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Send email attachments up to 5GB with AOL's Xdrive

XDrive email
While most web-based email services have file attachment size limits, there are plenty of ways around those limitations. MailBigFile, YouSendIt, Driveway, and other services all let you "park" large files temporarily online and send an email to your friend or colleague letting them know the file is available for download. But sometimes you want to send a message directly from your email client and still attach a large file.

This blog's parent company AOL is launching a new service that attempts to let you do just that. And we want to like it, we really do. But right now it just doesn't work as well as we'd hope yet.

Here's how it works. AOL has a whole slew of web services, including a web-based email client and a web-based storage service called Xdrive, which gives you 5GB of online storage for free. So combining the two was kind of a no brainer. All you have to do is sign up for XDrive and then click the "attach file" button when composing an email message, and check the "Upload to my Xdrive" to send large attachments via Xdrive. Any file that's larger than 16MB will automatically be sent via XDrive.

For some media types, this works great. Your recipient gets an email with clickable links that let them view pictures or watch/listen to multimedia files online. But for other file types, things are a bit trickier. While the recipient will see a link with the name of the file you uploaded, when they click the download button they will get a file with an arbitrary string of characters for a file name. That wouldn't be so bad if Xdrive didn't also strip the file type from the name. That means if you send a Word document, for example, the recipient will have to add ".doc" to the end of the file before their computer will know which program to use to open the file.

We're glad to see AOL taking steps to allow users to send large messages via email. The concept is brilliant because it lets you get around file size limits whether you're the sender or receiver. But the execution still needs some work.

Tags: aim-mail, aol-mail, file-attachments, xdrive