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Skydrive logo.svg
SkyDrive screenshot.png
Microsoft SkyDrive, as appears in a web browser
Original author(s)Microsoft
Initial releaseAugust 1, 2007; 5 years ago (2007-08-01)
Stable releaseWave 5 (16.4.8019.827)[1] / August 14, 2012; 6 months ago (2012-08-14)[2]
PlatformWeb browser
Available in94 languages; see Supported languages
TypeFile hosting service
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Skydrive logo.svg
SkyDrive screenshot.png
Microsoft SkyDrive, as appears in a web browser
Original author(s)Microsoft
Initial releaseAugust 1, 2007; 5 years ago (2007-08-01)
Stable releaseWave 5 (16.4.8019.827)[1] / August 14, 2012; 6 months ago (2012-08-14)[2]
PlatformWeb browser
Available in94 languages; see Supported languages
TypeFile hosting service

SkyDrive (officially Microsoft SkyDrive, previously Windows Live SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders) is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local device. It is part of the Windows Live range of online services and allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly shared files do not require a Microsoft account to access.

The service offers 7 GB of free storage for new users. Additional storage is available for purchase.[3] Users who signed up to SkyDrive prior to April 22, 2012 could opt-in for a limited time offer of 25 GB of free storage upgrade. The service is built using HTML5 technologies,[4] and files up to 300 MB can be uploaded via drag and drop into the web browser,[5] or up to 2 GB via the SkyDrive desktop application for Microsoft Windows and OS X.[6]



Windows Live Folders logo.

On its launch, SkyDrive, known as Windows Live Folders at the time (with a codename of SkyDrive), was provided as a limited beta available to a few testers in the United States.[7] On August 1, 2007, the service was expanded to a wider audience. Shortly after, on August 9, 2007 the service was renamed Windows Live SkyDrive and made available to testers in the United Kingdom and India.[8] As of 22 May 2008 (2008-05-22) SkyDrive was available to 62 countries and regions.[9][10] On December 2, 2008, the capacity of an individual SkyDrive account was upgraded from 5 GB to 25 GB, and Microsoft added a separate entry point called Windows Live Photos which allowed users to access their photos and videos stored on SkyDrive. This entry point allowed users to add "People tags" to their photos, download photos into Windows Photo Gallery or as a ZIP file, as well as viewing EXIF metadata such as camera information for the photos uploaded. Microsoft also added full-screen slide show support for photos using Silverlight.

SkyDrive was updated to "Wave 4" release on June 7, 2010, and added support for Office Web Apps, offering versioning support. In this update, due to the discontinuation of Windows Live Toolbar, the ability to synchronise and share bookmarked Web links between users via SkyDrive has also been discontinued. However, users are still able to use Windows Live Mesh to synchronise their favorites between computers, although the "cloud" storage component of the bookmarked Web links is no longer available. This feature replaces the previous Windows Live Favorites service.

In June 2010, users of Office Live Workspace, released in October 2007,[11] were migrated to Windows Live Office. The migration included all existing workspaces, documents, and sharing permissions.[12] The merger of the two services is a result of Microsoft's decision to merge its Office Live team into Windows Live back in January 2009,[13] as well as several deficiencies with Office Live Workspace, which lacked high fidelity document viewing and did not allow files to be edited from within the web browser.[14] Office Live Workspace also did not offer offline collaboration and co-authoring functionality – instead documents were "checked out" and "checked in," though the service did integrate with SharedView for real-time screen sharing.

On June 20, 2011, Microsoft overhauled the user interface for SkyDrive, built using HTML5 technologies. Microsoft also doubled the file size limit from 50 MB to 100 MB per file, as well as adding new features such as caching and hardware acceleration, support for HTML5 videos, Quick views, cleaner arrangement of photos, infinite scrolling. This update also brought together the different entry points for SkyDrive, such as Windows Live Photos and Windows Live Office, into one single interface. Files and folders shared with a user, including those in Windows Live Groups are also accessible in the new interface.[4] On November 29, 2011, Microsoft updated SkyDrive to make sharing and file management easier, as well as HTML5 and other updates. This update also allowed users to see how much storage they had (and how much they had used), a feature that had been removed in the previous update as part of the redesign.[15]

