Use the FREE On My Disk Software to Create Your Own Private and Secure Personal Cloud

You probably have read a lot in this newsletter and elsewhere about the various file storage services in the cloud. Some of the better known ones include Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Tresorit, Mega.nz, and perhaps a few dozen others. These are valuable services that allow you to gain access to your files wherever you are, to (optionally) share files with others, and to copy files from one of your computers to another. However, there are two major drawbacks to these services:

1. They tend to charge a lot of money if you have a lot of files you wish to keep available.

2. You have to give your files and, more importantly, CONTROL of your files, to someone else.

To be sure, all the better file storage services provide industrial-strength encryption that prevents anyone else from being able to read the contents of your files—not even the employees of the file storage service. Nonetheless, many people are uncomfortable with giving control to strangers on the Internet.

I often hear or read comments from non-technical computer owners who say, “I don’t trust the cloud.” That statement always comes from someone who doesn’t understand how encryption works. Even so, convincing someone to forego their fears of giving up control is nearly impossible.

One new product called “On My Disk” would seem to solve both problems.

This small piece of software allows you to keep your data on your own disk drive(s) where you and only you have control. At the same time, you can make those files available online in a manner similar to the various file storage services.

On My Disk uses your computer’s internal hard drive or (optionally) inexpensive external disk drives that you can purchase online or at a local computer store. You probably will want to use a USB disk drive that plugs into the connector on the back of your computer although other configurations are also available. Even 4-terabyte drives are available for $80 these days. (For one example, see http://amzn.to/2x1idmz.) Even higher-capacity drives are available at higher prices. You can fill one or even dozens of those disk drives with files and place them online in your own personal cloud.

Compare those prices with storage fees charged by Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Tresorit, Mega.nz, and others!

With On My Disk, you can choose to place all your files online or just some of them. For instance, you might simply place the contents of one folder and its subfolders online but keep all other files on that disk offline.

You also control access to the files that you have online. For instance, you might keep all the files private, accessible only to yourself. Optionally, you may elect to share selected files with one person or with a group of users but not with other users. You also have the power to revoke access to the files at any time.

In effect, On My Disk creates your own personal cloud, totally under your control, running on disk drives that you purchased and installed at home or at the office. On My Disk presently works on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Raspberry Pi computers. In addition, software to be installed in routers and NAS (Network-Attached Storage) servers is under development and is expected to be released within the next few months.

Unlimited cloud space, file size, and traffic make On My Disk ideal for content makers, freelancers, photographers, videographers, and home hobbyists.

The price for the On My Disk software? FREE.

Unlike other cloud services, On My Disk offers all the business features for free.

Typical uses

What if you want to transfer a bunch of media files? Let say, 1.5 terabyte videos that you recorded from a video camera? What if some of those files are more than 2 gigabytes in size? (That file size is a common problem for some file services). NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.

What if you want to store 10 terabytes or even more of files? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.

What if you are concerned about security? What if you want everything to be encrypted to keep out hackers? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.

What if you want to share some, but not all, of your files with family members or team members? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily. Shared folders can be accessed using a web browser or mobile app. Sharing options include:

  • Access by link
  • Access with password
  • Limited time access

What if you want to replace your present FTP server? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily. It also adds more modern (and more secure) protocols than the aging FTP standard. Sending large files to a co-worker on a business trip is not a hassle.

What if a remote user is downloading a huge file and is then abruptly disconnected from the Internet? Again, NO PROBLEM. When the remote user again connects to the computer that is running On My Disk software, it simply downloads the remainder of the file(s). There is no need to start again from the beginning.

What if your files are distributed over a number of different computers? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily. However, the files do have to be accessible, either locally or via the network, to the computer that is running the On My Disk software.

What if you want to deliver large files to customers who do not have On My Disk software? NO PROBLEM! On My Disk can handle that easily.

What if you are not a software expert and you want someone to install the software for you on your computer? NO PROBLEM! The On My Disk support personnel will install the software remotely for you for a fee.

All in all, I suspect you will agree that the list of features is impressive.

Downsides

On the downside, you should be aware that the On My Disk software is new and still is considered to be a beta test version. It is in use today by hundreds of users but still is not guaranteed to be bug-free. Actually, no software is ever guaranteed to be bug-free, but fully tested and released (non-beta) software is usually fully supported. If you want fully tested software, I’d suggest you wait a few months until the supported version of On My Disk is released.

Next, you will have to install a small software program on the computer that is making files available: Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or Raspberry Pi computers are supported. That computer also must be able to access all files to be made available online, whether the files reside in the computer’s own internal hard drive, an external hard drive, or in a flash drive connected to that computer, or in another computer that is connected to it via a network. The remote user accesses the files by opening a web browser on his or her computer or cell phone.

