Three Cool Ways Youll Benefit from SkyDrive in Windows 8 | PC Advisor

Three Cool Ways Youll Benefit from SkyDrive in Windows 8 | PC Advisor.  (No longer available online. Original text included below.)

Though DropBox is more popular, with over 45 million users, Microsoft’s SkyDrive, with 17 million users is a strong competitor. SkyDrive’s most desired feature has been it’s 25GB of free space, much larger than most of its competitors. On Monday Microsoft revealed its desire to be the “world’s hard drive”, and how its integrating SkyDrive with Windows 8 to make it easier to access your data from any device. 

Though SkyDrive has been available for over four years, it hasn’t gain mainstream acceptance. Despite the large amount of free storage and ability to share files and collaborate with your friends and colleagues, lack of a client or any integration into Windows to easily access that storage is likely a main reason. It appears Microsoft has taken note of SkyDrive’s shortcomings, and their Building Windows 8 blog details three ways SkyDrive will be used in Windows 8.

1. Metro App on Windows 8

Microsoft developed a new Metro style app for SkyDrive, based on Javascript, CSS and HTML5. Doing this allows the SkyDrive app to display files of various types as data using the tiled Metro interface, and use Windows 8 touch-based controls to interact with them.  Taking it further, SkyDrive is automatically integrated across all Metro style apps, so they can all open and save files directly to SkyDrive. Apple announced a similar feature in its upcoming OS X Mountain Lion, which integrates with iCloud. This will make it much easier for workers to use their data without worrying about the uploading and downloading of files.

2. SkyDrive Sync to Desktop

DropBox has been popular due to the easy way it syncs files stored on your local desktop to the cloud, and from there to other devices. Microsoft announced they will release a SkyDrive app for desktops that will do the same. Available not only for Windows 8, but Windows Vista and Windows 7 as well, the app will run in the background and will copy all the files in your SkyDrive account to a folder of your choice. Any changes to files in that folder on your desktop will be instantly synced with your online account. This not only functions as a backup, and way to access your files from anywhere in the world, but as a way to make your business files available on any Windows-based device you choose. There is even a rumored Mac client in the works.

3. Remote Files Through SkyDrive

The sync feature makes your files available in the cloud, but only the files in your SkyDrive folder. Microsoft has taken SkyDrive further and added a “forgot something?”

feature that makes the files on your entire computer, even if you have terabytes of data, accessible through the cloud. Security for this feature is provided through two-factor authentication, which not only requires a login, but also verification through an alternate email account or phone. You’ll be able to browse photo albums just as you would on your desktop, and even stream video across the web to whatever device you have available. Though this will require leaving your desktop on so it can be accessed while you’re out, business users could find this a lifesaver when needing a file you forgot to copy to your SkyDrive folder.