Windows 8 will come with Windows Live SkyDrive built in, giving people quicker, easier access to their online files.
Access to SkyDrive will be directly integrated into the new operating system, requiring you to sign up for a Windows Live account if you don't already have one. From there, you'll be able to upload and download your files directly between SkyDrive and Windows. Access to SkyDrive should be even faster and smoother through the new Metro user interface, giving you instant access to your content, according to Microsoft.
Working from within Metro and logged into SkyDrive, you'll be able to view your SkyDrive photos, albums, and other files. Tapping on a photo album, for example, will let you flip through each of its photos one by one in a slideshow format. From Metro, you can also share photos and other files stored locally by e-mailing them to other people. But instead of sending them as attachments, the files are uploaded to SkyDrive where you can designate which folders are shareable and with whom.
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But SkyDrive under Windows 8 will offer more than just online photo and document viewing.
Using SkyDrive as your cloud storage, you'll also be able to save and synchronize certain applications and Windows settings across multiple PCs, according to Microsoft, ensuring a similar environment no matter which PC you use. And at its Build conference yesterday, Microsoft attempted to show how files could be synced between PCs and Windows Phone 7 devices via SkyDrive, though, the demo didn't quite work as expected.
The next version of SkyDrive will reportedly offer an unlimited amount of space to store photos and Office documents but will still restrict users to 25 gigabytes for other types of files, according to tech news site LiveSide.
Beyond SkyDrive, Windows 8 will include other programs in the Windows Live basket, including Live Mail, Live Mesh, Live Writer, and Live Messenger.
At the same time that Microsoft is touting integration with its Live services, a recent incident calls into question the reliability of the cloud. The company's Office 365, Hotmail, SkyDrive, and various Windows Live services went down for about three hours last week as the result of a DNS (domain name system) issue.
The video below shows how photos on SkyDrive can be viewed and shared in Windows 8.