Please keep in mind that On My Disk is a file access product, not a file backup product. It does not make backup copies and does not store backups in any other location. You still will need to make frequent backups by means of some other process, the same as you always have.

While the On My Disk software is described as a “personal cloud,” you should be aware that it is not true cloud computing. It looks and acts like the more common cloud-based file storage services (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and others) but does not operate as a true cloud-based service.

Explanation: A true cloud service runs on multiple servers, usually installed in different data centers, in widely dispersed locations. Each server in a true cloud service constantly is backing up the other servers in the same service, offering total redundancy. If a particular cloud-based server has a hardware malfunction or if an entire data center loses power or Internet connectivity, the other services in the same cloud will pick up the load within seconds and continue to operate. The end user typically does not see an interruption in service.

On My Disk does not include the ability to run on multiple servers and simultaneously copy files back and forth (called “file replication.”) In fact, On My Disk software uses old-fashioned, non-cloud, technology: one computer by itself acting as a server that can be accessed by remote users. On My Disk by itself does not offer any redundancy.

Finally, the computer(s) and router must be left powered on and operational all the time if files are to be accessed remotely whenever needed.

Summation

On My Disk software is developed by Bineon razvoj in storitve d.o.o. in Slovenia. All the software menus are in English with more languages expected to be added in the future.

On My Disk provides a quick and easy method of making files available to yourself and (optionally) to others and yet to retain total control of everything yourself.

You can read more about On My Disk or even download the software at: https://onmydisk.com.

 

7 Comments

This is a really exciting concept, but I suspect it is only a sign of what is coming. I’m sure the people behind this software already have ideas on how to provide synchronisation, and I’ll put money on it being available in v2 of the software within a year.

To have a 2 or 3Tb HD sitting here attached to my computer, and synced with friends around the world, has the potential to put a very big hole in the business plan of Dropbox (and similar Cloud companies). Disruption is rife!

However (and there’s always a “however), having lost two laptops and a UPS to a single lightning strike in the past, I am now paranoid about disconnecting my computer when I’m not at home, or asleep. I also travel a reasonable amount. I have no plans to turn my study into a fully bullet-proof data centre, but I could probably make the above scenario work for me with a bit of thought.

John Graham

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I wonder if using such software might conflict with one’s user agreement with their ISP. For example, one sentence in the Comcast Acceptable Use Policy (for Xfinity High Speed Internet) (policy) states:
“Examples of prohibited equipment and servers include, but are not limited to, email, web hosting, file sharing, and proxy services and servers; ”
(italics added)

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The first thing that strikes me is – How is the developer making any money? Without the money-flow, will he be in business 1 yr, 5 yrs from now? Or is it free, just because it is still beta?

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    According to the On My Disk web site at https://onmydisk.com/business.html the company also offers custom software development, primarily integrating On My Disk functionality into your own company’s software. I can envision that being a very lucrative offering for Internet Service Providers, companies that offer cloud-based file storage services, and others. By using the customizations offered by this company, other companies could save a lot of the expense of creating their own custom-written software.

    Like

“However (and there’s always a “however), having lost two laptops and a UPS to a single lightning strike in the past, I am now paranoid about disconnecting my computer when I’m not at home, or asleep. I also travel a reasonable amount.” No reason to use an expensive computer to control your at-home HDD. I have purchased surplus Lenovo Thinkpads (sans memory or HDD) at ham radio flea markets for $5. Adding enough memory to create a server for a large HDD & learning/installing enough Linux to do this doesn’t seem that expensive or difficult. I can buy Raspberry Pi Zeros new for $5 and $10 (with included WiFi) at a nearby computer store, these are so cheap as to be considered disposable. Only other risk I can think of is a house fire due to electronic malfunction or lightning strike.

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There are other nice alternatives too, I’ve created an Open Source solution myself, which allows you to create your own Home Cloud, where you can share your files – https://gaiasoul.com/2017/09/05/secure-file-sharing-with-your-friends/

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Hi Dick, thank you for your great review of our On My Disk! I wrote you an email, but you must be swamped with spam so I briefly put it here. We are launching crowdfunding campaign to make On My Disk more reliable with Connector, a kind of “USB-to-Cloud” adapter that converts any external drive into a cloud storage linked to On My Disk or any other Nextcloud server supporting our protocol. It is affordable and really plug-and-play. And it solves one major issue – user does not have to install the client on PC and leave it powered on.

I hope this information is interesting to you and your readers and maybe worth some “follow-up” post in your blog. Campaign pre-launch page is already available:
https://www.crowdsupply.com/bineon/on-my-disk-connector

If you are interested, we can send you a prototype for the review.

Cheers,
Alexey Volkov,
founder of On My Disk.

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