cloud storage scene
has exploded recently, with dozens of providers offering you free storage for your files in the cloud. Why pay for more space when we’ve shown you
The Cloud Storage Showdown - Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive & More
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how to max out your free storage
with these services?
How To Get The Most Free Space On Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive & More - The Complete Guide
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One contender, Microsoft OneDrive (which was
from the old SkyDrive name) offered an attractive 7 GB to all users, much more than the popular
OneDrive Launches With More Storage & Automatic Android Photo Backup
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Dropbox‘s 2 GB. Recently, Microsoft sweetened the deal and increased OneDrive’s minimum space to a whopping 15 GB for all users. That’s a lot of space!
If you’re wondering what to do with all of it, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to look at some creative solutions, as well as some traditional methods to fill up all that space.
Set Up OneDrive
The first step to taking advantage of your free space is to make sure you’re actually using
OneDrive. If you’re on Windows 8, OneDrive is already integrated into your system and you can manage your files easily with the OneDrive app
. With the updated 8.1,
SkyDrive For Windows 8: The Cloud Storage And Modern File Explorer App
SkyDrive For Windows 8: The Cloud Storage And Modern File Explorer App Got Windows 8? Then you have SkyDrive and in combination with a Microsoft account, you get 7GB of free storage. SkyDrive is a cloud storage solution and also doubles as a modern file explorer.
OneDrive has even more of a presence
. The only other requirement is to make sure that you have a
How To Keep Your Files Synced With SkyDrive In Windows 8.1
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Microsoft account; you probably signed up for one when you got your Windows 8 PC since Microsoft is pushing users to stop using local accounts
How Microsoft Overhauled User Accounts In Windows 8
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If you’re on Windows 7, OneDrive isn’t a part of the operating system, so you’ll need to download
the OneDrive desktop app and sign in to take advantage of it. VIDEO
Once you’re all set up, you can open your OneDrive folder in Windows Explorer. It will be bare at first, but feel free to create new folders in there and start placing all types of files in it. If you use Microsoft Office (hopefully you’re using
our guide) then you’ll be prompted to save all of your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations in OneDrive, which is a good starting point. What Can I Do With OneDrive?
Now that you have all this space to store files in the cloud, what exactly should you do with it? Before anything else, for Windows 8.1 users it’s a good idea to
back up your PC’s personalization settings
so you don’t have to apply a fresh coat of paint to any new computers.
Make Windows 8 Sexier With These Background & Theme Tweaks
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Back Up PC Settings
To do this, open up the
PC Settings app by searching for it through the Charms Bar. Under the OneDrive tab, expand Sync Settings and make sure that all the switches are enabled, linking them to your Microsoft account. Once you’ve gotten that out of the way, try out some OneDrive customization
5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1
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Enable Remote Access
One other awesome OneDrive feature you’ll want to set up is
Remote Access. Head into your OneDrive settings by going to the notification area at the far right of your Taskbar; right-click on the cloud icon for OneDrive and choose Settings. As long as the Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC option selected, you’ll be able to sign into OneDrive on the web, browse your files, and download a local copy of anything on your computer, even if it isn’t in OneDrive!
For this to work, the target PC needs to be turned on and connected to the Internet with OneDrive running. It’s a great option for accessing your home computer’s files while at work or on-the-go, but for a computer you don’t leave on all the time, like a laptop, it might not be ideal. Also, for some reason you can’t fetch files that are on a PC running Windows 8.1, so keep that in mind.
Cloud storage can be used in so many cool ways that you could write a textbook on the subject. Here I won’t be redundant, but rather point you to some creative ways to fill up that space.
Saikat has laid out
some creative uses for cloud storage
, including sending Microsoft Word autosaves to the cloud and saving maps offline. He even wrote a sequel with
Top 10 Creative Uses For Dropbox Or Other Cloud Storage
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yet more unique functions
, including automatically saving your Gmail attachments to the cloud, or one of my personal favorites, keeping a
10 Ways To Use Your Cloud Storage That You May Not Have Thought Of
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huge wallpaper collection
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VIDEO Traditional Uses
The above uses are more interesting and some take advantage of different web services, but the traditional usage for cloud storage — backing up your files — is still a great way to use the service.
Back Up Documents
For instance, documents and text files will barely take up any space, so feel free to load them up. Simply place any files you want to back up in the OneDrive folder on your PC to sync them to the cloud. If you don’t want to relocate all your files, use a tool like
FreeFileSync ( our review
), which will let you easily sync between different places.
