SkyDrive cloud storage of your files will make them available on all your devices everywhere you go.
Cloud storage of your photos, music, videos, and other files gets a step-up in performance with Windows 8.1 when Microsoft embeds SkyDrive into the operating system. Before Windows 8.1 SkyDrive was a cloud storage application like Dropbox and Apple iCloud.
It should mean that cloud storage of your files becomes transparent, as easy as storing and retrieving files from your device’s hard drive or memory. SkyDrive is also embedded into Office 365, the subscription service for Microsoft Office.
Windows 8.1 SkyDrive preview video
As Microsoft says, “your files are always with you.”
We are highly mobile now. Even within our homes we want to see pictures and videos and listen to music on smartphones, tablets and sometimes on the computer. We want to share those files with friends or at work or remote locations.
What Microsoft has done with Windows 8.1 is to bury cloud storage into the operating system. When we look for or store files, SkyDrive becomes a simple choice made even easier.
Although not a perfect solution, SkyDrive becomes a form of backup. The pictures and files are in two places. If the laptop or computer crashes or the disk fails, the SkyDrive copy is always available. I wouldn’t totally rely on cloud storage since the cloud is just bigger hardware somewhere else. But if SkyDrive fails you at least have your local copy and the cloud storage service should be able to eventually restore your files.
One of the big problems with cloud storage has been sync’ing files. If you open a file on one computer and then on your tablet, will the changes get merged or create a conflict? When the cloud storage can’t resolve version conflicts, its annoying. You have to check both files and decide which one is the one to keep.
Apple’s iCloud was notorious for these errors. Google Drive cloud storage was very unreliable with too many version conflicts for me to trust it. SkyDrive had the same problem, although not in the past 6 months.
Of all the cloud services, Microsoft SkyDrive has been very reliable. With SkyDrive embedded into Windows 8.1, we will probably take cloud storage for granted.
If you have non Windows devices, SkyDrive has apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android plus Apple OS X.
In the next article in this series “11 Days to Windows 8.1&Prime I will cover some of the cool under-the-cover features of Windows 8.1 SkyDrive that make it perfect for mobile storage and access.
Windows 8.1 users get 7 GB of SkyDrive storage free. If you take a lot of pictures like most people, you can bump that up to 100 GB for $50 per year. Surface 2 owners get 200 GB of SkyDrive storage for 2 years free, which is worth $200.
Windows 8.1 free upgrade
Windows 8.1 is a free update for Windows 8 users, available on the Windows Store starting October 18, 2013. Users of Windows 7 and earlier versions can buy Microsoft Windows 8.1 – Full Version for $120, available on pre-order from Amazon.com.
Here’s a tip. If you don’t already have Windows 8.0, you can save some money by finding a discounted copy of Windows 8.0 upgrade and get the update free. Amazon.com still has Microsoft Windows 8 Pro – Upgrade for $85.