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Using Gmail as a 1GB Virtual Drive

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Need another reason to get your Gmail account? How about using its generous 1GB storage capacity as a virtual drive to save and retrieve files directly from inside Windows Explorer, accessing it from a new drive you’ll find under My Computer?

(No Gmail invite?)

This is accomplished by a simple installation of a third party Shell Namespace Extension called Gmail Drive, which customizes Internet Explorer. You can find it at www.viksoe.dk/code/gmail.htm. The following is taken from the web site:

GMail Drive creates a virtual filesystem on top of your Google GMail account and 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.

Ever since Google started to offer users a GMail e-mail account, which includes storage space of a 1000 megabytes, you have had plenty of storage space but not a lot to fill it up with. With GMail Drive you can easily copy files to your GMail account and retrieve them again.

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 your mail account (using the GMail search function) to see if new files have arrived and to rebuild the directory structures. But basically GMail Drive acts as any other hard-drive installed on your computer. You can copy files to and from the GMail Drive folder simply by using drag’n'drop like you’re used to with the normal Explorer folders.

Because the GMail files will clutter up your Inbox folder, you may wish to create a filter in GMail to automatically move the files (prefixed with the GMAILFS letters in the subject) to your archived mail folder.

Please note that GMail Drive is still an experimental tool. There’s still a number of limitations of the file-system (such as total filename size must be less than 40 characters). Since the tool hooks up with the free GMail Service provided by Google, changes in the GMail system may break the tool’s ability to function. I cannot guarantee that files stored in this manner will be accessible in the future.

There you go.

Mark Fleming is the founder of a new blog called Google Tutor & Advisor. Google Tutor & Advisor offers in-depth Tips, Techniques and Advice for Google Users.

Visit Google Tutor & Advisor

Using Gmail as a 1GB Virtual Drive


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