Is FreeFileSync Better Sync Software Than Microsoft SyncToy? [Windows]
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What you place in here, however, varies and can be tailored to what kinds of files you use the most. If you have a ton of music, create a folder in OneDrive and place a few gigabytes of your favorite tunes for a personal jukebox anywhere. Or, ditch your
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using portable applications
How Portable Apps Can Make Your Life Easier & Save Resources
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some of the best) that can be used on any computer you find yourself working with. Stock & Sync Game ROMs
In his list of
essential cloud storage uses
, Craig also mentioned keeping a stock of game ROMs to enable saving across devices. If you’re set up to
5 Things That You Should Be Using Your Cloud Storage For
5 Things That You Should Be Using Your Cloud Storage For Cloud storage services are great in that they offer a nice chunk of free storage that anyone should be able to put to use. With the cloud's rising popularity and on-the-go computing as popular as...
play retro games on your PC
, the cloud is a great place to keep all your emulation goodies in one place.
10+ Emulators To Play Old-School 16- And 32-bit Consoles On Your PC (1987-1993)
10+ Emulators To Play Old-School 16- And 32-bit Consoles On Your PC (1987-1993)
If you don’t emulate, but still play games on your PC,
saving your game progress to the cloud
is still simple, and can be a life-saver should your computer crash in the middle of a huge game.
5 Ways Gamers Can Save Game Progress To The Cloud
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Filling Your Space
It’s funny; most of the time you’re looking to
free up space on your hard drive
, but in this instance you want to take up space. There’s no straight answer to this quandary, however. What you put into your personal cloud really depends on what kind of computer user you are.
Low Disk Space? 5 Native Windows Tools To Free Up Storage Space
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Share Files Publicly
Perhaps, for example, you’re always writing, creating images, or making sound clips, and you like to share those works with others. Turn OneDrive into your own spot for making your art public. You can
share entire folders; choose to make them Public for the whole world to see, or share a link with those close to you or on Facebook. Back Up ISO, Installer Or Video Files
If you’ve been using Windows for a long time and have lots of old CDs that came with software,
convert them into ISO files
and store them in OneDrive to keep them safe. Have you
Extend The Life Of Your Optical Discs With ISO Backups & Virtual Clone Drive [Windows]
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get your TV shows through torrents? Stow them in OneDrive and set up a media streaming center with your game console
Stream & Transcode Media To Any Device With PS3 Media Server
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If you install a lot of software, keep the installers in OneDrive so if they ever cease to exist you’ll have a copy.
Download your favorite funny YouTube videos
How to Download a YouTube Video to Windows Media Player
How to Download a YouTube Video to Windows Media Player
YouTube’s weird decisions
take them down, you can re-upload them and be the video community’s hero.
YouTube Flagging, Free OneNote, Apple Chat Support, Street View Hack [Tech News Digest]
YouTube Flagging, Free OneNote, Apple Chat Support, Street View Hack [Tech News Digest] Policing YouTube, OneNote free-for-all, paid Apple chat support, WhatsApp privacy assurances, Twitch mobile gaming, Nakamoto fighting Newsweek, and Urban Jungle Street View.
Think of what files you use the most, and those are the ones you’ll want to throw into OneDrive. I can’t answer the question for you, but you certainly have lots of files on your main computer. At the absolute least, putting them into OneDrive ensures you have some layer of backup, though you should consider a
more reliable backup & restore method
6 Safest Ways to Backup & Restore Your Files in Windows 7 & 8
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To The Cloud
We’ve given OneDrive a broad survey; are you feeling inspired yet? Hopefully you see how cloud storage can be useful and why you should take the time to set it up. Feeling especially advanced? Ryan has shown you
how to send commands to your computer via SMS
, and OneDrive can help.
How to Issue a Command to Your Computer With a Text Message
How to Issue a Command to Your Computer With a Text Message You're out the door in a hurry as you realize your computer is still running. Not wasting any time, you send a quick text stating "shutdown #mycomputer", and continue on your way.
Read all of this and still not convinced? If you hate OneDrive and wish it would go away, you can
disable it with just a few clicks
How To Disable OneDrive / SkyDrive With Just A Few Clicks In Windows 8.1 Pro
How To Disable OneDrive / SkyDrive With Just A Few Clicks In Windows 8.1 Pro Cloud storage utilities are a drag on system resources, especially if you're running more than one. If you don't use OneDrive (fka SkyDrive), disable it now.
How are you using your free OneDrive space? Did I miss any creative methods for using it? Feel free to leave a comment!