Nov 13, 2006

GMail Drive

GMail Drive is a free namespace extension ("add-on") for Microsoft Windows. It allows a user to access a virtual drive stored in a Gmail e-mail account by causing the contents of the Gmail account to appear as a new network share on the user's workstation. In order to use this add-on, a user needs a Gmail e-mail account. The add-on enables a user to use the normal Windows desktop file copy and paste commands to transfer files to and from the Gmail account as if it were a drive on the user's computer.


GMail Drive in Windows XP

For GMail Drive to operate, the user's computer must be connected to the Internet and must have access to Gmail. A broadband connection is preferable though not necessary. GMail Drive uses the inbox of the users Gmail account to store files and creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account so enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your GMail account directly from inside Windows Explorer. GMail Drive literally adds a new drive to your computer under the My Computer folder, where you can create new folders, copy and drag'n'drop files to.

When you create a new file using GMail Drive, it generates an e-mail and posts it to your account. The e-mail appears in your normal Inbox folder, and the file is attached as an e-mail attachment. Gmail Drive periodically checks the mail account (using the Gmail search function) to see if new files have arrived and to rebuild the virtual drive's directory structures.

Multiple computers can connect to one Gmail account thus allowing GMail Drive to act as a multi-user file server.

Consequently, restrictions on the Gmail service are also enforced when using Gmail Drive. For example, users are not able to upload files greater than 10 MB. In the past, Gmail also prevented users from transferring certain file types, such as an executable or zip archive. Some users bypassed this restriction by renaming the file extension.

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