There are many sites that offer cost-free file storage, but be aware that stored files, whether stored on internal and external drives, face a variety of dangers of being lost because of virus, corruption or crashes.
Advantages of free sites are, for example, files can be shared in situations where e-mail attachments of large documents can be sent. It is much easier just to send a link to the document. In addition, personal files like photographs, videos and music files can be shared publicly or privately through free file storage sites.
However, one must remember online storage companies don't guarantee customers a fail-safe backup system and legal experts say there is generally little recourse for consumers in the event of data loss when using such services.
"In general, consumers are out of luck," said Ira Rothken, an attorney based in San Rafael, Calif., who has litigated such cases in the past. "Frankly, it's understandable. There are always going to be glitches that lead to data loss." He said consumers can protect themselves by ensuring that valuable files are adequately backed up. Some Web-based e-mail services, such as Yahoo Mail, allow customers to download e-mail to their desktops and retrieve them using a PC-based e-mail client such as Microsoft's Outlook.
Remember: it is a good idea not to store personal information of any kind on these sites.