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New SkyDrive: download the app now for PC, phone and tablet
A blog post on the 'Building Windows 8 blog' unveils the steps Microsoft have taken to make SkyDrive a more powerful online storage service than ever before.
What is SkyDrive?
In case you need a primer, SkyDrive is a service from Microsoft that grants you 7GB of free online storage. Traditionally this has required logging into SkyDrive through your browser to view files and upload documents, photos, files etc. A SkyDrive app has also been available on Windows Phone and iPhone that allowed users greater control over files.
Microsoft has since announced a revamp of the SkyDrive service; boasting more features, tiered storage plans and new ways to access your files.
Front and centre of the latest announcement is the new SkyDrive desktop app that aims to bring all of your documents, photos, files and music with you, whether you're on your Windows Phone, iPhone, Mac or PC.
Sync files between all your computers
When you download the SkyDrive desktop app on your PC or Mac, a SkyDrive folder is automatically created. Any file or photo you put in this folder will be automatically synced to your other devices that have SkyDrive.
The SkyDrive desktop app is compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista and Mac OS X Lion (10.6 Snow Leopard is not supported). If you are running the Windows 8 Consumer Preview you will also be able to use the app.
The installer is less than 5MB in size and takes about 10 seconds to install. You'll only need to install it once per PC, as SkyDrive will always keep itself up-to-date.
The desktop app boasts a wealth of helpful features like easy drag-and-drop upload and download support for SkyDrive, anywhere access to your data, offline access, and the power of Windows Explorer to manage your files and folders.
SkyDrive desktop app as seen on Mac OS X Lion.
Access your files on your phone and tablet
SkyDrive personal cloud storage is available across a wide range of devices - so you can get instant, secure and private access to your files across iPhone and iPad, Windows Phone and more. Just like the desktop app, SkyDrive will keep your photos and files accessible from, automatically synced with, and updated on all of those devices.
How much space do I get?
Your SkyDrive online storage is capped at a generous 7GB (that's enough space to store over 20,000 Office documents or 7,000 photos).
How does that compare with other online storage providers? Take a look at the table below and see for yourself.
Compare the amount of free online storage available with SkyDrive's competitors.
Should you need some extra space you can add more storage for a low yearly fee. To add more storage locate the SkyDrive icon in your Windows notification area, right click on SkyDrive and select 'Manage storage'.
You will be presented with a screen that allows you to choose the amount of additional space you require.
Add 20GB to your free storage for £6.00 per year
Add 50GB for £16.00 per year
Add 100GB for £32.00 per year
The 'Manage storage' screen will also show you how much space you have left.
[At the time of writing you can upgrade the amount of storage on your SkyDrive to a massive 25GB for free. Expect this to be available for a limited time only].
Access your entire PC
Once you've successfully set SkyDrive up on a Windows PC you are free to browse, access and stream your files by simply fetching them from skydrive.com.
To do this you will need to enter a security code (the code is sent either to your mobile phone or alternate email address), this extra step only takes a minute and will help protect your computer from unauthorized access. Alternatively if your computer is set up as your 'trusted PC' this won't be necessary.
That's enough talk - just show me to my free storage
If you have a Hotmail account or chat on Windows Live Messenger then you've already got a free SkyDrive account - you just didn't know about it.