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OxFile: Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I send sensitive/confidential data with Oxfile?
Oxfile is designed for large file transfer, not secure file transfer. We recommend that you encrypt any data that could be considered sensitive, and do not use Oxfile for very sensitive data (eg financial data). Infosec have some useful guidance about this, including links to how to encrypt using common tools, as well as alternatives to Oxfile.
2. How secure is Oxfile?

Oxfile provides basic security:

  • Folders can only be set up by Oxford users who have SSO usernames. Once they are set up the owner of the folder can share it with both Oxford and non-Oxford users by supplying email addresses
  • Files stored on the service are located on a server hosted at IT Services
  • Files can be downloaded or uploaded by anyone who is given an Oxfile URL in order to do so
  • These URLs are unique to each user and designed to be random and hard to guess, but are not highly secure
  • File uploads and downloads take place over SSL, but in the vast majority of cases emails sent to users containing the URL to access a folder are transferred over the internet with no encryption. There is also, of course, nothing to stop people forwarding the email onto others.
3. Are files stored encrypted on the Oxfile server?
No, but access to the server and the file systems is heavily restricted.
4. Is it possible to upload encrypted files?
Yes, and this is the best way of making your use of Oxfile more secure. You could consider using something like PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) for this purpose.
5. Who is responsible for files uploaded to Oxfile?
The owner of the folder is responsible for the folder and any files contained within it.
6. I've deleted a file/folder by mistake, can I get it back?
The Oxfile service is backed up solely for the purposes of restoring service in the event of a major failure. Restoring individual files and folders is not offered except in cases of genuine emergency as it would involve disruption to other service users. You should ensure that you always keep local copies of files you upload.
7. I'm having problems uploading large files, what's happening?
The largest file that can be uploaded to Oxfile is 25GB. If you are using the standard (non-flash), or non-javascript upload then there is nothing that should prevent you from uploading a file up to that size. That said, the transfer does rely on the your computer and browser being able to handle a file that size. Our tests show that neither Microsoft Internet Explorer nor Firefox can upload files larger than 2GB on any operating system, and that Google Chrome and Opera appear to work properly with large files. Safari works sometimes. Even with those browsers that can handle large files you may see warnings that the page is not responding, which you should ignore.

If you have ticked the box underneath that standard uploader in order to use the Flash uploader, then the largest file you can upload is 2GB. This is due to a limitation within the Flash file uploader.

You may also see problems if you have an unreliable network connection.

If, for some reason, you find that you need to reduce the size of the files you are uploading then utilities exist that may help. For Microsoft Windows these include Winzip. On *nix systems the split utility can be used to split a file into multiple files, which can then be recombined with cat.

8. I'd like to select more than one file to upload at once, by using shift+click or ctrl+click when selecting files. Is this possible?
This is possible if you use the Adobe Flash uploader. To use it tick "User Adobe Flash" underneath the uploader on the standard upload page. It is not possible to select folders, but multiple files can be selected for upload.
9. I added a user to the list of people sharing a folder and he/she got the email so I then deleted the entry. Now the user gets an error message when trying to access the folder. The folder hasn't expired yet - what's going on?
People are only allowed to access a folder when their name appears in the list of users with whom the folder is shared. You can add the user back in again and a new email, with a new URL will be sent.
10. I've shared a "folder to send files" with more than one person. Can any of them see who else the folder is shared with?
No. Each person with whom you've shared the folder receives a unique link to the folder. They are only able to see the files available for them to download.
11. If I rename a folder is a copy of it made?
No. Renaming a folder works in the same way a renaming a file stored on your computer: only one folder exists but it will be given the new name. Access to the folder will be unchanged.
12. If new recipients are added to an existing folder at a later date, will the new recipients be notified of the available downloads, and will existing recipients be blocked from downloading?
The new recipients will receive emails inviting them to download files. Existing recipients will not receive another email when new recipients are added. Recipients are able to download files as long as they are listed as recipients in the folder and the folder hasn't expired (also see the answer to question 8 above).
13. I am trying to share a PDF file, but some of my recipients are getting a "Failed to load" error message.
This has been seen in some browsers when they attempt to display the PDF. Ask the recipient to try to save the link (right click -> save as) rather than view it (left click), and then view the saved PDF, or try a different browser (both Firefox and Internet Explorer are known to work)

Written by IT Services. Latest revision 4 November 2019