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how to share files on your networkQuickly share files between any two computers on your network. Nitroshare is an application for Linux, Mac and Windows that makes local file sharing simple: just click and drag. Files will end up on the desktop of the receiving computer (or any other folder, if you prefer).

It’s not hard to set up home networking, including file sharing, in Windows and OS X Lion includes a quick file-sharing feature between Macs. If you want to quickly share a file between computers running two different operating systems, however, things can get complicated quickly.

Not with Nitroshare. This program gives you a box you can drag any file or collection of files to. Pick a receiving computer and you’re basically done: a speedy transfer will begin.

This program is for sharing files between computers on the same network; it does not work over the Internet.

Setting Up Nitroshare

First things first: download the version(s) of Nitroshare you need for your computers. You’ll find installers for Windows and Mac, along with DEB and RPM packages for Linux (I tested using Ubuntu 12.04 and Windows 7).

Once the software is installed, start it on your computers and go through the configuration process:

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how to share files on your network

Make sure every computer has a unique name, otherwise it could quickly get confusing. Choose whether you want to see notifications, and how frequently:

share files on your home network

You can change this later, if you want, so don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it. If you’ve set up two or more computers, they should find each other – if not, adjust your firewall settings as necessary. Once everything is working, the program will sit in the system tray and a small window for dropping files will show up at bottom-right.

Using Nitroshare

There are two ways you can send a file or multiple files. You can right-click the tray icon and find the computer you want to send files to:

share files on your home network

This will bring up the usual contextual dialogue, allowing you to select files. If that seems like too much work, you can simply drag and drop files to the small window Nitroshare adds to the bottom-right of the desktop:

share files on your home network

After doing this, you will be able to pick a computer to send the file to. By default, the computer receiving the files needs to accept them before the transfer will begin. On the recipient computer, see a prompt like this:

how to share files on your network

Alternatively, you can change the settings so files are automatically accepted; find the preferences window via the tray icon. You can also change where the files end up, if you’d like – they end up on the desktop by default.

Files are transfered directly over the network; there is no cloud service connected to NitroShare. Just to be clear: you cannot use this service to send files over the internet to another computer.

Ubuntu PPA

Ubuntu users can optionally install this software using a PPA. Open the command line and enter these commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:george-edison55/nitroshare
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nitroshare

The first command adds the PPA; the second updates your package list; the third installs Nitroshare. Using the PPA ensures Nitroshare will stay up-to-date on Ubuntu.

Conclusion

I regularly switch between Ubuntu, Windows and OS X computers, and am happy to have such a simple way to share files between all three systems. All I need to do is click and drag and the file is on the desktop of my other computer – it’s even simpler than Dropbox in some ways.

How do you quickly copy files from one computer to another? As always I love learning from you, so let me know in the comments below.

  1. Arno
    January 13, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    You can also test Transfer-on-LAN ( https://code.google.com/p/transfer-on-lan/ ). It's cross-platform and easy-to-use.

  2. Shahbaz Amin
    December 6, 2012 at 4:05 am

    I use Dropbox normally, or a USB(!) if files are small and time is short..
    I will be trying this, thanks!!

  3. CuriousBoy
    November 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks but i need a software for windows

    • Justin Pot
      November 8, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      This works for Windows! I simply didn't use Windows to make the screenshots.

  4. Ahmed Khalil
    September 10, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Yes; it sounds good for me too, i may give a try with (between MAC and VISTA)

    • Justin Pot
      September 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Let us know how it works!

    • Justin Pot
      September 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

      Let us know how it works for you!

  5. Freecycle Me
    September 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Great one to have on the family network where brains is less abundant :)

    • Justin Pot
      September 10, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Don't say that too loudly. ;)

  6. venkatp16
    September 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Good one.. Working perfect on linux and windows machines

  7. Gregory Seery
    August 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Install Linux and SAMBA on an old system, and make a home network server. For your Android smart-phones, AndSMB allows you to transfer files to/from your home network wirelessly.

  8. GrrGrrr
    August 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    interesting software. I currently use usb drives for transfer.

    A question to Justin: could it also be used to transfer files to-&-fro between base OS and virtual-OS?

    • Justin Pot
      August 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Depending on the networking settings of your virtual machine software, yes. It's possible in VirtualBox to make a virtual machine behave as a separate computer on the network, for example; in that case everything should work. If the connection is bridged you'll run into problems.

      • Nathan Osman
        August 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm

        There are instructions toward the end of this blog article that describe exactly what needs to be done to run NitroShare in VirtualBox: http://quickmediasolutions.com/blog/7/help-us-test-nitroshare

        • GrrGrrr
          September 1, 2012 at 9:18 pm

          Thanks for pointing that out

        • Justin Pot
          September 10, 2012 at 4:08 pm

          Great find, and a great use for NitroShare. Far simpler than getting SAMBA working between virtual machine and host, at least in my experience.

  9. GrrGrrr
    August 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    interesting software. I currently use usb drives for transfer.

    A question to Justin: could it also be used to transfer files to-&-fro between base OS and virtual-OS?

  10. Sebastian Hadinata
    August 30, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Interesting Software to easily share files between computers with different OS in the same network!

  11. Tom Bogan
    August 30, 2012 at 6:57 am

    This sounds very interesting to me, as it would allow me network some files without having to really set up a network. One is XP, the other Win 7.

  12. Richard Steven Hack
    August 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Really a "poor man's" networking for people who really have absolutely no clue about network browsing... Plus it encourages people to dump files on the desktop which is, as they say in the movie "Hackers", "universally stupid, man!" :-) It leads to people having 50GB C: drives which is also "universally stupid".

    On Linux these days it's pretty simple to set up Samba file sharing with Windows (not sure about Mac but since it supports Samba I would expect that's pretty simple, too.) Then you get full scale SMB network browsing and file sharing just like between Windows machines.

    It may not be quite as easy as the program in this post, but it's much more useful in the long run.

    • Nathan Osman
      August 30, 2012 at 2:05 am

      The storage location for transferred files can easily be changed in the settings dialog.

      • Justin Pot
        August 30, 2012 at 7:52 pm

        Nathan's right: you can change that settings easily.

        I don't see this as a replacement for a network so much as a simple supplement. But if you don't like it you don't have to use it!

  13. Wouter Ruelens
    August 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you! This is a great tool, I could access my Windows files from Ubuntu but not vice versa. But can you also search files on the other machine without having to send them from the other machine, for streaming video for example?

    • Justin Pot
      September 5, 2012 at 12:00 am

      Nope: this is strictly a tool for quickly sending files from one machine to the other. Set up a traditional SAMBA share if you want remote access to files.

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