Hands on: the new SkyDrive

The dust hasn't had time to settle on the Microsoft's overhauled SkyDrive, but we've gone hands-on with the updated service, and it does not disappoint. Although the smaller amount of storage offered to free users isn't something to be celebrated, the added convenience of the new client is a worthy tradeoff.

SkyDrive is finally playing with the big boys – much like Dropbox's Windows client, SkyDrive now functions like a regular directory on your system. Just drag and drop any file into your SkyDrive directory, and voila! It's automatically uploaded to SkyDrive and available to you wherever you go:

Likewise, anything you upload to SkyDrive from another computer or from the web app becomes available in your SkyDrive directory. It just works:

If the 7GB of storage now being offered to free users isn't enough for you, there's also the option to purchase more space. You can take a look at the different plans by clicking 'manage storage' on your SkyDrive page.

As you can see, there's a wide variety of plans being offered at competitive prices. Compared to Dropbox's Pro 100 plan (100GB, $199 a year), SkyDrive +100 looks like a steal.

If you're an existing SkyDrive user (as of 22 April 2012), Microsoft will reward your loyalty by letting you keep your current 25GB of storage. If you're already using over 7GB of storage in your SkyDrive, your account will already have been upgraded automatically. If not, you'll have to opt-in to keep your full 25GB allowance. Just visit your SkyDrive storage page, click 'Upgrade my storage', and your 25GB will be preserved. You can find out more about this on Microsoft's SkyDrive limited time loyalty offer page.

Microsoft is also offering updated SkyDrive apps for the iPhone and iPad from today, including support for Retina Displays.

So, what can we say? It's pretty awesome. Although we wish we could have more storage for free, the pricing on the larger chunks are very good, and so far the client works great. No doubt this update will put Microsoft in a great position to compete with Dropbox and Google Drive.

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Symbolic link does not work.

If you create a symbolic link it creates the folder and files in the skydrive folder. ok so far.
But once you add a new file in the source folder, allthough this file is mirrored within the skydrive folder it is not not synced to skydrive.

Klayer said,
Symbolic link does not work.

If you create a symbolic link it creates the folder and files in the skydrive folder. ok so far.
But once you add a new file in the source folder, allthough this file is mirrored within the skydrive folder it is not not synced to skydrive.


I think you can try junction
mklink /J <Any name you like> <Path to the folder>

It works for me at least

P.S. Really need a selective sync option. still wait for the sync to be done, 5GB to go....

@noblecouncil
Did you really test e.g. deleting a file in the source folder and check whether this file is also delete in the cloud.
I do not think so

Fantastic piece of software. Blows iCloud, Dropbox and Google completely away.

Free, 25gb and Fetch Files... Windows wining at the moment.

I guess the "fetch files" option might be a luxury feature only Microsoft can add being the creators of Windows 7. Will be interesting to see if Google or Dropbox do (or even whether they can) copy such a feature, or whether security restrictions within Windows prevent them copying it.

The April 22nd cut off date is also false, because I have two hotmail accounts, both made long before that date, and only one of them offers me the 25gb back. The other doesn't.

Why not just allow Mesh to access the full 25GB of SkyDrive and have done with it!! ...with a Mesh client and a now Sky Drive client it's going to get very confusing for people! ....I can't really see Microsoft continuing to develop two separate clients that essentially do the same - what's the point!? ...why don't they just combine the two into one "Mesh" client that can access the whole of your SkyDrive! What are Microsoft playing at!?

GreatMarkO said,
Why not just allow Mesh to access the full 25GB of SkyDrive and have done with it!! ...with a Mesh client and a now Sky Drive client it's going to get very confusing for people! ....I can't really see Microsoft continuing to develop two separate clients that essentially do the same - what's the point!? ...why don't they just combine the two into one "Mesh" client that can access the whole of your SkyDrive! What are Microsoft playing at!?

Mesh is going to die, it's being replaced by this SkyDrive app. Microsoft SyncToy will be the 'replacement' and is a Power user tool not really meant for use by the general every day consumer. This is being done because the new SkyDrive app 'Just Works' compared to the Mesh app which required a good deal of configuration on the user side.

