Back in February we had news of some future changes to the SkyDrive service
, and now these changes have come to fruition. The service has been steadily gaining ground and becoming quite useful in the past few months, and it's especially invaluable for Windows Phone users (the app has over 2 million users there now). What started as a somewhat limited web service has gradually earned support on numerous platforms, as well as an API to allow integration with other apps. Now we have support for a desktop app coming with a beta available. There's of course the unparalleled 25 GB of free storage, though if you don't act fast it may be downgraded!
Microsoft has found that only 0.06% of users actually used more than 7 GB
, so this is the new size limit for users. However, anyone who has used SkyDrive before April 22 will be able to upgrade to 25 GB for free by clicking a banner that should appear when you log in next, which leads you to this page
where you can select to upgrade for free. Even if you haven't used SkyDrive before, try the link anyways because I referred a friend who'd not used the service before and he was still able to claim 25 GB. To go along with this gargantuan storage limit, Microsoft has bumped the per-file upload limit to 2 GB each, the same size as Dropbox's base storage limit for all
files on it. Pricing for additional storage is quite reasonable, as you can see here:
As mentioned earlier, there is now a desktop app (which will be supported on Vista, Windows 7 and 8, and OS X Lion) which functions similarly to Dropbox, specifying a single folder to sync and syncing it across all other platforms, running quietly in the background and requiring no intervention to keep all your devices updated, similar to Mesh, which is set to be superseded by SkyDrive's new functionality. Unlike Mesh you can't choose arbitrary folders to sync, which was done because of potential conflicts between different devices (for instance, folders with the same name and path containing completely different files that are intended to remain separate). Microsoft recommends adding the appropriate SkyDrive folders to the proper Libraries in 7 in order to have easy access to them, or (for power users) changing the location of default folders to reside inside SkyDrive's folder. One trick known to Dropbox power users is using symbolic links
to point the program to outside locations from within the Dropbox folder. If you've used symbolic links before (one common use is to move program files to a different drive) or are generally experienced with using advanced Windows functions, you can give that a try to get SkyDrive working the way you like; instructions are given in that link for both the GUI and command prompt methods. As of yet certain useful features, like a shell extension to allow for right-click access to the public link, are missing from the SkyDrive desktop app, but as this is only a preview we can expect improvement in the future. This video gives a short demo of how SkyDrive works on the desktop, WP7, and iOS (support for the new iPad and its display is coming as well):
So what are you waiting for? Go pick up SkyDrive on every platform you've got and see what's in store!
[Building Windows 8