On December 3, 2011, Microsoft released a SkyDrive for iOS app, and a SkyDrive for Windows Phone app, which are available in the App Store and Windows Phone Marketplace respectively. On April 22, 2012, Microsoft released a SkyDrive desktop app for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and OS X users which allows them to synchronize files on SkyDrive, much like Windows Live Mesh, as well as allowing users to "fetch" files on their computer via the web browser. In addition, SkyDrive also provided additional storage available for purchase, and reduced the free storage space for new users to 7 GB (from 25 GB). Existing users were offered a free upgrade offer to retain their 25 GB of free storage. The updated SkyDrive also supports files up to 2 GB in size (uploaded via the SkyDrive desktop app).[6] The update also brought additional features such as Open Document Format (ODF) support, URL shortening services, and direct sharing of files to Twitter.

On August 14, 2012, Microsoft announced a new update for SkyDrive which brought changes and improvements to, SkyDrive for Windows desktop and OS X, and the SkyDrive API as part of Live Connect. For, the updates brought a new "modern" design for the web service consistent with, and along with the UI update the service also received improvements such as instant search, contextual toolbar, multi-select in thumbnail view, drag-and-drop files into folders, and sorting improvements. For the SkyDrive for Windows desktop and OS X applications, the update brought new performance improvements to photo uploads and the sync experience. The update also improved the SkyDrive API with the removal of file type restrictions, ability to upload images in their full resolution, as well as a new SkyDrive file picker for opening and saving files.[16] On August 28, 2012, Microsoft released a SkyDrive app for Android on Google Play store.[17] On September 18, 2012, Microsoft also introduced a recycle bin feature on SkyDrive and announced that SkyDrive will support the creation of online surveys via Excel Web App.[18]


Office Web Apps

Microsoft added Office Web Apps support to SkyDrive in its "Wave 4" update allowing users to upload, create, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents directly within a Web browser. Users can create, view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents within the Web browser. In addition, Office Web Apps on SkyDrive also allow multiple users to simultaneously co-author Excel directly within the web browser, and co-author OneNote documents with another web user or the desktop application. Users can also view the version history of Office documents stored on SkyDrive.[19]

Integration with Microsoft Office

Users of recent versions of Microsoft Office (for Microsoft Windows or OS X) can use the desktop applications to simultaneously edit the same section of documents stored on SkyDrive. Changes are synchronized when users save the document, and where conflicts occur, the saving user is given the selection to choose which version to keep.[20] This is a collaborative real-time editing suite, as multiple users can use combinations of desktop applications and web apps to edit a document.

Format support

SkyDrive supports viewing of Portable Document Format (PDF)[21] as well as Open Document Format (ODF), an XML-based file format supported in a number of word processing apps including Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and Corel's WordPerfect.[22] SkyDrive's search function does not support search within PDF documents, however.

Document embedding

SkyDrive allows users to embed their Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) onto other web pages. These embedded documents allow anyone who visits these web pages to interact with them, such as browsing an embedded PowerPoint slideshow, or perform calculations within an embedded Excel spreadsheet.

Email integration

SkyDrive integrates with which allows users to:

Share on social networks

SkyDrive integrates with social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to enable users to quickly share their files with their contacts on these social networks.[26] SkyDrive maintains an access control list of all users granted permission to view or edit the files, including those users on social networks.[27]

Bing integration

SkyDrive integrates with Bing's Save & Share feature, allowing users to save search histories into a SkyDrive folder.

Windows Live Groups integration

Each group within Windows Live Groups is provided with 5 GB of storage space on SkyDrive to be shared between the group members. Group members are allowed to access, create, modify and delete files within the group's SkyDrive folders, along with the other functionalities that SkyDrive provides.

Location and people tagging

SkyDrive supports geo-location data for photos uploaded onto the service, and will automatically display a map of the tagged location. SkyDrive also allows users to tag people on the photos uploaded onto the service via the web interface or via Windows Photo Gallery.

