Not using the cloud is almost impossible these days. You can use the cloud for emails, document publishing and of course storing, backing up and sharing files as well.
We have reviewed quite a few online storage services in the past. Microsoft’s offering is right up there with others when it comes to storage space, offering a staggering 25 GB of online space. In addition we also showed you how you can edit your Office documents stored in Windows Live Skydrive with Office Webapps.
One of the most annoying aspects of nearly all online storage solutions is that you have to use a web browser to upload and manage files. Some of them offer Java applets to upload but there are a number of other operations that you may want to perform on the files you have in your account. Doing them in a web browser is generally not the best way to do such things. It would be nicer if you could integrate Skydrive into the Windows shell. Wouldn’t it?
Skydrive Explorer [No longer available] is one such application that lets you do just that. With Skydrive Explorer installed you can easily access your Skydrive account just like any other drive from inside My Computer. A meagre 1.23 MB download, Skydrive Explorer installs in a jiffy. Once installed you will see a Skydrive Explorer System folder listed inside My Computer.
Double click on it and you will be prompted to log into your Skydrive account. You can then view the contents of your Skydrive account just like any other folder without having to use the web browser.
You should note that folders may take some time to load since Skydrive Explorer needs to send a request and then process it before it can display the relevant information to you. You should therefore avoid working directly with files stored in your Skydrive folders. The right way would be create a local copy, edit it and then copy it back to Skydrive. That said, the performance is acceptable and a large part of it would be attributed to your connection speed.
Skydrive Explorer lets you perform almost all the file/folder management tasks that you can need:
- You can create, delete, rename multiple folders in a single go.
- Copy files to Skydrive folders from your hard drive which would then be uploaded to your Skydrive account or copy the contents to your hard drive from the account.
- You can also right click on any folder and then copy its URL to the clipboard. Visiting the URL in any web browser would take you to your Skydrive account, right to where the file is located. You can easily use this functionality to share files with others by adding them to the “Public” folder.
- Create shortcuts to a Skydrive folder on your desktop for quick access
With a little effort you can easily use Skydrive to backup your important files. You can use software like the previously mentioned Directorysync pro or Freefilesync to keep two folder synchronized with each other. Let’s say you synchronize the Documents folder on your Skydrive account with the Documents folder for your user account in Windows. Now changes to any file or folder will be automatically communicated to your Skydrive account – just keep in mind the 50MB file limit!
You can also have a look at previously mentioned Gladinet and see which one would you like to use in case you are looking for a way to access your Skydrive. Which is your favorite online storage service and how do you access it?