Advanced users can move user folders inside the SkyDrive app for similar functionality to Mesh, albeit, without the option to not sync to SkyDrive (see SyncToy for that functionality).

Open Explorer, click on Desktop, Click on 'Your Name', right click on 'My Documents', choose the location tab, change C:\Users\Your Name\My Documents to C:\Users\Your Name\SkyDrive\My Documents (or wherever you installed skydrive, could be a different folder).

I have used Skydrive for a while, but didn't not know about this having to claim the storage. Thanks for posting this.

Although I think its extremely lame that Microsoft is screwing people over this. For one thing, people shouldn't have to "claim" their storage back, it should default to staying at what they signed up for.

This is just typical Microsoft stealing back like always. Its also lame to remove it just because of Windows 8 coming out... its just another way to screw people out of their money after being ripped off from the cost of Windows 8 itself.

So I'm still trying to decide on a cloud storage host, I've got a grandfathered-in 25gb SkyDrive account now which I've never really used; how does SkyDrive compare in features, etc. to DropBox or TheBox?

Anyone else get "Skydrive can't run with full admin rights, restart Skydrive without admin rights" or something like this while installing app? I need to change type of my Windows account or what? O_o

It seems a bit silly to reduce it to 7GB if only 0.06% of users went over that.

Why take a PR hit over something that doesn't impact them in the slightest ?

oceanmotion said,
It seems a bit silly to reduce it to 7GB if only 0.06% of users went over that.

Why take a PR hit over something that doesn't impact them in the slightest ?

It's still more free space than DropBox or Google Drive so I don't think it's that big of a PR hit, if at all - spun the right way it's still more space than the competitors offer. I just wish they would offer even bigger amounts of space, Google Drive offers up to 1TB.

I also couldn't upgrade my account to 25 GB, I don't know what's the policy for this. Much confusion as for now.

tom5 said,
I also couldn't upgrade my account to 25 GB, I don't know what's the policy for this. Much confusion as for now.

I found if I followed the link to SkyDrive from the new app the banner link to 25GB loyalty did not show up. Only if if logged in separately.

Is it me, or does the Windows Live * Services UI look old, dated and cluttered. I HATE the hotmail UI,, and I think SkyDrive has followed suit. A nice consistent clean UI is what they need.

I especially hate the header, its like they made no effort :-(

Antaris said,

I especially hate the header, its like they made no effort :-(

The header? The header has 4 words on it. Nothing wrong with it. Now, if you're talking about the screenshots in this article, that's because it is customizable and they picked the ugliest possible theme.

rfirth said,

The header? The header has 4 words on it. Nothing wrong with it. Now, if you're talking about the screenshots in this article, that's because it is customizable and they picked the ugliest possible theme.

ROFL

I used Live Mesh (which tells me I have 5GB of "SkyDrive synced storage")
Is there any reason not to now use this instead?

Too bad the Mac OS X application puts a SkyDrive icon in the Dock and can't be removed (or can it?). It's very annoying, and they already have an icon in the menubar too...

I won't be impressed until Skydrive can behave like Mesh. Anyone that tells me to "just" use Mesh must answer the question is it really good enough for you to NOT be able to edit those documents that are being meshed from within Skydrive? Good for you. We were promised this functionality, I can only hope it's coming for Win 8, and wonder what the F is taking so long on it.

I just heard that syncing IS included, but I need clarification. Unfortunately I am traveling and cannot install the app now to find out. Hope someone clarifies this soon! This would be fantastic. Not going to get my hopes up, been there, done that...

jimmyfal said,
I just heard that syncing IS included, but I need clarification. Unfortunately I am traveling and cannot install the app now to find out. Hope someone clarifies this soon! This would be fantastic. Not going to get my hopes up, been there, done that...

Sort of. It doesn't work like mesh where you can sync any folder - it just syncs the entire SkyDrive folder; however, you can create folders inside of the SkyDrive folder and then move the location of your user files into those folders for similar results. You'll still be limited to the 2GB upload size per file though. The advantage is having access to all of your user files no matter what machine you are, and if you have a Windows Phone you then also have access to all of your Photos, Documents, etc.. wherever you go built right into the Office and Pictures Hub apps (or if you are on iOS you can use the SkyDrive app or a third party skydrive app on android).

