How to Use Flickr’s 1TB of Free Space to Store More Than Pictures

Flickr Storage Hack

With the availability of a whopping 1TB of storage space now available to users on Flickr, it wasn’t long before someone out there found other ways to put 1TB of storage space to good use. That is to say, the uploading of files other than images.

That’s just what Redditor rlaw68 has done, allowing the user to upload packaged files by essentially tricking the Flickr servers into thinking you’re merely uploading an image. The process involves putting two files in one folder, a GIF image (though some users have been able to do this with other image file extensions) and an archive file (such as a .zip or .rar), followed by combining them to create what only appears to be an image file.

Flickr Storage Hack

Upon uploading, Flickr will just check the file header to see if it’s an image file, unaware that there’s a package of other data attached.

To retrieve the content after uploading, the user will have to download the full-resolution version from Flickr, rename the file to a .zip or .rar (whichever is appropriate, as uploaded), and well, that’s it.

Here are the instructions for Windows users posted by rlaw68:

1) Put the two files you want to combine into a single folder, preferably off the root of your drive, say c:\combos

2) Hit the Windows key + R, type in CMD and hit Enter

3) Change the directory to the root:

C:\users\Bill>cd \

4) And then to the folder where your files are:

C:>cd combos

5) Now, to combine the files type:

C:\combos>copy /B project1.gif

6) That’s it! Now you’ll see a file called project1.gif in your \combos folder that you can upload and store on Flickr – it’ll appear as just whatever the .gif file was that you combined with your archive.

What about when you want to download it?

1) Right click on the .gif and choose view all sizes: original

2) Click on Download the Original size of this photo

3) Once it’s downloaded, rename it with the .zip or .rar extension that the embedded file had, open it in your archive program and you’ll see the contents of your archive (it seems that you need to use either 7-zip or WinRAR to open this – WinZip doesn’t seem to like this method).

A WonderHowTo guide is available for MAC users, as well. The process is similar, but uses MAC’s Terminal to get the job done.

It should be noted that Flickr does have a 200MB-per-file upload limit, so this isn’t quite the best solution if you’re looking to dump your other backup solutions and upload huge amounts of data. It’s also important to recognize that Flickr may patch this up in the near future, if they have not already.

(via Reddit via Lifehacker)

  • branden rio

    Why would I do that? Wouldn’t flickr read this article, realize that people are doing this, and then delete the non-image files?

  • Pat David

    The first rule of using steganography to backup your RAW files into your final JPG output on Flickr is you do not talk about using steganography to backup your RAW files into your final JPG output on Flickr.

  • Anon

    Great and now people are abusing the system, they’ll change the process and limit file sizes to less than a good sized photo was before the 1TB or go back on the 1TB all together, all thanks to a schoolboy tricky

  • edhawco

    Well, I can think of a few cases where this might be handy, although there are other services that do it better. But it’s not safe or secure at all, as it’s just a matter of time before Flickr tweaks their system to prevent this, possibly making your already-uploaded files inaccessible. So this is really just a hack for hack’s sake.

  • A_Lwin

    Wouldn’t it be just easier to change the file extension of whatever item you want to archive to an image file type extension?

  • Melka

    I’d like to use Flickr to backup and share pictures with my family.
    Do you know a way to upload around 33Gb on Flickr ?
    I tried both the website and a “Flickr uploader” desktop application.
    It doesn’t really work :-/

  • Mansgame

    This is basically theft of services. Nothing clever about it. Flickr’s programmers will have to spend a little time to fix this but they will and supposedly if this was such an important document, it’d be deleted and the user would be banned.

  • Uttam

    Thanks for the feedback guys, we’ll get this bug fixed ;)

  • alex

    no, they won’t limit file size to a good sized photo because of video files…

  • Vlad

    This is why we can’t have nice things

  • JakiChan

    Wow, someone does something nice for you and you try and screw them. Klassy.

  • DarkArtDesign

    maybe your trying to upload to many at once, I know Flickr as recently changed, as I have a pro account which comes with yahoo and therefore bt, you may also have to check the size of the images your putting in as there was a limit if not a pro account holder, hope you have sorted it if not write back if not will help . . .

  • Michael Andrew Broughton

    on a related note, i figured out a way to store raws on flickr. convert them to dng files, then change the file extension to “.tiff”. this may work without first converting to dng, but that’s the only format i’ve tried it with.

  • Bill Austin Kearns

    Ever have a really cool secret that self-destructs when it’s revealed ?

  • Julius

    This is not steganography. For that, all the data would need to be hidden in the actual image file. Here, there is the image file, and the data is appended to it. Flickr gets fooled because of the header, but the data is ‘outside’ the image, so no steganography!

  • Toby Hawkins

    It’s still steganography, you should look up the definition.