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Opening your machine to the public is a path fraught with peril and something to be avoided at almost any cost!

I recently returned from France with lots of videos and photos; too many and too large to put on Google Plus or SnapFish. Is there a way to have people login to my computer (Windows 7) to view the videos? I know that this could be dangerous, but then after awhile I would disable this.

In this excerpt from Answercast #50, I look at various ways to share vacation photos and videos through online services.

Remote login?

Yeah, it would be dangerous!

It is something that I would in no way recommend. There are simply too many ways that this can turn into a disaster. With open access... that kind of access to your PC? It's just not something you want to do.

Private web server

Yes, there are ways to do it. I don't want to say that it can't be done.

To do it safely is complex; you're effectively setting up your own web server. And I just wouldn't.

File sharing

What I would do instead (now, you haven't really mentioned what sizes you're truly talking about), if they're within the multiple GB range, say 2 or 10 or 50, I would really be seriously tempted to use something like Dropbox.

If you set up a Dropbox account you can:

  • Move these files into the Dropbox folders;

  • Give Dropbox the time it needs to upload these files;

  • Once they're uploaded, you can then share links publicly to the files in Dropbox - to all of your friends and family.

Video editing

The other question I have is with respect to the videos.

If the videos really are that huge, you might want to consider using something like Windows Movie Maker or some other video editing software to turn the videos into something that is:

  • Perhaps lower resolution;

  • Has maybe higher compression;

  • Maybe has pieces edited out;

  • Maybe even is a compilation of "best of" moments.

Something that makes the file that much more manageable to actually upload.

Friend's resources

Remember everything that you're having trouble uploading - you're then asking all of your visitors, all of the people who want to see this... they need to download this!

So, if it's too much for you to upload, it's going to be a lot for them to download as well. That's why potentially running these videos through some kind of video editing might be worth it.

Video services

The other scenario for videos specifically is YouTube. You can upload these files to YouTube and YouTube will do its processing on them.

You can have the files be private:

  • You can actually have them not show up in YouTube search.

  • You can have them be on YouTube only so that people who know the URL (which you would give them) would be able to view the video.

Don't open up your machine!

Basically, I would look for just about any other solution besides giving people direct access to your machine. I think that's a path fraught with peril and something to be avoided at almost any cost.

As a side note, realize that if you were able to set up a remote access to your machine, when people are viewing the videos, what does it mean?

  • It means that the videos are being uploaded from your machine!

  • The very thing that you think is too big for this to work.

  • So either way the videos are coming off of your machine, they're getting uploaded somewhere.

Upload them once to a service like YouTube and that way people can view them without impacting your own internet connection.

Article C5780 - September 6, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

1 Comment
September 10, 2012 7:21 AM

If you have too many photos and videos to put up on some website, you really have too many photos and videos. While these will be great memories for you, your friends will not want to wade through all these photos and videos.

Leo's idea of a "Best of..." video is good. I would do the same with the pictures. Your friends would probably appreciate you narrowing down the number of pictures to say maybe two dozen.

I did this myself a number of years ago (before digital cameras) when I went to the Philippines. I probably took about 8 rolls of film, but when I put together an album for friends to look at, only put about 30 or 40 pictures in. It was just about the right length so they could get the feel for what I did and saw, but was not too long that they ended up getting bored.

You could even put them together in a slide show and put that up with your "Best of..."video on YouTube, as Leo suggested.

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