Over past many months , various “so-called” experts have been predicting death of the PC. While I have own strong views about this which are contrary to the views of these experts , today I will share with you something pretty fundamental which has happened to the way I use Computers . In fact I will go to state that in past few months , the PC for me no longer means “Personal Computer “. It now means “Personal Cloud” . And while there are few popular “Personal Clouds “ out there , what I will focus is the personal cloud , or lets call it PC , that I use. My PC of choice is SkyDrive.
How do you get SkyDrive
First question is , how does one get SkyDrive ? This one is a no brainer. Anyone who uses Hotmail or live id , already has SkyDrive . And now with Hotmail being retired, you can go to www.outlook.com and signup for new email id with @outlook.com . Once you login to your account, you will get the following option as shown here :
Click on the SkyDrive option and you are good to go !
Let me now take you inside my SkyDrive. This is how my SkyDrive looks:
At bottom left corner, it tells me that I have 21.6 GB space available. I can also get SkyDrive apps for PC, Windows Phone and other platforms as SkyDrive is true cross platform solution.
Just above that is the list of my various PC’s which access SkyDrive. Above that are some of the groups I have created .
In the center are the various folders I have created for my Data, Pictures, Videos.
SkyDrive Office WebApps
One killer feature of SkyDrive which is lacking in other Cloud Solutions is the support of Office WebApps . I can open and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote in a browser. Yes. You read it right. You can edit MS Office documents which are stored on SkyDrive directly in a browser without needing to use MS Office stored on your PC . And Office WebApps on SkyDrive support co-authoring meaning multiple people can edit the same file at the same time. How cool is that !
The Photo sharing app on SkyDrive is wonderful. I use it extensively to store my digital pictures . In functionality , it is comparable to the best dedicated photo sharing applications available.
SkyDrive App for Windows OS
This is by far the killer feature as far as I am concerned. I have downloaded SkyDrive App on my PC . This creates a SkyDrive folder on my PC . Next I decide which SkyDrive folders I wish to sync with the PC SkyDrive folder . So I can select folder a, b, c , d to sync with my Office PC. Next I can select folder a and b to sync with my home PC.
Now whatever data I create in my SkyDrive folder of my PC gets synced with my SkyDrive Cloud. This gives me an effective online backup solution. And if I add or edit anything online, the same gets reflected on my local hard disk .
I typically work on my hard disk as it is much faster . But while I am working on the hard disk of my PC, the SkyDrive app is pushing the data into my Personal Cloud giving me an online backup.
SkyDrive App for Windows Phone
I have also downloaded the SkyDrive app for my Windows Phone. So using SkyDrive app on my phone, I can access the complete SkyDrive which in my case is of 25 GB. I can not only access my files, but also work on them using my phone. And the edits I do using my phone get synced with all my Computers which are connected with my SkyDrive Account. I can also send a link to my SkyDrive file to anyone by email.
For me, SkyDrive has become one of the most useful applications . It has truly made me mobile . I can now work on my Data from any device . While there are other Cloud Solutions out there which offer some of the functions of SkyDrive , I prefer SkyDrive due to following reasons :
1) Ability to use Office Web apps , which is missing in other services.
2) I can buy extra storage at a nominal cost from Microsoft. And I can increase my storage to mind boggling 100 GB
3) I trust Microsoft more than other services like Dropbox, Box, etc. The reason is that most of the other services are currently running on VC money . They do not have any revenue model . So they may go down any time . But Microsoft is one Company which will not disappear in a hurry. And they cannot allow negative publicity to affect their other profitable business . So my data will remain secure with Microsoft as compared to others.
So go ahead and give SkyDrive a try. You will fall in love with it . Take it from me.
with warm regards
Microsoft MVP 2009
Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year 2011 & 2007