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Microsoft Surface: Turn Your Desktop Computer into a Cloud

All Surface tablets include an app to access Microsoft’s brand of cloud, called SkyDrive. When you finish installing SkyDrive for Windows on your desktop, the program leaves you looking at a checkbox next to this odd sentence: Make your PC or tablet’s files available to other devices.

If you deselect the checkbox, the program simply installs SkyDrive for Windows, letting you stock your SkyDrive storage space with files and folders.

If you leave the checkbox selected, however, Windows adds something extra to SkyDrive: It lets you access that entire PC from the SkyDrive web site. That’s right: All of your PC’s files, folders, libraries, and drives will be available through SkyDrive. And because it takes place from the website, Surface with Windows RT owners can browse their desktop PC’s files from the Internet, as well.

Leaving that checkmark in place automatically expands your Surface’s storage space to include your entire desktop PC. Naturally, Microsoft took some security precautions with such a bold move. Before letting you access a new PC for the first time, SkyDrive asks you to type in a code.

In the background, Microsoft sends a text message to the cell phone or e-mail associated with your Microsoft account. When you receive the message, you type it into the computer you’re using to access the PC. When Microsoft receives the matching code, it adds that PC to your list of accessible PCs.

You can only access PCs you’ve left turned on, so you’ll need to leave your desktop PC turned on to access it from the road. If you’re planning on using this handy SkyDrive feature, be sure to enter your cell phone number when setting up your Microsoft account.

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