How do I transfer files remotely for free?
“I want to transfer a batch of files from my office computer to my home computer. How can I do remote file transfer for free?
-Question from Reddit”
Actually, you’ve got lots of options to transfer files between computers. you are able to use the free remote desktop with file transfer features, the free Windows built-in file share tools, and the free online file transfer services.
How to perform remote file transfer free [7 options]
In this part, we’ll introduce 7 ways to perform remote file transfer for free. You can choose the most suitable way according to your own case.
Case1. Remotely transfer files via free remote desktop with file transfer features
The most significant advantage of using remote desktop software over other methods is that it allows you to not only transfer files remotely but also completely control your work computer from home to perform remote work. Here are 3 free remote desktop software with file transfer.
Option 1. Free yet professional remote desktop software AnyViewer
The easiest and fastest way to perform remote file transfer free is to use the free remote access software with file transfer feature AnyViewer.
- Wide compatibility. It works with several Windows versions, including the newest Windows 11 and Windows 7.
- High efficiency. You don’t even need to appear in front of the computer which contains the files you want to achieve file transfer with AnyViewer.
- Fast speed. It transfers files at a really fast speed, even if transferring large files over the internet. For example, it only costs about 20 seconds to transfer a 2 GB zip file from the local to the remote computer if they are on LAN.
- Improved security. The file transfer process is secured by Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) encryption, protecting your data from leakage.
- Multiple features. As a remote desktop tool as well, it also allows you to easily control and manage another computer remotely. Besides, it is also a screen share tool.
Step 1. Download, install, and launch AnyViewer 3.0 or above on both Windows computers. If your version is lower, please upgrade first.
Step 2. On the Controller computer, go to Log in, and then click Sign up. (If you already have signed up on its official website, you can log in directly.)
Step 3. Fill in the signup information.
Step 4. Then you can see you successfully logged in to AnyViewer. Your device will automatically be assigned to the account you’ve logged in to.
Step 5. Choose your target computer, and then click File transfer.
Step 6. Then a File Transfer dialog box will appear. You’re able to transfer files between devices freely by clicking the arrows after choosing the target files. You can also double-click the target file to achieve transfer.
- To transfer files freely, it is highly recommended to upgrade your account to a professional or enterprise plan. Here are what a professional or enterprise plan can bring to you:
- Faster file transfer speed. Transfer speed for a free account is 500 KB/s, and for a paid account is up to 10 MB/s.
- Increasing numbers of files are being transferred at once. For a free account, 100 files can be transferred at a time; for a paid account, this number is unlimited.
- Larger size of a single file that can be transferred. The maximum size of a single file that can be transferred for the free account is 100 MB, and for a paid account is 1 TB.
Option 2. Copy and paste files between computers using Windows Remote Desktop
The second option is to use the Windows Remote Desktop Connection (RDP) to copy and paste files between computers to achieve file transfer. This is the Windows built-in software, you don’t need to download it and can get started right away.
But according to user feedback, transferring files via RDP is quite slow. A user has reported that it has cost him 15 minutes to transfer a 1.4 GB zip file via RDP. Also, you’re only allowed to copy and paste files smaller than 2 GB.
Step 1. On the client computer, search for Remote Desktop Connection in the Search box. And then open it.
Step 2. On the main interface of Remote Desktop Connection, go to the Local Resources tab, and then check the Clipboard.
Step 3. Go back to the General tab. Enter the IP address and user name in the Remote Desktop Connection interface to achieve connection.
Step 4. On the remote desktop, choose the folder that you want to copy to your local computer with your mouse, press Ctrl + C to copy files.
Step 5. Go to your desktop or a folder of your local computer, and press Ctrl + V to paste the copied files. This is how to copy-paste from PC to remote desktop.
Option 3. Upload and download files via Google Chrome Remote Desktop
The final remote desktop software to be introduced is Chrome Remote Desktop. The way to transfer files with Google Chrome Remote Desktop is to upload files first and then download them. Here are the specific steps for performing CRD file transfer.
Step 1. On the host computer, open the Chrome Remote Desktop download page. Click Remote Support first and then click the blue download button.
Step 2. After automatically jumping to the chrome web store, click Add to Chrome to download Chrome Remote Desktop.
Step 3. Click Add extension to confirm the installation.
Step 4. Click on Accept & Install to install it.
Step 5. Enter a name for your computer and then click Next.
Step 6. Choose a PIN with at least 6 numbers, and then enter it twice to start the program. (If you forgot Chrome Remote Desktop PIN, you can also get it back)
Step 7. On the client computer, open the Chrome browser and navigate here. Then log in to the same Google account. Once logged in, you can see the available computers.
