Tip: If you have trouble getting the file to go through, you may have to burrow into your firewall settings to allow the transfer. And if you're behind a corporate firewall, file transfers may be blocked for security reasons, so check with your systems administrator.Here's how to transfer files in the common IM programs:
- AIM. In an open message session with your buddy, click the Send Files button at the bottom of the IM window. You have the option to send one file or a whole folder of stuff. You can also set up a file transfer by right-clicking the person's name in the Buddy List and choosing Send File, or by choosing ActionsSend File. Now you just have to select the file to send.
- Windows Live Messenger. If you're already chatting away with a contact and want to send over a file, click the window-menu button on the right, choose Send File, locate the file, and wait for the other person to accept. You can also just go to the window menu button, choose Send File, and then pick someone from your Live Messenger Contacts. Windows Live Messenger also sets up a shared folder with a contact, so that anything you drop in the folder is automatically available to that person. Click the Sharing Files folder icon at the top of the Contacts list window and then select the contact you want to share with. (The Sharing Folder has been replaced with Windows Live SkyDrive in recent versions of the program.)
- Yahoo Messenger. You can send up to two gigabytes of stuff to a fellow Yahoo Messenger user by just dragging the file into the IM window. You can also choose ActionsSend a File. If you see the contact online and haven't started an IM session, you can drag the file onto the person's name in the Messenger contacts list.
- Pidgin. Right-click a buddy in your list and choose Send File. In the box that pops up, find the file you want to send on your drive and click Open. The file transfer begins. Click Stop if you need to halt the exchange.
Many programs let you start a file transfer by simply dragging the file from the computer's desktop into the same box that you type in your message text. Hit the Enter key to start the transfer.
Note: Google Talk can do file transfers as well, but only between computers using the official Google Talk software for Windows (www.google.com/talk). If you're tapping into Talk from your Gmail window or another program, file transfer is a no-go. If you and your pal both have the Google Talk program, just click the Send Files button on an open chat window, locate the file on your hard drive that you want to send, and click OK to start the transfer.
Learn more about this topic from Netbooks: The Missing Manual.
Netbooks are the hot new thing in PCs -- small, inexpensive laptops designed for web browsing, email, and working with web-based programs. With this Missing Manual, you'll learn not only which netbook is right for you, but also how to set it up and use it for everything from job-related tasks like working with spreadsheets to hobbies like gaming and photo sharing.