Connect Your Surface to the Cloud with OneDrive

All Surface tablets include an app to access Microsoft’s brand of cloud, called OneDrive. (Microsoft renamed its SkyDrive service to OneDrive in early 2014.) It seems every company wants you to save your files on the cloud. The word cloud is technospeak for an online storage place — a personal cubbyhole on the Internet.

Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and a host of other companies offer free Internet storage spaces where you can keep your files. Storing files on the cloud brings several advantages, especially for a storage-starved Surface:

  • After you stash files on OneDrive, you can access them from any Internet-connected tablet, computer, or smartphone.

  • When you edit a OneDrive-stored file — update a document with the latest information, for example — it’s automatically updated for all of your other devices, as well.

  • Should you ever lose your Surface, your OneDrive files remain safe and password-protected in the cloud. And you can still access them from any web browser.

Just signing up for a Microsoft account gives you 7GB of free OneDrive storage space, and if you bought a Surface 2 or Surface Pro 2, Microsoft gives you another 200GB of storage for a year.

Should you ever fill up your allotted OneDrive storage space, Microsoft offers you two choices:

  • Pay up: Microsoft charges an annual fee that increases according to your allotted storage space.

  • Pare down: Delete some of your OneDrive files to make room for your newer, incoming files.

But whether you live with 7GB of space or splurge for extra, your Surface lets you access your OneDrive-stashed files any of three ways:

  • OneDrive app: The OneDrive app lets you manage your files from the touchscreen — no mouse needed. But it’s designed mostly for copying a few files back and forth. The app can’t copy folders, for example, just files.

  • Desktop: The traditional Windows desktop in Windows 8.1 embeds OneDrive directly into the File Manager. OneDrive appears as a location in every folder’s Navigation pane along the left edge. If you use OneDrive a lot, you’ll probably want to access it from there: On the desktop, OneDrive behaves much like any other folder.

  • Internet Explorer: You can access your OneDrive files from any computer’s web browser, including Internet Explorer. To visit, just log in with your Microsoft account.

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