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Cloud Storage Without Using up Local Storage with The New ExpanDrive 3

Cloud storage is anything but a panacea for small SSDs. You might have 25Gb of iCloud storage, or 100Gb in Dropbox, but you’ll need that much space free on your Mac to take advantage of it. Run out of local storage, and cloud storage will stop working for you too. On a mobile device, sure, you can use Dropbox without it taking up tons of local space, but on your Mac or PC, it’s either store everything locally too, or resort to using cloud storage from your browser.

It’s the failure of cloud storage, one that’s surprisingly not talked about that much. Evernote, Dropbox, and iCloud — even your email if you use a native mail app — all take up local storage, something that can become quite an issue if you have a 11″ MacBook Air with a 64Gb SSD, or even the more spacious 128Gb SSD that’s rather standard across the board these days.

The freshly released ExpanDrive 3, though, is at least a partial solution to this problem. It lets you mount Dropbox and other online storage services, and treat them like an external HD. All the cloud storage goodness, without taking up extra local storage on your Mac.


A computer network exists to ease the transfer of data from one computer to another. Before networks became common in homes and offices, moving even a small file would require transferring the file to some temporary medium, often a floppy disk, taking that temporary storage to the other location, and then copying the file onto the new destination computer. It took more time and effort and moving a file to a computer in another building or location required someone to walk or drive the disk there. Now with the ubiquity of networks this task has become an almost transparent action. We routinely move files around our local networks with little more difficultt than moving files within on our computer.

This easy transfer still only holds in when the source and destination are two computers on a local network. Once you need to transfer a file over the Internet, that is to a computer somewhere else, things get more complicated. This is such a common need and over time several dedicated protocols such as FTP and SFTP arose for this task. Unlike the seemingly transparent transfers on the local network, transfers with these protocols require a specialized client such as Cyberduck or FileZilla to move files between the remote location and your local computer.

The ExpanDrive app seeks to bring the convenience of a local drive to remote storage normally accessed through FTP, SFTP, and on Amazon’s S3 service. It makes a FTP, SFTP, or Amazon S3 connection appear like a USB drive plugged into your computer and transfers to these remote systems as simple as moving a file to an external hard drive. Let’s look at how well it works. (more…)

Our giveaway of ten ExpanDrive licenses is now closed and the winners chosen. A big thank you to all those who entered, and also to ExpanDrive for supporting the competition. If you’d like to find out more about the app, our review is a great place to start.

Without further ado, the winners are as follows. Where a name is slightly ambiguous, I’ve linked to the comment in question:

  1. Eugenio Grigolon
  2. John Sturgeon
  3. Kim Korte
  4. Benedikt R
  5. Bartek
  6. Matthew Delprado
  7. Zach (for this comment)
  8. Mike Staszel
  9. Phil (for this comment)
  10. Albert D

Congratulations to you all – you’ll be receiving your license code via email within a few days. We’ll have another competition for our awesome readers coming very soon!

We’re running a another huge competition this week, with ten (yes, ten!) copies of ExpanDrive on offer, worth $400. We reviewed ExpanDrive yesterday, and found it to be an excellent tool for integrating FTP access with the OS X Finder.

It’s a great solution if you’re a web designer, developer, regularly back up to an FTP server, or don’t want to fork over $99 for access to an iDisk.

Entering is simple. All you need to do is:

  1. Post a link to this competition – either on your website, or via Twitter
  2. Leave a comment, letting me know where you posted the link!

The competition will run for 10 days, and we’ll randomly select ten winners on Friday the 5th June. The odds of winning a license are incredible, so don’t forget to subscribe via RSS or follow us on Twitter to find out if you’ve been successful.

Good luck!

With the availability of all-in-one development apps such as Coda and Espresso, a dedicated FTP program is beginning to seem like a fairly archaic way to access remote data. ExpanDrive offers a modern solution to FTP access by integrating seamlessly with the OS X Finder. Once connected, you can modify files from any application as if using a local USB drive.

After using ExpanDrive for a few weeks I can safely say that I won’t be returning to any other system. It works completely as advertised and performance is impressive. This review will take a look at how ExpanDrive works, and suggest a few changes you may need to make before migrating to it fully.