Microsoft has released upgrades of its Skydrive feature on Monday, April 23, the most significant of which is the ability for users to access files almost anywhere. Skydrive is a free file hosting service offered to Windows Live users. It gives users the ability to store files in the “cloud” and access them later via an internet browser.
Prior to these upgrades, Skydrive users could only access their files through a browser. Now, Microsoft has released stand-alone applications for PCs and Macs that will give users the ability to access their files without having to go through Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox etc. This is how Microsoft explains it:
When you install SkyDrive, a SkyDrive folder is created on your PC. Everything you put in this folder is automatically kept in sync between your computers (PC or Mac) and SkyDrive.com, so you can get to your latest files from virtually anywhere. Whenever you add, change, or delete files in one location, all the other locations will be updated.
If you forgot to put something in your SkyDrive folder, you can still get back to your PC to access all its files and folders from SkyDrive.com.Features:
- Access your SkyDrive right from Windows Explorer—photos, documents, and all your other important files.
- Quickly add new files to SkyDrive by dragging them to the SkyDrive folder.
- Easily organize your files and folders in SkyDrive, just like any other folder.
- Connect back to your PC if you forget to put something in SkyDrive.
The application will work much like Dropbox or Carbonite except you get more storage on Skydrive for free. The new upgrades give users up 7GB of storage but if you were a previous user, for a limited time, Microsoft is giving you the ability to retain the 25GB of storage you had.
Dropbox gives you 2GB of free storage but to get more storage you would have to pay for an upgrade, say up to 50 GB, which would be $9.99 per month or $99 a year. Carbonite gives you a free trial period then you get unlimited online storage for $59 a year.
Microsoft also gives the ability to get more storage with an upgrade. The smallest upgrade will give you 20GB of additional storage for $10.00 a year. Apple offers iCloud, which gives users the first 5GB free and then you are looking to pay around $20 for an upgrade.
Skydrive is also available for smartphones, on the iPhone/iPad and Windows phones. The new desktop application will run on Windows Vista, 7, 8 and Mac OS X. The app is now a preview client but Microsoft says a final version will be released later.
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