Open Explorer, click on Desktop, Click on 'Your Name', right click on 'My Documents', choose the location tab, change C:\Users\Your Name\My Documents to C:\Users\Your Name\SkyDrive\My Documents (or wherever you installed skydrive, could be a different folder).

It's such a shame the web interface is so behind the times. Sharing via SkyDrive is a royal pain in the arse.

Sounds great, but I think it's strange it's taken so long to implement some of these features that have been on Windows Live Mesh for ages.

For UK it is not showing the account loyalty upgrade option...

Its showing for my US and India account though... anybody have this issue???

psreloaded said,

I did, but it is still at 7gb

I had to back out completely and re log in to SkyDrive to get the banner to show up. I went around in circles a few times with no button showing up at first.

Still not convinced about giving the internet personal documents.
I'd rather just put them on a DVD / External HD and leave a copy at a family members home.

This app is useless to me. I don't want a Skydrive folder to mirror what I have on the internet. I already have some of the files scattered on my PC in their dedicated folders. It's a huge waste of space. I need an app that will make Skydrive function like every other drive in my computer and allow me to transfer files as I like. Therefore I will keep using SkyDriveExplorer

wolftail said,
This app is useless to me. I don't want a Skydrive folder to mirror what I have on the internet. I already have some of the files scattered on my PC in their dedicated folders. It's a huge waste of space. I need an app that will make Skydrive function like every other drive in my computer and allow me to transfer files as I like. Therefore I will keep using SkyDriveExplorer

Symbolic links?

wolftail said,
This app is useless to me. I don't want a Skydrive folder to mirror what I have on the internet. I already have some of the files scattered on my PC in their dedicated folders. It's a huge waste of space. I need an app that will make Skydrive function like every other drive in my computer and allow me to transfer files as I like. Therefore I will keep using SkyDriveExplorer

Open Explorer, click on Desktop, Click on 'Your Name', right click on 'My Documents', choose the location tab, change C:\Users\Your Name\My Documents to C:\Users\Your Name\SkyDrive\My Documents (or wherever you installed skydrive, could be a different folder). Repeat the process for all dedicated folders (I'm assuming you mean My Documents, My Videos, My Photos, My Music, etc...).

for some reason this apps uses:- http : // view.atdmt.com

This is reported by numerous sites as installing spyware on your pc.

I've been a user of SkyDrive for a long time, and I'm only seeing 7GB available, granted I don't have a lot stored in it, but I'm not seeing any "Upgrade my storage" option in the Storage page. Am I missing something?

Hurmoth said,
I've been a user of SkyDrive for a long time, and I'm only seeing 7GB available, granted I don't have a lot stored in it, but I'm not seeing any "Upgrade my storage" option in the Storage page. Am I missing something?
they give you a free upgrade to 25gb. I just did my free upgrade on my account. as soon as you sign into skydrive you'll see the banner on the top saying to upgrade to free 25bg of storage.

Nice prices. I need somewhere to backup my data online. Looks like MS have just gained themselves another customer.

GJ MS!

butilikethecookie said,
I'm gonna try this! Does it work under WINE?

You could just map your SkyDrive account as a WebDAV account - I've been using Windows Explorer to manage my Skydrive files for years by doing that, and I know you can do the same on the Mac, so it should be possible on Linux too

Great idea! I was doing that but I found it was taking up my bandwidth and slowing down explorer. I think I'll just stick with ubuntu one. They'll probably release a metro client soon. They already have a Win/OSX client! /one step toward year of linux

I like, but what I really hate of this and dropbox is you only sync your sync folder aka skydrive. But, i want "my documents" synced!

brywright said,
I like, but what I really hate of this and dropbox is you only sync your sync folder aka skydrive. But, i want "my documents" synced!

Use Mesh for that

brywright said,
I like, but what I really hate of this and dropbox is you only sync your sync folder aka skydrive. But, i want "my documents" synced!

Google how to create a "symbolic link" to a directory and see if that allows you to sync your docs as part of your skydrive folder.

Axel said,

Google how to create a "symbolic link" to a directory and see if that allows you to sync your docs as part of your skydrive folder.


