Microsoft SkyDrive-New and Improved

Without any fanfare, Microsoft updates Windows Live SkyDrive with some impressive features. Let’s dig in to what caught my eye.

New Microsoft SkyDrive Features

  • 25GB of free storage (not new, but worth highlighting)
  • no annoying ads anymore – thanks, Microsoft, this is much appreciated
  • All your stuff in one place in an explorer-like presentation with folders listed alphabetically
  • Sort through your SkyDrive stuff by clicking on ‘Documents’ on the left-hand navigation section and you’ll have a neat list of folders containing only documents
  • Same thing for Pictures – click on ‘Pictures’, and instead of file folders, get ready for a really beautiful presentation of all your picture folders (I have illustrations below)
  • The explorer-like interface also shows how large each folder is, the last time it was modified and who it’s shared with
  • Now included on your main SkyDrive page are the Microsoft Office icons – just click one of them to start creating a Word, Excel, OneNote or PowerPoint document…don’t have Office, no worries, you can use the free Microsoft Web Apps to create, email or share your on-line documents
  • Easily upload or create a new folder right on your main SkyDrive page
  • If you have more than one Live ID, you can easily switch between or among your IDs by going to the upper right and clicking on your name and you’ll see a drop down menu, easily switch to another Live ID (not new, but useful)
  • No more Silverlight – Microsoft has programmed this site all in html5 – this is a very big thing, although I couldn’t really tell you why

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SkyDrive vs. Dropbox (observation)

Even with all these great features, I still have and regularly use a Dropbox account – why? It’s much easier to get to, open up and I can save any type of document from anywhere on my computer right into my Dropbox.

It’s so useful having the little Dropbox icon in my system tray and I don’t have to sign into it every time I want to use it. It’s also easier to send someone a share invite from Dropbox. When I’ve tried to share folders or documents from SkyDrive, with people, there always seems to be a glitch and they have problems. I can ‘pin’ my SkyDrive to my start menu (using IE9 only), but I still have to sign in—tiresome, but it is so much more secure.

I find I use SkyDrive more for storage and backup than for frequent  document retrieval. Perhaps Microsoft will some day make SkyDrive as easily accessible as Dropbox. I use Dropbox for non-sensitive documents.

The benefits of SkyDrive outweigh the inconveniences. I’ve been using it for several years now and I like the easier uploading and I especially like how easy it is to get my photos from my Live Photo Gallery on my computer into the clouds.

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