Photo slideshows

Photos uploaded onto SkyDrive can be played as an automatic slideshow.

Download as .zip file

Entire folders can be downloaded as a single .zip file with SkyDrive. For a single download, there is a limit of 4GB or 65,000 files (whichever comes first).

Recycle bin

When users delete any files on SkyDrive, the service will allow the user to undo the action and restore the deleted file from the recycle bin back to the original folder. Items in the recycle bin do not count against the user's SkyDrive storage limit. All items stored in the recycle bin are kept for a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 30 days. If the content in a user's recycle bin exceeds 10% of the user's storage limit (e.g. 0.7GB for a user with a total of 7GB SkyDrive storage limit), SkyDrive will delete the oldest content from the recycle bin (provided that the files have been in the recycle bin for at least 3 days).[18]

From April 22, 2012 onwards, in addition to 7 GB of free storage (or 25 GB for users eligible for the free upgrade), power users who require more storage can choose one of the three price plans:[28]

Storage planDescription
SkyDrive +20Adds 20 GB to free storage amount
SkyDrive +50Adds 50 GB to free storage amount
SkyDrive +100Adds 100 GB to free storage amount

Depending on the markets, users may need to have a supported credit card or PayPal account to pay.[28] The paid storage plan will be renewed automatically each year unless Microsoft or the user cancels the service. When the user cancels the service before the term ends, the service will remain active until the end of the term.[29] In effect, the user is not cancelling the service, but rather the automatic renewal.

Supported languages

SkyDrive supports 94 languages, including:[30]

  • Afrikaans
  • Albanian
  • Amharic
  • Arabic
  • Armenian
  • Assamese
  • Azerbaijani (Latin)
  • Bangla (Bangladesh)
  • Basque
  • Bengali (India)
  • Bosnian (Latin)
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Croatian
  • Czech
  • Danish
  • Dari
  • Dutch
  • English
  • Estonian
  • Filipino
  • Finnish
  • French
  • Galician
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Gujarati
  • Hausa
  • Hebrew
  • Hindi
  • Hungarian
  • Icelandic
  • Igbo
  • Indonesian
  • Inuktitut (Latin)
  • Irish
  • isiXhosa
  • isiZulu
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Kannada
  • Kazakh
  • Khmer
  • Kiswahili
  • Konkani
  • Korean
  • Kyrgyz
  • Latvian
  • Lithuanian
  • Luxembourgish
  • Macedonian
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Maltese
  • Maori
  • Marathi
  • Mongolian (Cyrillic)
  • Nepali
  • Norwegian (Bokmål)
  • Norwegian (Nynorsk)
  • Oriya
  • Persian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Punjabi (Gurmukhi)
  • Quechua
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Serbian
  • Serbian Cyrillic
  • Sesotho sa Leboa
  • Setswana
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Sinhala
  • Slovak
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Tamil
  • Tatar
  • Telugu
  • Thai
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Turkish
  • Turkmen
  • Ukrainian
  • Urdu
  • Uzbek (Latin)
  • Vietnamese
  • Welsh
  • Yoruba

Client applications

SkyDrive app (Windows 8).png
SkyDrive metro-style app running on Windows 8
Stable release

1.1 [edit]
 (November 15, 2012; 3 months ago (2012-11-15))[17]
2.1 [edit]
 (June 1, 2012; 8 months ago (2012-06-01))[31]
Microsoft Windows
17.0.2003.1112 (desktop app) [edit]
 (November 15, 2012; 3 months ago (2012-11-15))[32]
16.4.4388.928 (Windows 8 app) [edit]  (October 6, 2012; 4 months ago (2012-10-06))[33]
17.0.2003.1112 [edit]
 (October 2, 2012; 4 months ago (2012-10-02))[2]
Windows Phone [edit]
 (January 25, 2013; 37 days ago (2013-01-25))[34][35]
Xbox 360 [edit]  (December 11, 2012; 2 months ago (2012-12-11))[36]

TypeFile manager, file synchronization

Microsoft has released SkyDrive client applications for Android,[17] iOS,[37] Windows 8,[28][38] Windows Phone[37] and Xbox 360 [39] that allow users to browse, view and organize files stored on their SkyDrive cloud storage. In addition, Microsoft also released desktop applications for Microsoft Windows (Vista and later) and OS X (Lion and later)[40] that allow users to synchronize their entire SkyDrive storage with their computers for offline access, and synchronization of files and folders between multiple computers. The SkyDrive desktop client for Microsoft Windows allows users to "fetch" the contents of their PCs via the web browser, provided the user enabled this option; OS X users can fetch from a PC, but not vice versa.

Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system integrates SkyDrive directly in the Office and Photos hub that enable users to view and edit Microsoft Office documents and access photos and videos stored on their SkyDrive.

Microsoft has also launched a SkyDrive API, which developers can use to integrate SkyDrive into their own applications.[41] Microsoft has showcased almost a dozen of such third party apps.[42]

Developer APIs

Microsoft has released a set of APIs for SkyDrive via Live Connect to enable developers to develop web services and client apps utilizing SkyDrive's cloud storage.[43] This allows users of these web services and client apps to browse, view, upload or edit files stored on SkyDrive. Currently a software development kit (SDK) is available for web developers and developers of Windows 8 style apps, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.[44]


Privacy concerns

Data stored on SkyDrive is subject to monitoring by Microsoft, and any content that is in violation of Microsoft's Code of Conduct is subject to removal and may lead to temporary or permanent shutdown of an account. This has led to privacy concerns in relation to data stored on SkyDrive.[45] Microsoft has responded by indicating that "strict internal policies [are] in place to limit access to a user’s data", and that advanced mechanisms, such as Microsoft's automated PhotoDNA scanning tool, are utilized to ensure users abide with the Code of Conduct and that their account does not contain illegal files (including, but not limited to, partial human nudity (including art or drawings), any discussion of purchasing firearms, any online surveys, etc.[46]).[47]

