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SkyDrive: Windows 8.1's Cloud Storage

Microsoft SkyDrive, a type of cloud storage, is included for free in Windows 8.1. Cloud storage is a term used to describe services that enable you to store files on remote servers across the Internet. Some well-known examples of these services include Microsoft SkyDrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Each of these services offers a variety of options as well as varying degrees of ease of use.

At the time this book is being written, Microsoft’s cloud storage service is still called SkyDrive, but recent legal actions suggest that Microsoft will be changing the name of the service. Even so, you can expect that whatever the new name might be, the renamed SkyDrive will still function pretty much the same.

Even though Windows 8.1 may be new, cloud storage services have been around for a while. For example, SkyDrive has actually been in use since 2007, although it was first made more generally available in Windows 8.

You may be wondering why you’d want to store any of your files in the cloud. After all, most modern PCs have plenty of storage space and don’t really need a few extra gigabytes of room.

In most cases, you don’t use cloud storage because you’re running out of space, but rather, to make it easier to access those files across multiple devices. If you’ve stored a file in the cloud, you can get at that file even if the PC you used to create the file isn’t immediately available.

If you use a Windows Phone 8, you’ll find that Microsoft SkyDrive is especially handy because you can set your phone to automatically store any digital photos on SkyDrive. Then, when you get back to your PC, you won’t have to download the photos from your phone because they’ll be right there on SkyDrive. Currently, none of the other cloud storage services offer this type of convenience to Windows Phone users.

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