I haven't tried it yet, but that's what I was doing to try. Should allow you to sync arbitrary folders.

brywright said,
I like, but what I really hate of this and dropbox is you only sync your sync folder aka skydrive. But, i want "my documents" synced!

You should be able to create a Documents folder in your SkyDrive, then add that folder to your Documents library. Not quite the same thing, but almost...

JonathanMarston said,

You should be able to create a Documents folder in your SkyDrive, then add that folder to your Documents library. Not quite the same thing, but almost...

mklink /J "Documents" "../Documents"

Axel said,

Google how to create a "symbolic link" to a directory and see if that allows you to sync your docs as part of your skydrive folder.

That is a good idea, i use mklink for storing steam games on 2 different drives. might give it a shot. see if it works

brywright said,
I like, but what I really hate of this and dropbox is you only sync your sync folder aka skydrive. But, i want "my documents" synced!

Open Explorer, click on Desktop, Click on 'Your Name', right click on 'My Documents', choose the location tab, change C:\Users\Your Name\My Documents to C:\Users\Your Name\SkyDrive\My Documents (or wherever you installed skydrive, could be a different folder).

I installed SkyDrive in the folder \Users\My Name\SkyDrive on an External USB HDD (U:), then moved all of my user files (Documents, Photos, Desktop, etc..) into that folder using the above method and everything works perfectly (except I'm on day 3 of uploading on a 1MB/s up connection and it's only at 8GB uploaded of 35GB). That drive is then backed up weekly to another external HD.

Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

the better twin said,
Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

Not from what I have seen. No big loss for me though, I don't want or need my PC's folders synced.

the better twin said,
Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

Right. no arbitrary folders or shared folders like mesh which is a bit of let down. I can get around the arbitrary folders part but shared is a big problem as we (me & wife) use it to sync our photos across.

the better twin said,
Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

For now, yes, but I expect that option will come soon. This app is beta actually, no one seems to have mentioned that. I expect it to bring more options when it gets updated next time.

the better twin said,
Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

There is, it's called Windows Live Mesh. It rocks!

the better twin said,
Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

You can. You have to use symbolic links:

mklink /J "Music" "../Music"

Works great, actually. But you have to use the command line... running the above from the SkyDrive directory will add your music folder. On your other computers, you can add a symbolic link in the reverse direction.

the better twin said,
Im confused. Is there no way to sync folders outside of the skydrive directory? Like say my documents or folders in other locations on my c drive? Do I still have to keep mesh to do this?

You can change the location of the libraries into the Skydrive folder if you want. That's half of what you want.

GP007 said,

For now, yes, but I expect that option will come soon. This app is beta actually, no one seems to have mentioned that. I expect it to bring more options when it gets updated next time.

Some new features like these would be good, been using dropbox for years, and hardly use my system folders at all.

You can access them through skydrive though if you computer is left on, so that might help some people, but not others.

My docs and favs default folders are now "documentos" and "favoritos" but photo and other custom folders are still the same

Co_Co said,
My docs and favs default folders are now "documentos" and "favoritos" but photo and other custom folders are still the same

Did you change your language settings to Spanish? 'Cause that's what it is.

FoxieFoxie said,
I got some error about too long paths and then it crashed, cba

Probably just getting slammed right now. Give it a few and try again.

FoxieFoxie said,
I got some error about too long paths and then it crashed, cba

They're probably getting slammed, but also check on your filenames. Windows is picky if you have folders within folders within folders, certain special characters in your file/folder names, or unrealistically long names for your files and folders. I had a hell of a time backing up some data from one of our servers because some customers chose to get ridiculous and stack folders 8 or 9 deep with names like "WTF-ALMOST THERE-ONLY ONE MORE FOLDER TO GO-COME ON YOU CAN DO IT". These were stored using Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, and it wouldn't let me copy the files over because the path was too long...

I thought it was going a bit slow at first, but i think that's just because i was trying to upload 2.5GB (copied directly from my dropbox) all at once. Though when I check the upload rate in the Windows Resource monitor, it's uploading at roughly 50,000 - 100,000 B/sec.

I'm on a work network shared with about 8 other users, on a 6Mbps (Down) ADSL2+ connection, not sure what the up should be but the above seems reasonable.