Step 8. Click on the computer set up previously, and enter its PIN. Then you could start your remote control.
Step 9. After successfully connecting, click the arrow icon on the right side to expand the sidebar. In the File Transfer column, you can find the options of Upload file and Download file.
1. To upload from local to remote:
Click Upload file to send a file from your local (host) computer to your remote computer. On your local computer, it will launch an Open File file manager window. Click Open after selecting a file. You'll get the following notification when it’s finished.
2. To download from remote to local:
Click Download file to download a file to your local computer (host) from the remote machine. On the remote computer, a Download File file manager window will appear. Click Open after selecting a file. On your local (host) computer, a GUI file manager Save File window will appear after the file has been transferred. Choose a location and save the file.
Case 2. Remotely transfer files using the Windows built-in file share tools
You’re also able to perform remote file transfer free using the Windows built-in file share tools. There are two options.
Option 1. Share files between computers via File Sharing
The first method is to use the built-in Windows tool File Sharing. Please keep in mind that when the computer that shares the files goes to sleep, the shared items become inaccessible.
Step 1. Locate the folder you want to share on Computer A and right-click on it. Choose Share with and then select Specific people....
Step 2. Choose people to share with using the drop-down menu and click Add. You can choose to share with Everyone, which means the files will be accessible on your local network to anyone even if they don’t have a password.
Step 3. Click the user you just added in the list, set permissions for it, and click Share. When you see Your folder is shared, click Done.
Step 4. Keep Computer A on and access the shared folder on Computer B. Find the computer name of Computer B in the Network section. Double click the name to open it, and the shared folder is located there. You can copy the shared folder anywhere else based on your needs.
Attention: If you have trouble accessing shared items on the Windows 10 computer, please go to Network and Sharing Center> Change advanced sharing settings and change the following options for both systems:
- Turn on network discovery
- Turn on file and printer sharing
- Turn on sharing so anyone with network access can read and write files in the Public folders
- Turn off password protected sharing
Option 2. Share files between computers via Nearby Sharing
Another way is to use Nearby Sharing. You should be informed before you begin that this method only works with Windows 10 and Windows 11 and that both devices need to be linked to the same network.
Step 1. Navigate to: Settings> System> Shared Experiences, and then turn on the Nearby sharing button.
Step 2. Select the sharing pattern based on your own need from the drop-down menu.
- Everyone nearby means your PC will share or receive content from all nearby devices.
- My devices only means your PC will share or receive content only with devices using the same Microsoft account.
Step 3. You can click Change to choose the folder location where you prefer to store the files being transferred to your PC.
Step 4. Go to the file explorer, right-click the desired file you want to transfer, and then select Share in the context menu.
Step 5. Select the target device you want to transfer files to from the pop-up window.
Step 6. Then the target device will receive a notification. Click Save & Open to start the file transfer.
Case 3. Transfer files between computers via online services
Another case is to transfer files remotely using online services, like email or cloud storage.
Option 1. Send files between computers using email
The first way to send files between computers via online services is to use email.
We’ll take Gmail as an example to show you how to transfer files from one computer to another.
Step 1. Open Gmail official site on one computer, and create and sign in to your email account. On the main page, click Compose.
Step 2. Then type in the email addresses that have been logged in to another computer behind To. Click the attachment icon below to choose the picture files you want to transfer. Click Send to start sending picture files to the other computer.
Step 3. On the other computer, open and sign in to your email application to check and download the picture files.
Option 2. Computer-to-computer file transfer via cloud storage services
Cloud storage service is also a way to perform remote file transfer for free. Technically, cloud storage service is more like a backup tool allowing you to back up and sync your files to your cloud and then download it whenever and wherever you want.
There are lots of cloud service providers at present. Here we’ll take Google Drive as an example to show you how to transfer files remotely using cloud storage services.
Step 1. Open the main interface of Google Drive, find and click My Drive in the left sidebar, click My Drive again, and select Upload files or Upload folder in the expanded menu.
Step 2. For example, click Upload files, and a window will pop up automatically. Select the picture files you want to upload and click Open in the lower-right corner.
Step 3. You can see the file upload progress in the lower right corner. After the upload is completed, you can find the file in the main interface.
Step 4. Open Google Drive on the other computer and log in to the same Google account. Find the file you’ve transferred, right-click the file, and select Download in the expanded menu to realize remote picture transfer between different computers.
This post primarily focuses on providing remote file transfer with free methods. The methods are divided into 3 categories roughly. To remotely transfer files between PCs directly without loading to a third-party place at first, remote desktop software should be your choice. To transfer specified files in the same LAN, free Windows built-in file share tools are OK. Of course, you can also choose online services.