Microsoft offers hosting service through XP

Users of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system will be able to store a variety of files in an online storage bin hosted by...

Users of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system will be able to store a variety of files in an online storage bin hosted by a Microsoft partner. This will allow users to access their files from any computing device with an Internet browser.

Microsoft has come to an agreement with Xdrive Technologies to provide users with an online storage service that can be accessed via the Windows XP Publishing Wizard.

Users who choose the Xdrive service will pay $4.95 (£3.34) per month for 75Mbytes of storage. Users can set up shared folders that other friends or co-workers can access, and Xdrive provides a data-backup service to retrieve lost information, according to Karl Klessig, president and chief executive officer at Xdrive.

Users typically store most of their information on a PC's hard drive, but using Xdrive's servers might be more convenient when users want to share files or access them remotely, Klessig said.

"Instead of sending large files, I can just share them with XP users," Klessig said. "The files will be stored in a remote location, and users will be notified when certain files are available to them."

An XP user can create a number of folders for storing files, such as Word documents and videos. The user can set different levels of access for each folder, marking some as private while making some folders accessible by other users via the Internet. Friends or co-workers can be allowed to work directly with files or, for example, have read-only or print-only access, Klessig said.

Users can access the files over any device with an Internet browser, including PCs, handheld devices and mobile phones. However, at this point, most handheld devices would be limited in what kinds of files they could display. As handheld devices are equipped with improved screen size, file support and bandwidth, the viewing problems should be solved, Klessig said.

Users can purchase 1Gbyte of storage space for $49.95 (£33.75) per month. Xdrive has localised versions of its software for Japanese, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German speakers.

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