Windows 8 deep-dive: Get to know your SkyDrive app

We take a tour of the good, bad, and just plain confusing features of Microsoft's cloud storage service.

By Alex Wawro, PC World |  Windows, cloud storage, Skydrive

SkyDrive is a remarkably good platform for sharing data with friends and family, too. Theres an option to share just about any file type in your SkyDrive folder via email, Facebook, or HTML embed codes, or directly to another SkyDrive user. I particularly appreciate the option to share images stored on SkyDrive via a URL, which lets you use the service as a more secure stand-in for popular image-hosting services like imgur. Simply upload an image to SkyDrive (which uses HTTP Secure encryption), and then select choose Share  from the Sharing  menu and copy and paste the link into an email, an IM conversation, or your social network of choice.

Where SkyDrive falls short

Between the Windows 8 app, the traditional desktop app (which is really more of a plugin for File Explorer), and the SkyDrive Web interface, its very easy to get confused about how you should best access SkyDrive on a Windows 8 PC. The dual nature of Windows 8 is partly to blame, but Microsoft needs to make it easier to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different ways in which desktop users can access SkyDrive.

For example, the Windows 8 app is great for browsing photos or other media stored on your SkyDrive, but you cant move those files around within your SkyDrive or share them with others very easily, because youre limited by the apps linked in the Share charm. If you want to share a direct link to an image or edit a document online, you must boot up your browser and access the SkyDrive website, where you can generate links and move files between different folders in your SkyDrive.

You cant upload any files larger than 300MB via the SkyDrive website though, so if you want to upload large files, you need to download and install the SkyDrive desktop app, which creates a SkyDrive folder in your File Explorer that syncs itself with your SkyDrive. You can drag and drop files or folders directly into the SkyDrive folder to upload them quickly, and this way you can also bypass the SkyDrive website file-upload limit of 300MB so that you can upload files up to 2GB in size. The SkyDrive desktop app works with Mac OS X Lion, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and even Windows 8, so it's theoretically possible to have both the Windows 8 SkyDrive app and  the SkyDrive desktop app installed and running on your PC simultaneously. This won't cause any problems (if anything, it affords you more power to control how your PC shares files with SkyDrive), but it's way more confusing than it needs to be.

Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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