Windows 8: Built-in Apps & the Power of the Cloud


SkyDrive App

SkyDrive App

Another major component for getting you connected to your files is SkyDrive. It's a service that allows you to access documents, photos, and even music and videos as and when you need them, on any of your PCs or on the SkyDrive website. For road warriors, a SkyDrive app is also available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices. Better yet, SkyDrive works with Office Web Apps, so that you can easily access, author, and share Office documents on any device that has a web browser.

Windows 8 comes pre-installed with a Modern-style SkyDrive app, and you'll see the tile on your Start screen. Run it, and you'll notice that it's already signed using your Microsoft account. As mentioned earlier, you're given 7GB of SkyDrive storage space for free (long-time users may have as much as 25GB), and if that isn't enough, you can pay Microsoft an annual fee to get more space (additional 20GB, 50GB, and 100GB plans are available).

For the most part, the Modern-style SkyDrive app is best used for uploading files to and downloading existing files from SkyDrive. For more granular control such as configuring Windows 8 libraries with SkyDrive folders, you'd be better served with the desktop SkyDrive app. You can get it here, or as part of the Windows Essentials 2012 suite of apps. This app will create a SkyDrive folder on your PC, and everything you put in it (and any changes thereafter) will be synced between all your PCs and SkyDrive in the cloud. Especially for those who prefer working with directories and folders, the File Explorer UI provides a more familiar user experience. For Mac users, there’s also a desktop SkyDrive app for OS X.