OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) is Microsoft’s solution to the growing users’ demand for cloud-based, fully synchronized storage space. This free file hosting service offers you 5 GB to store your documents, photos, videos, etc., and to keep them synchronized with your mobile devices at all times. The service is a part of Windows 10 and is fully interoperable with known web services, such as Outlook, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Bing.
All you need to start using OneDrive is a Microsoft account. Once you set that up and log in into the hosting service, moving and synchronizing your files between OneDrive and your PC couldn’t be simpler. A new OneDrive virtual drive will appear on your computer, and whatever folder you create there or whatever file you place there it will be automatically created or uploaded to your mirror drive in the cloud. Photos, videos, screenshots, etc., can be set to be uploaded automatically or not as soon as they are created or added to your PC from a different device. Note that, unlike Dropbox or Google Drive, OneDrive doesn’t store different versions of the same file. This will save you storage space, but it somehow kills the possibility of using OneDrive as a backup to turn to in case something goes wrong at local level. Office documents that you are sharing online, however, can either be merged automatically into one final file or kept as two different copies, if so desired.
Thanks to the new Office Online service, you can now create, edit, and share your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files using your favorite browser. OneDrive itself comes with basic PDF, ODF, and XML-based documents viewing capabilities and the possibility of editing plain text files directly on the cloud. Its full integration with Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Xbox 360 and One devices allows you to access the files on your PC directly from your smart phone, tablet, or console. Office documents can be embedded in web pages to allow for collaborative work, so that anyone with the right permissions can open and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files online. Compatible with the most popular social networks, OneDrive will let you share documents with your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn contacts.
Limited to 5 GB in its basic and free version (used to be 25 GB not long ago), OneDrive installs automatically when you update to or install a new copy of Windows 10, and though you won’t be allowed to uninstall it, you can always disable it if not interested. Alternatively, you can increase your storage quota by purchasing additional packages or by subscribing to Office 365, which will give you 1 TB of free storage. Microsoft’s answer to the current needs for mobility and cloud storage is both convenient and efficient. It can be tailored to meet your specific storage needs and integrates fully with all your other Microsoft applications and devices. If you are on Windows 10 already, you have no excuse not to at least try it.