with this link” and then click the COPY LINK button.

Now all you need to do is to send your recipient(s) an email with the link pasted in.

Email to be sent to recipient containing the link to shared folder in Google Drive.
Paste the link you just copied into an email and send it to whomever needs/wants it.


Transferring files between computers over the Internet is fairly easy to do and very convenient.

If you’re only sending a few files, then attaching them to emails is probably the best way to go, bearing in mind the file size limits.

For larger files, then both Microsoft Onedrive and Google Drive do a very good job and since most of us will already have accounts with one or both companies already set up, then why not make use of them?

The only real issue with using Onedrive or Google Drive is that you may already have files/folders stored in them for backup purposes. And these files will eat into your free storage allowance.

If you don’t want to use either OneDrive or Gdrive then there are plenty of alternatives, the most well-known of which would be Dropbox. A quick Google search for transfer files for free will help you out.

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