Deep integration of SkyDrive in Windows 8.1

Before the public release of Windows 8.1 , Microsoft had provided a sneak peek of some of the features of Windows 8.1 Preview in the  ‘First look at Windows 8.1’ video. In this video itself, it was indicated that the Windows 8.1 is powered by the cloud and an important part of this is SkyDrive. And indeed SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 is integrated much more deeply with Windows. And this deeper integration can be noticed right from the Windows 8.1 installation itself, when it asks if you want to use SkyDrive as default storage (mobile grab of the screen during installation).


SkyDrive in Windows 8.1

You can’t uninstall the SkyDrive app. The app comes with Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 and can’t be uninstalled. You can browse your SkyDrive using the SkyDrive app or File Explorer in the desktop. Well, you can also browse your local files using the SkyDrive app, by the way! In File Explorer, your SkyDrive appears in the left pane. You can expand it to view your folders on SkyDrive. The SkyDrive desktop app has been replaced by new features that are built into Windows.

When you sign in to a PC with your Microsoft account, you’ll be automatically signed in to SkyDrive with that account. To access SkyDrive files from different account, you have to go to

Now SkyDrive has an option in PC Settings. (Charms >Settings>Change PC Settings)


View & buy SkyDrive Storage Space –

From SkyDrive settings you can see the Storage space on SkyDrive, how much is available and used. And you can access ‘Buy more storage’  from with in Windows itself.


Save document to SkyDrive by default –

The SkyDrive Documents folder is the default save location for documents. In some apps, you can save files directly to SkyDrive as now you can set to save documents to SkyDrive by default. And you have the link there itself to see the files on SkyDrive.


Save your Photos and Videos to Camera Roll Folder –

Your camera roll is automatically backed up to SkyDrive. You have the option not to upload photos. These can be set from ‘Files’ as shown. You can upload photos in good or best quality. Camera Roll folder in Pictures folder.

More settings to Sync –

Now you have many more settings available to Sync. Now you even have Start Screen tiles and layout  that can be synced across all your devices using SkyDrive. You can backup settings that aren’t synced. Colors, background, lock screen, account picture , themes, taskbar and more , all can be Synced now.


Other settings to Sync relates to Browser favorites, open tabs, home page, history and settings. Apart from that passwords, sign-in info for some apps, sites, language preference, mouse pointers and many more settings can be synced. So you always have the comfortable feeling of working on your machine.


Some more points to note are: With Windows 8.1 of SkyDrive, Files on your PC can’t be fetched.  You can’t fetch files that are on a PC running Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8., even if you install the SkyDrive desktop app. You can still go to to fetch files on other PCs that have the SkyDrive desktop app installed. Also the desktop app settings and status info are no longer available from the notification area. If you try to install the desktop app, the desktop app features won’t be reinstalled.

With Windows 8.1, Microsoft has really gone the way to integrate SkyDrive into Windows.

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.


  1. rjbouw

    Well, in the filexplorer desktop skydrive folder you can rightclick a folder and select ‘make available offline’. That takes care of fetching.

  2. Freedom

    Given Microsoft’s tight relationship with the NSA, this is not good news to Windows users. More integration with the SkyDrive cloud equates to less privacy for us. I plan not to use SkyDrive, simply because I don’t trust Microsoft.

  3. vasudev

    But will it be as flexible as earlier? Access and fetch any file on your Windows PC remotely using SkyDrive –

  4. xxcorpxx

    Here’s the problem, it’s great that it is integrated but, if you log in with a domain account and connect your live acct, you can’t see your files and folders. All other settings sync though.

  5. xxcorpxx

    Yes, if you have something to hide from the NSA and they have a reason to be interested in you.
    Otherwise, you’re online, you’re being monitored. To miss out on a great cloud sync feature like Skydrive because of the NSA BS going on right now is conspiracy foil hat nonsense.

  6. eblanche

    Where is the information that explains how to connect to skydrive with another account ? That’s crazy how difficult it is to find it out. When you work in a company, the login is obsiouly not your personal liveID. Then, the default connection with the W8 ID is good only for personal use and not for any professional purpose …

  7. vasudev

    Yes with Windows 8.1, the SkyDrive is deeply integrated and when you sign-in Windows 8 with Microsoft account & thus all services including SkyDrive uses that account. So to sign-in with other account just logout and sign-in to to access it using oth account. Or you open a New Session (in IE, FIle > New session) so that you can simultaneously access. But you can just access your SkyDrive with this 2nd account & no sync activity etc like you do with your main Windows sign-in a/c. Or for the full features, you can create a New user and use oth Microsoft account with it.

    In Windows 7 you had desktop app whcih had the option to unlink with SkyDrive but not in Windows 8

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