This weekend I was looking for a way to post some video tutorials to the Web that could be shared with others. Each video tutorial ranged in size from 420 kb all the way up to 100 mb. I wanted to store these videos in separate folders and give access to other users, as well as to myself. This way I would be able to download them from wherever I (or we) may be. I thought I would try out the new SkyDrive from Microsoft's Windows Live site. I found it quite useful. First, the site does require a Microsoft login, which is easy enough if you already have a Hotmail account. By the way, Hotmail is now known as Windows Live Mail.
Once you get into the site, you will see that a typical Live account now has several features. These include access to your e-mail (Hotmail), OneCare (a pay security suite of services that Microsoft will sell you); Spaces, which is a free way to store photos, share events/invitations and create your own Blog. One very important part of "Spaces" is the new SkyDrive. Assuming you and your friends already have a Hotmail account, or that you already communicate through Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger), you can easily share entire folders of pictures, documents, music, etc. through SkyDrive. Up to 5 gb of file storage online is nothing to sneeze at. I found it very useful.
Basically you have three choices for folders: Share your folder(s) with other users, make them Private, or make them Public. Public folders can be viewed by anyone on the Internet or just selected people you know. Files can be as large as 100 mb individually or 5 gb total. If you have a large number of files in a particular folder to store, and storage is all you want, right-click on that large folder on your computer, then choose Send To>>Compressed Zipped Folder. This useful tip creates a compressed Zip File with the entire contents of the folder inside. Then, upload that Zip file to SkyDrive. It's a great way to back up a large folder as one single file. However, if you prefer, you can just upload as many as 5 files at one time using the Upload feature of SkyDrive. You get a bouncy animated beach ball to play with while you wait for your files to upload. No, I'm not kidding.
SkyDrive is both a great option for online storage, and also a way to share your files & folders with others. It works along the same lines as Microsoft's wonderful FolderShare service, which many people have not even heard of yet. Try SkyDrive, and if you find that it does not have the power that you need, move on to FolderShare. I will be taking about that in a future blog post, so stay tuned.