One of the most important factors for choosing your online services is provider, especially when services are provided for free. It is clear, that when services do not charge related fees, the commitment to the users is limited. It also means that the provider should have other income sources for services support. Even for users it free, developers, servers, support, and maintenance cost money. Therefore, in most cases, the services providers build the marketing scheme on advertising revenues. Microsoft is one of the most reliable and solid businesses on the map. Therefore, they can allow themselves to have steady reliable free projects with no fees for the users. One of such projects is Windows Live Skydrive.
Windows Live Skydrive is an online file hosting service, allowing its users to store content, collaborate on and share files with friends or with virtually anyone. Skydrive accounts can be accessed from anywhere, from desktop computers or from portable electronic devices, including mobile phones. While the mobile applications for Windows Mobile 7 and iPhones are ready, Droid users are expecting to get the similar app soon. Till then, they can use the service though mobile browser. That is less convenient than dedicated app, but it just a matter of time.
Any type of file can be stored and placed in private, public, or shared folders, giving different permission for the data access. Publicly shared files do not require a Windows Live login in order to be accessed.
Total amount of the data, SkyDrive allows to upload is 25 GB per account. However, there is a significant limitation on the size of the individual uploaded files – up to 100 MB.
The unique and useful feature is ability for all users to create new Microsoft documents directly onsite, since Skydrive links to the web app versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint. SkyDrive is developed using HTML5, so files can be uploaded via simple and intuitive drag and drop functions. If needed, you can offer your recipients editor status to allow them to be able changing the files. The collaboration is a really great thing about SkyDrive. It lets you control who can view or edit your files case by case.
· Directly upload Office documents and photos within Hotmail, store them on Windows Live SkyDrive, and share them with other users.
· Directly save Office documents within Hotmail to Windows Live SkyDrive, and view or edit these documents directly within the web browser.
· Allow Hotmail users to edit Office documents within the web browser using Office Web Apps, and reply directly back to the sender with the edits made.
In terms of usability and user friendliness, Skydrive offers very positive experience. It is simple and straightforward to use, not requiring experience and learning. Icons are mapped and identical to any other Microsoft environment.
- Office Web Apps- Allows for editing Microsoft Office files directly in a web browser.
- Office Desktop App Integration- allows for using online and desktop versions simultaneously.
- Integration with Hotmail.
- Integration with Bing.
- Allows files to download to .zip file.
- It uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology.
- Uploading of folders is not possible with SkyDrive.
- Individual files limitation is severe, so you will not be able to share entire movie, unless you split it into multiple segments.
- Cannot create subfolders over the 9 levels of nesting.
- Multiple downloads at once are not allowed.
- File synchronization from the desktop is not supported.
Developers’ website: https://skydrive.live.com/
SDExplorer for Windows Live SkyDrive
As you understand, SkyDrive does not require and does not need software to perform data uploading or downloading from your desktop. However, if you are looking for more computer-centered convenient way to work with your files stored there, you may consider SDExplorer - a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SDExplorer you can perform all everyday operations with your documents on Microsoft Live SkyDrive using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer itself.
Developers’ website: http://www.cloudstorageexplorer.com/index.php
Direct Downloading Link: http://cloudstorageexplorer.com/download/sdexplorer31_setup.exe
Gladinet for Windows Live SkyDrive
If you are looking to access your Skydrive account from your desktop, you can also use the alternative free desktop client Gladinet. Gladinet Cloud Desktop is an application that allows you to mount cloud storage services as local folders and integrates online applications with the local desktop. It supports services such as Amazon S3, Google docs, Picasa, Adrive, and of course Skydrive.
Developers’ website: http://www.gladinet.com/
Download page (select your OS version): http://www.gladinet.com/p/download.htm
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