Wednesday 16 July 2008


Situation: from time to time one needs to move big files (~100-800 MB, so you cannot attach them to e-mails) from one computer to another over the Internet. Of course, there are various solutions that can be used: either install a real/complex server, or use ftp, or DC++, or use dedicated websites that allow uploading big files for them to be later downloaded (they offer password protection too), or using the file transfer included in instant messaging clients (in Romania most people use YM, but I use an older version of Trillian Pro and they're not compatible when it comes to file transfer) and so on.

Mircea suggested a lot of time ago that I could use HFS - he has been using it that time for a few file transfers and he was satisfied by it; just as he did, I downloaded it from

To put it simple, the best thing about HFS is that you simply start it, add what you want to be downloaded/shared, give the link to a friend to download the file and when you're done, you simply close it. (there's no need to install anything; as I've already told you it's a simple solution - and it works; should you need a more complex solution, do install a complex server, like Apache for example)

So, since then I've been using HFS from time to time to transfer files between me and my friends.

Today I was forced to discover an exciting new feature of HFS: you can also use it for uploads. I followed the steps explained here and it worked just fine. (The problem was that at the other end the user had no control over the public IP and only accessed the Internet over NAT. Normally, when the other user needed to transfer a file to me, he/she started its copy of HFS and I downloaded form him/her; however, now the NAT thing didn't allow for that.)

Conclusion: it's a good piece of software. I recommend it.


etor said...

I would like to proudly annonunce that, in recent versions, the Pidgin IM client ( also successfully supports (before these recent versions some support existed, however it failed to be successful) YM file transfer.

Second, I would like to point out that, in the case of both users accessing the Internet from behind NAT, many of these options, HFS included (i think, you may confirm or deny), are not eligible.

Liviu said...

The thing was that I was not going to uninstall Trillian Pro and move to other IM client. I might do it though in the near future, maybe after October 1st. Pidgin seems a good candidate, indeed, since my desire is to have a client that combines many IM protocols.

Secondly, yes, as far as I know when both users access the Internet over NAT, it doesn't work - NAT is a horrible thing that destroys the pretty TCP/IP stack of protocols => the good news is that IPv6 (when every computer and router in the Internet will be compatible with it) will destroy NAT => there's a God fighting for the Internet, thank you!
In the case I described in my post, one might overcome the problems that NAT creates either by using port forwarding (and that requires one to access the NAT box in order to configure it to do port forwarding to one's computer) or by using a third party server with a public address (the IM-owner-company-of-that-protocol, i.e. Yahoo, should do it, I think, in order to overcome the situation when both users behind the NAT wish to transfer files between them using it's IM protocol).