Backup and Sync with SkyDrive
The latest version of Microsoft SkyDrive gives other cloud storage services a run for their money. SkyDrive offers the most free storage space of any major service, and has some compelling features. Here's what you need to know to get started with SkyDrive...
Free Online Storage for PC, Mac and Mobile Users
Looking for a way to keep files in sync between multiple desktops, laptops or mobile devices? SkyDrive offers 7 GB of free online storage for the task, and lets you edit synced files online with Office Web Apps or your local copy of Office. It can even be used as a lightweight backup solution.
Here’s how to get and use SkyDrive. First, download the SkyDrive app for your device; versions are available for Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista, but not for Windows XP. SkyDrive also runs on Mac OS X, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone, and Android mobile devices. The installer runs without any user input. (Windows XP users can download SDExplorer, which provides access to SkyDrive files, but lacks the sync feature.)
After the SkyDrive app is installed, you will be prompted to log in with your Windows Live ID. If you don’t have one, there’s an option to create one. Once you are logged in, a SkyDrive folder will be created on your device. Every file placed in that folder will be automatically uploaded to your SkyDrive account in the cloud.
Install SkyDrive on any other devices you may own, using the same Windows Live ID. Now you can access all of your devices’ SkyDrive files from whichever device you happen to be using. Changes made to a file on one device will be replicated on all devices.
This is a very handy feature, because it eliminates the need to manually copy files from a local folder to your cloud storage service. And vice versa. Your SkyDrive folder acts like any other folder on your computer. You can open and save files directly from any standard Windows file dialog.
Here's Why Cloud Storage with File Sync is Cool
If you regularly work on more than one computer, or you have some combination of desktops, laptops and mobile devices, you can always be assured that the files you've stashed in your SkyDrive storage will be available on every device.
So you could start your morning by opening a spreadsheet on your office desktop. Make a few changes, save your work and later head to the coffee shop for a mid-morning meetup. A few taps on your iPad opens the same spreadsheet, which of course contains the changes you made at the office. Do some additional work on the spreadsheet, file/save and you're on with your day. That evening, you remember one critical thing that must be updated before morning. Fire up the laptop, open your spreadsheet, make the change, and it's updated everywhere else automatically.
What if you forgot to place an important file in your computer’s SkyDrive folder before leaving home? SkyDrive allows you to “fetch” such an unsynced file from any device that has the SkyDrive app installed with your Windows Live ID. There’s an extra authentication step for this remote-access feature: a security code will be sent by SkyDrive.com to a designated email address, or via SMS to your phone. You will have to enter this code to access the remote device.
Okay, but what if you're using a public computer in the hotel kiosk? It won't have the SkyDrive app installed. Never fear, your online SkyDrive account can also be accessed via a Web browser. You can view, move, rename, and delete files. The changes will be replicated across all of the devices associated with your SkyDrive account. Also, you can use Microsoft Office Web Apps to edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files stored on SkyDrive -- all without leaving your web browser.
SkyDrive excels at syncing files across devices, so they're always available when you need them. But it can also be used for backup purposes. It wouldn't be practical for backing up your entire hard drive, but you can copy anything you like (up to 7GB for free) to the SkyDrive folder, for safe keeping in the cloud. If you need additional SkyDrive storage space, you can purchase an additional 100 GB for $50 per year.
Have you tried SkyDrive? Tell me how you like it, or if you prefer some other cloud storage service. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 10 Sep 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Backup and Sync with SkyDrive (Posted: 10 Sep 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved