SkyDrive is the service online storage from Microsoft that competes with rivals like Dropbox . The concept of this type of service is simple: to have a kind of hard disk on the network where you can store files such as documents and photos and access them from any computer with an Internet connection . Until now, Microsoft's service has been more inconspicuous due to its more confusing interface (although it has improved a lot) and users' preference for other platforms. And this despite the fact that SkyDrive offers its users the possibility of having25 GB of space for free , an offer that has no competitor among the other offers. A situation that will undoubtedly change with the release of Windows 8, which includes a native SkyDrive application that allows you to view the contents of the storage service (it is to be expected that in the final version you can also manage the files). We tell you how to use SkyDrive on the different platforms on which it is present.
To start using SkyDrive , all you have to do is have an email account in Hotmail (now it is included in a Windows Live account that incorporates all Microsoft services ). The most obvious way to use this tool is through the web interface. To do this, we go to the Hotmail email account or the Windows Live space. Click on "SkyDrive" at the top of the screen and we will access a list in the form of folders in which all our files are placed. On the left side are the main folders ( Files, Documents and Photos ) and on the right we can navigate between the subfolders. What has not yet been sufficiently fixed is the option toshare . To do this, select the folder or file and use the "share" option . We can enter the email addresses of those who will be able to access our files and choose whether they can only see the files or also see and edit them.
If what we want is to share the files with all users (make a public folder), we have to click "get a link" and then "make public". To upload new files or create folders, use the options on the top menu. Something that is better worked is the visualization of the photos contained in the folders. These are arranged in the form of thumbnails and by clicking on one of the photos we go to a full screen view, with the possibility of creating a presentation. To download any file or folder, just click on the right button after selecting it and give the option "download". In the case of a folder or several files, they will be saved in ZIP format.
We have found a very interesting alternative to using the web interface by using programs that anchor this type of storage service to the browser , that is, working as if it were one of the system folders (something that happens with DropBox ). We have used the Gladinet Cloud Desktop tool . Once the program is installed, access to the Windows account Li ve SkyDrive is configured (the last option that appears in the drop-down) and then a virtual folder will be created where all our files will be. In this way we can work regularly at the desktop and SkyDrive will be much more useful.
We can also use SkyDrive through its application for Windows Phone and iPhone , a very important step since the interface becomes much simpler and more modern. However, as we said at the beginning, the true explosion of SkyDrive will occur with the final version of Windows 8 . The application integrated into the Metro interface of the beta of this system is very simple and allows you to view all our folders in the form of bricks. When accessing the photos, they are displayed in full screen and by pressing the right button on the upper edge of the screen we can access the option to save the photo or the file locally. We can also save the files by clicking the right button on them. In the case of documents, they are opened by default with the browser when you click the left button. From there, we can open it with Office . It is hoped that in the final version of the App we will be able to open the documents directly from Office or another local word processor, and the file management options should also increase . But what can already be said is that it is a much more attractive platform and that it will lead many users to choose to use SkyDrive regularly when the final version of Windows 8 comes out.