See also


  1. ^ The version number can be obtained by visiting, select "View source" using a supported web browser, and searching for this version number.
  2. ^ a b Jones, Chris (August 14, 2012). "A new modern, updated apps, and at 10 million users". Inside SkyDrive. Microsoft. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "Compare - How does SkyDrive compare to Dropbox, iCloud, and Google?". Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Introducing SkyDrive for the modern web, built using HTML5". Inside Windows Live. Microsoft Corporation. June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  5. ^ Farrington-Smith, Matt (April 23, 2012). "Microsoft updates SkyDrive to include 300MB web uploads, ODF support & more". MSN Tech & Gadgets UK. Microsoft. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Steven, Sinofsky; Shahine, Omar; Torres, Mike (20 February 2012). "Connecting your apps, files, PCs and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8". Building Windows 8. Retrieved 23 February 2012. "Oh, and we will also have support for uploading large files (up to 2 GB) through Explorer, another big request from users over the years."
  7. ^ Thurrott, Paul (June 27, 2007). "Windows Live 2007: A Look at the Next Generation". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Penton Media, Inc.. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  8. ^ "Introducing Windows Live Skydrive!". Windows Live SkyDrive team blog. Microsoft Corporation. August 9, 2007.!977F793E846B3C96!23398.entry. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  9. ^ "Welcome to the bigger, better, faster SkyDrive!". Windows Live SkyDrive team blog. Microsoft Corporation. February 21, 2008.!977F793E846B3C96!23403.entry. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  10. ^ "Hot new updates to SkyDrive!". Windows Live SkyDrive team blog. Microsoft Corporation. May 22, 2008.!977F793E846B3C96!23405.entry. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  11. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (4 March 2008). "First look: Microsoft Office Live Workspaces goes public". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  12. ^ Sengupta, Sam (May 13, 2010). "Your Office Live Workspace is soon upgrading to Windows Live SkyDrive". Office Live Workspace Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  13. ^ "Looking ahead and bringing you even more". Office Live Workspace Team Blog. Microsoft. January 23, 2009. Retrieved January 24, 2009.
  14. ^ Perez, Sarah (March 4, 2008). "Office Live Workspace vs Google Docs: Feature-by-Feature Comparison". ReadWriteWeb. Retrieved February 3, 2011.
  15. ^ Shahine, Omar (29 November 2011). "Inside Windows Live: SkyDrive gets simple app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management, HTML5 upload, other updates". Inside SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  16. ^ "A new modern SkyDrive". Microsoft. August 14, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Microsoft (November 15, 2012). "SkyDrive". Google Play. Google. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  18. ^ a b New SkyDrive recycle bin available today and Excel surveys coming soon Inside SkyDrive. Microsoft. September 18, 2012. Retrieved September 18, 2012
  19. ^ Thurrott, Paul (6 October 2010). "Office 2010 Review, Part 3: Office Web Apps". Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows. Penton Media. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  20. ^ "Work together on a document in Word Web App". Microsoft Office Support. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  21. ^ Shahine, Omar (29 November 2011). "SkyDrive gets simple app-centric sharing for Office, powerful file management, HTML5 upload, other updates". Inside SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  22. ^ Warren, Tom (17 April 2012). "SkyDrive updated to include 300MB browser uploads, short URLs for Windows Phone images, and ODF support". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  23. ^ Store your doc, send a link with Office Docs in Hotmail Microsoft. Retrieved August 28, 2012
  24. ^ a b Download a Word, PowerPoint, or Excel attachment in Hotmail Microsoft. Retrieved August 28, 2012
  25. ^ Office and SkyDrive Outlook Preview. Microsoft. Retrieved August 28, 2012
  26. ^ Volpe, Joseph (18 April 2012). "Microsoft updates SkyDrive with support for ODF, Twitter". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  27. ^ Shahine, Omar (22 December 2011). "Designing app-centric sharing for SkyDrive, part 2 of 2: Rebuilding permissions". Inside SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  28. ^ a b c "Making personal cloud storage for Windows available anywhere, with the new SkyDrive". Building Windows 8. Microsoft. 23 April 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  29. ^ "Storage plans: Common subscription and billing questions". Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  30. ^ "Language Options". Windows Live. Microsoft. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  31. ^ Microsoft (June 1, 2012). "SkyDrive". App Store. Apple. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  32. ^ Torres, Mike (November 15, 2012). "SkyDrive usage has doubled in the last 6 months, now you can select what to sync". Microsoft. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  33. ^ CNET Asia: Windows 8 Release Preview
  34. ^ "SkyDrive". Windows Phone Marketplace. Microsoft. July 19, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  35. ^ Brand, Robert (July 19, 2012). "Windows Phone Official SkyDrive 2.2 Update Rolls out". Mobile Nations. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  36. ^ SkyDrive comes to Xbox 360: Your photos and videos on the TV
  37. ^ a b Torres, Mike (13 December 2011). "Introducing SkyDrive for iPhone and Windows Phone". Inside SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  38. ^ Sinofsky, Steven (20 February 2012). "Connecting your apps, files, PCs and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8". Building Windows 8. Microsoft. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  39. ^ Torres, Mike (11 December 2012). "SkyDrive comes to Xbox 360: Your photos and videos on the TV". Inside SkyDrive. Microsoft. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  40. ^ "Download SkyDrive". Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  41. ^ Obasanjo, Dare (25 April 2012). "SkyDrive APIs – Bring your data to any app, any platform, any device". Inside SkyDrive, Hotmail and Messenger blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  42. ^ "Recommended apps that work with SkyDrive". Microsoft SkyDrive. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  43. ^ Obasanjo, Dare (7 December 2011). "SkyDrive APIs for Docs and Photos—now ready to cloud enable apps on Windows 8, Windows Phone and more". Inside SkyDrive, Hotmail, and Messenger blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  44. ^ "Live Connect Downloads". MSDN. Microsoft. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  45. ^ Surur (19 July 2012). "Watch what you store on SkyDrive–you may lose your Microsoft life". WMPoweruser. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
  46. ^ "Skydrive code of conduct". April 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  47. ^ Holman, Tyler (22 July 2012). "Microsoft responds to SkyDrive privacy concerns". Neowin LLC. Retrieved 25 July 2012.

External links