SkyDrive and Windows 8: A Match Made In Limbo

SkyDrive and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship for several years.

My very first cloud syncing app was Windows Live Mesh back in aught-something. It was great. Install the app, point it at directories and bam.

Then Microsoft introduced SkyDrive. You installed an app, pointed it at directories and bam.

But they weren’t the same. Two apps, two cloud syncing options from the same company and conflicting reports about what was going to happen to them.

Then came DropBox. With DropBox you install an app… OK, you get it. They pretty much all do the same thing.

Now I have an embarrassment of syncing options: DropBox, SkyDrive, Amazon, Google, heck I suspect Burger King may offer me cloud storage if I buy a Whopper.

Each of these options has its ups and downs.

The one awesome artifact of having bought a Windows Phone 7 early on was that I was grandfathered in and kept my 25 GB of SkyDrive storage. It is also awesome that you can get yourself 20GB for about $10/year.

That is a pretty big incentive to use SkyDrive since it gives me enough room to sync up my older photos.

Now that I’m using Windows 8 as my primary OS at home AND I’m logging in to said OS via my Microsoft account (Live.com account actually, but the twitch engendered by that chain of name changes is not the focus of this post), it seemed like a slam-dunk to use SkyDrive.

By now I’m in the groove with Windows 8. Hit the Windows Key and start typing. “SkyDrive”. Bam.




Wait, I have two choices: SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro 2013. Which one should I choose?

Batch file, please! I’m a Pro all the way.

At the first dialog I began to have my doubts.

OK, off to Google.

Two seconds later I’m reading that SkyDrive Pro is a “cousin” of SkyDrive that is designed for businesses and based on SharePoint. I’m assuming it rode along with Office 2013.

Batch file, please forgive me for the disrespect I formerly showed you. I was wrong. This is not the droid I’m looking for.

That little twitch should be telling me something.

Now, start over, but this time pick SkyDrive.

Super! I’m automatically logged in and seeing my files and photos of Christmases Past in all their Windowless Windows Modern Metro Store UI App glory.

That is SO easy! Windows 8 FOR THEWIN. Hot smile

Now I just need to set up my directories to sync, and Bob will apparently be my uncle.

Hmm. Nothing on the screen. Metro Powers, ACTIVATE! Form of RIGHT CLICK!

Nope. Nothing here about syncing folders.

Windows 8 Learned Behavior #3: Charms Bar. FYI: that does not imply I’ll be drinking with a Leprechaun. No, instead I’m giving the high-sign to get to the super-secret, hidden settings menu.

“Cut to the chase, man!”

OK, not only is it not there, IT ISN’T ANYWHERE.

Whaaaaat?

It is more than a little messed up that I had to go back to Google and hit a couple of sites before I found this: Windows 8 Tip: Use SkyDrive to Sync Your Documents and Pictures by Paul Thurrott over at his excellent Supersite For Windows.

The crux is that the SkyDrive app that comes with Windows 8 is only HALF the story. You still need to go download the quaint, old-fashioned, antediluvian desktop app. OMG! Even in this Modern Metro Windows Store UI world of tomorrow, I still need the unsightly Windows application, not just the Space Age Polymer Based app?




Yes, I am exaggerating for comic relief. My HMO says laughter is the best medicine.

To be serious for a moment (even at the risk of damaging everyone’s health), the problem here is that the Windows 8 Style (whatever they are calling them now) app not only didn’t do the job, it didn’t point me to it’s big brother that would. For that matter, why aren’t both halves installed by default with Windows 8?

This is a far more disjointed experience than I expected.

Yes, I suspect it will work great and be super beneficial, but just damn. It could have been a much, much smoother experience.

If I didn’t have a fair amount of experience with SkyDrive, would I have figured it out? If so, how long would it have taken?

This is one experience Microsoft needs to fix ASAP. It is low hanging fruit. One intern with one pizza could fix this.