Every computer user has one fear deep within his guts – what if my hard disk crashes?
Data loss is a crucial problem in today’s world, where most of the data has been digitalized. Hard disks, being mechanical devices, can fail anytime. Thus, you always run the risk of losing any sensitive data. Well, not anymore, if you start saving your data on the “cloud”.
Several companies provide online data storage services, which guarantee the safety and retention of your data. These services keep backup copies of your data, thus guaranteeing that you will never lose your data. Also, these services rarely go down, thus assuring you that you will have 24×7 access to your data, just like you have on your hard disk.
Such a cloud storage provided by Microsoft is called SkyDrive. Launched in 2007 for public usage, it competes with other online syncing services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, etc.
A Windows Live ID is required to gain space on SkyDrive. Once you register a Live ID, you automatically get 7 GB space on SkyDrive for free. This is a much larger offering than the rivals’ – 2 GB on Dropbox, 5 GB on Google Drive, 5 GB on Box, etc. Initially, the free offering was a whopping 25 GB on SkyDrive!
Once you get the space, you can start uploading your data to your SkyDrive account. All types of files can be uploaded – documents, images, videos, folders, etc. Files of sizes up to 2 GB can be uploaded.
The uploaded data can be accessed anywhere, anytime. Microsoft provides several interfaces for that.
- Web Interface – Accessible through web browsers, it is made using HTML 5 technologies. You can simply drag a file and drop it on the interface to upload it to SkyDrive. It integrates with the rest of the Windows Live world, like its new mail service Outlook, Live Messenger, MSN services, etc. The web interface has two huge plus points:
- Slideshow for photos – You can browse through your uploaded photos online, through a neat slideshow feature.
- Integration with Office Web Apps – You can create office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote) directly through SkyDrive website. Creating a document will launch it in Office Web Apps, where you can edit the document.
- Desktop applications – Microsoft provides SkyDrive applications for Windows and Mac OS X. The application integrated naturally with the OS. Thus, you can access SkyDrive just like a normal hard drive. You can upload new documents directly through these applications.
- Phone apps – Microsoft has provided SkyDrive mobile apps for Windows Phone and iOS.
- Metro SkyDrive app – This is a Windows 8 exclusive app that will feature along with the upcoming OS. But you can check it out in the current Windows 8 Release Preview. It is a pretty cool app that flaunts the Metro user interface.
- API – Besides that, Microsoft has exposed API to SkyDrive so that developers can make their own clients that use SkyDrive.
Besides the free storage, you can pay to get extra space on SkyDrive. Microsoft has laid out year-based plans.
- 20 GB – 10 USD per year
- 50 GB – 25 USD per year
- 100 GB – 50 USD per year
Note that you don’t lose your 7 GB free storage in spite of buying a plan-based storage so any space that you buy comes in addition to the free 7 GB.
Sweet, isn’t it?