How to share large digital files

Given that many of us now have the ability to capture video with digital cameras or camcorders, a problem of how to share them has arisen because such files tend to be very large.

My friend, Phil Petty, called me tonight to ask for guidance in how to reduce the size of an *.avi file he created so that he could email it. I advised him that emailing it wasn’t the solution, because most ISPs limit the size of files that can be attached to a message and compressing such files is a non-trivial matter.

Here’s the solution I proposed instead.

Use a free service like, Rapidshare, to upload the file to their hosting site and then send the link to the file you upload to your friends by email. They can go to the site and download the file from there, since there is no limit (except the available hard disk space you have to store it) to the size of a file you can download as contrasted with the limits imposed on the size of a file you can email. Rapidshare is only one such site on the net, but it is a reliable site that permits uploads that do not exceed 100 MB in size.

If your file is larger than the permitted upload size, you can split the file into smaller segments using a free program called HJSplit, which is available from here. You can find the manual for HJSplit here. This free file splitter and joiner application in combination with Rapidshare should enable you to share files of any size with anyone anywhere.

Update with additional information: If the process for downloading a file isn’t immediately obvious to you, you can check out this series of screenshots that will help to explain. Step one. Step two. Step three. And finally, step four.

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