So an obvious change to computing, that you have most likely noticed in the past 2 years, is cloud computing. If you don’t know what cloud computing is (which you should if you’re using Windows 8 ) here is a brief overview.

It basically is the concept of storing all of your data, instead of on a local hard drive, on a server somewhere in a server farm owned by some company.

This essentially makes it easier to access, manage, and backup all of the files that you would have needed a specific computer to access in the past.

Microsoft’s SkyDrive is one of the many services (like Google Docs, Dropbox, or Zoho) that allows you to store you files for free, and it is being integrated with Windows 8 more than it has with any other version of Windows before.

If you have used Windows 8 on your own device, you should have noticed the clouds influence on Windows 8 as soon as you were setting it up for the first time. Windows prompts you to either sign in using a current Microsoft account, or register for a new one. This allows your device to be ready for syncing with the cloud once you have it authorized.

This also hooks you into the wonderful world of SkyDrive. Right on your Metro Start Screen you will see that SkyDrive has its own tile. If you click (tap) on it it will give you direct access to all of your stored files. When files are clicked, naturally Windows 8 opens the corrects app that is associated with that file type.

There are some differences with file opening in Windows 8, by the way. First off, there are some new programs Microsoft has silently packaged in that expand filetype readability.

One example is Microsoft Reader that reads PDF documents. (I’m guessing that this app will be a little more secure and less annoying that any of the PDF readers made by Adobe.)

Also, if there aren’t any apps installed that are associated with the selected file type, Windows will allow you to search the App Store, which is a lot more convenient than searching the entire internet as Windows has suggested in the past.

The only problem with the SkyDrive app is that it doesn’t allow you to create, upload, or delete folders, though this will most likely be fixed in a near update.

I don’t want to get into too much detail on the next feature because I have written numerous articles on it before, but it is User Account Synchronization. This is basically the tool that allows you to have all your settings ready if you sign on with your account on another Windows 8 device.

SkyDrive is treated just like Windows Explorer, so that means that any apps that have access to the filesystem, have access to SkyDrive. Of course, some apps have access to more.

For example, Photos has access to everything mentioned before plus, if authorized, it can retrieve photos from your Facebook or Flickr accounts. Pretty cool, huh? But you probably already knew that last part.

The last part I’m going to talk about is somewhat like Dropbox. It’s the plan to integrate a SkyDrive folder into the desktop version of Windows 8. I like this because it brings the large gap between Metro and Desktop, just a little closer.


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