In Windows 8.1, you don't need to install a desktop client for SkyDrive, nor any app from the Store, like you do in Windows 8. SkyDrive is now part of the operating system and sits at the center of your computing experience. What does this mean and what are the consequences of this strong integration? Let's find out in this overview:
SkyDrive & Its Strong Integration with Windows 8.1
The strong integration between Windows 8.1 and SkyDrive is evident since the installation stage. During the personalization process, you are informed that "SkyDrive is your cloud storage". You are not asked if you want to use it or not. It's there and the only thing you can do is turn off SkyDrive's default settings. You cannot turn off the product itself.
SkyDrive will remain inside Windows 8.1, regardless of your choice to turn On or Off its default settings, and you will encounter this product in many places:
First of all, you will see the SkyDrive tile on the Start screen. If you don't want to use it, you can hide it.
Then, you will see the SkyDrive section in File Explorer. You cannot hide this section. If you don't want to see it or use it, your only choice is to use a local account instead of a Microsoft account. The differences between these two account types are explained here: Should You Use a Local Account or a Microsoft Account?.
If you go to your user folder ("C:\Users\Your User Name"), you will see SkyDrive as one of the default user folders.
However, local user accounts don't have SkyDrive in their list of default user folders.
Last but not least, you will see SkyDrive having its own section in PC Settings, where you can configure the way it works.
SkyDrive Cannot Be Removed from Windows 8.1
Another important aspect is that, unlike other Microsoft products included in Windows 8.1 (e.g. Internet Explorer 11), SkyDrive cannot be uninstalled. The SkyDrive app is the only one without an uninstall option. Like it or not, the SkyDrive folder will always be found in your user profile and the SkyDrive app and its synchronization service will always be present in Windows 8.1, even if they are not used.
SkyDrive's Default Settings in Windows 8.1
I mentioned earlier that Windows 8.1 only allows you to turn off the default settings for SkyDrive. But which are these default settings? Let's cover them one by one:
- Any new documents you create in Word, WordPad or any other document editing software, will be saved to the Documents sub-folder in SkyDrive. This is an important difference compared to earlier versions of Windows. Windows 7 and Windows 8 save your documents, by default, in your Documents library. If you don’t like this setting, you can disable it though and restore the behavior from Windows 7 and Windows 8.
- All the photos found in your Camera Roll folder are automatically uploaded to SkyDrive. This folder is found in your Pictures library and it is where the Camera app stores your files.
- Your Windows 8.1 settings are automatically synchronized and backed up using SkyDrive.
- SkyDrive will upload and download files and synchronization data over metered connections.
What Do You Think of SkyDrive's Integration with Windows 8.1?
Personally, I love the SkyDrive service and I use it as my main service for synchronizing files and setting. But, its deep integration with Windows 8.1 worries me a bit. It seems like Microsoft is trying to force users into using it, which might generate problems.
After reading this article, what is your opinion on this subject? Do you think there's too much SkyDrive inside Windows 8.1 or you are OK with this deep integration into the operating system.