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Get a Free Email Account

Follow the instructions linked below to create a free email account. (Note: To actually connect to the websites where these accounts are offered, click on the link that is in square brackets.)

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Options for Saving Your Electronic Files

While floppy drives are gradually disappearing, there are many ways to store your files nowadays including:

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Convert *.docx Files

Files created using Microsoft Office 2007 add a file extension that ends in the letter "x". These files cannot be opened on library computers directly. However, if you save the document to the desktop, you can then use an online converter like Zamzar.com to convert it to an earlier version of Microsoft Word. The free version of Zamzar can ake a bit of time to work. You upload your file and it will then ask you for an email address to send it to. Another similar service is docx2doc.com. Again, the free version takes a bit of time before it emails you the file.

If you are using your own computer, such as a laptop, you can download and install the free Microsoft Office Compatibility Packs which will enable you to convert such documents from within earlier version of Microsoft Word.

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flash drive

USB Flash Drives

Owing to their limited storage capacity, floppy disks are being replaced by newer types of file storage media such as the USB Flash Drive pictured at the left.  These devices hold as much as 100 or 1,000 times as a single floppy disk drive and can be found for sale in office supply or computer stores starting at about $10.00.  They are referred to by many names including "jump drive", "keychain drive", "pen drive", "flash drive", etc.

The advantage of a flash drive is that, given the amount of data you can store on one, they end up being cheaper than buying floppies and they are generally more durable.  They can hold Microsoft Word files, Excel spreadsheet files, digital images, music files and more. To access the USB slot on computers at the Dallas Public Library, you must lift up the gray cover under which are places to plug in headphones and USB devices.

In most cases, the PC will assign the drive letter e:  to your USB drive. Open files from or save files to the USB drive just as you would using a floppy disk or other storage device. You may need to type e: in the "File Name:" cell and then hit the "enter" key on your keyboard to force Windows to "see" the USB Flash Drive. Here is how you would enter this information when opening a file in Microsoft Word:

Open File

When you are ready to remove your USB drive, click the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon on the Windows toolbar in the lower right corner of the screen and click "Safely remove USB storage device". When the power light on your drive turns off, you can remove it from the PC. If the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon is not available or is not working, make sure all of your files are closed and that the drive is not being written to (power light on your drive should not be blinking) before removing your drive.

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Save File to Desktop & Send as Email Attachment

You can use your webmail (examples: Hotmail, Yahoo mail, Gmail or Operamail) to transfer files from one computer to another by simply emailing a copy of the file to yourself as an attachment.  While the specifics may vary, attaching files generally requires the following steps:

  1. Open your webmail account
  2. Click the Compose Mail link.
  3. Click the Attach a file link.
  4. Click the Browse button and browse to the file you wish to attach.
  5. Select the file you wish to add.
  6. Click okay.

Keep in mind that you cannot select multiple files at once. However, you can individually add each of the attachments you wish to add. If attached successfully, you should see a link with the attachment names in your e-mail. Once you're ready to send the message, click the Send button.

Please also note that after you save your file to the desktop, no icon will appear there.  You will need to open an application, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, and then browse to the desktop, at which point you will be able to see the names of any files that have been saved to that location. Items saved to the desktop will be deleted when you log off from your computer.

(Note: If you don't have an email account, you can create one for free. We have created a guide showing how to create an account at GMail, which is part of Google. top


Free Online File Storage

There are a number of free internet services you may use to store files on a remote server that can be accessed using an Internet browser from any computer that has access to the Web.  Using these services generally requires you to set up a free account:

In general, free file storage services provide storage up to a certain limit and may also restrict the size of individual files that may be uploaded. Some free services are meant to store files for just a few days and others offer indefinite storage. Read their policies carefully.

These services are meant to assist you in moving very large files from one computer to another and only store the files for a number of days:

If you are storing critical files such as a résumé, it is wise to have it stored in more than one place. For example, you might have it stored online and also on a USB or floppy drive.

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Free Online Word Processor, Spreadsheet, etc.

Several companies now offer free versions of their online word processing and spreadsheet applications. These enable you to create documents and store them online.

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Free Online Bookmark Storage

Storing links to your favorite websites is easy to manage using a free service that lets you access your bookmarks from anywhere you have a connection to the Web.  Popular bookmark saving services include:

Warning: Companies can go out of business or change their policies at any time. Services that were once free sometimes begin to charge money. The Dallas Public Library cannot assume responsibility for the performance of any of the above-listed services. Critical files should always be saved in more than one location.