Get the Most out of your SkyDrive

So I have mentioned it before that if you have an MS Account you automatically have a SkyDrive available to you.  Some of us early adopters (anyone remember MS Passport?) have a bit more, but the 7Gb they provide now is pretty useful for documents and some photo sharing. I see that if one gets on the Office 365 subscription that they too get some more SkyDrive space allotted to them.

I just thought I would share some ways I use the SkyDrive. I won’t get too much into structure as it is similar to Windows Explorer where you can have Folders and folders inside of folders.  You can share folders with people in your People hub (private for those you invite), you can post links on Facebook (Makes the folder Public) or you can grab a link to a folder (Public but only those you give the link to can find it).

What to do with the SkyDrive?

Windows 8 Phone

Right off Windows 8 phones can be set to automatically save pictures to your SkyDrive.  By default this is a folder called SkyDrive Camera Roll.  With the Nokia 1020 these are the small version (for sharing) of the photos.  Snap images with your phone; now any desktop/tablet that you sign into with your MS Account you have access to those photos.

Windows 8 Phones come with Microsoft OneNote pre-loaded.  In OneNote you create notebooks/pages that can hold all kinds of useful information. Notebooks can be shared.  I store info about our Vehicles, I have a Shopping List and I have a journal for my job search.  I share my Notebook with my darling wife; when she is in the Grocery Store she can view the shopping list on her Windows Phone and pick up (and check off) the things we need.

Family Room (Windows 8 Phone)

Also with Windows Phone 8, separate your allotted SkyDrive space, is another little chunk of SkyDrive space called “Family Room”.  On your Windows Phone 8 from your People Hub you add family/friends to the room and they will have access to that “Room”.  In the family room you have a Calendar, Notes and you can fire off a chat session from the room.

I mention the “Family room” so you can avoid multiple calendars/notes when setting your structure up.  You don’t need to share your MS Account calendar with the family because the “Family room” has a calendar.  Just saying to come up with a structure before creating shares from your MS account SkyDrive.  Family Room “Notes” is really a OneNote Page where you jot down to-do lists and likes.

If you have not installed the MS OneNote app (free), from the Microsoft Store, on your Surface or Desktop(s); it would be a good idea if you want to manage notebooks and “family room” notes a little easier.  When you log in with your MS account the OneNote app is aware of the SkyDrive notebooks you may have. Below is the OneNote app on my Surface.  I can manage all my notebooks from here.

Note: When on my Windows Phone from the People Hub under “Family Room”, pages like Groceries and To-Do are headings and links to the actual data on those pages. You will not see Sections on the Windows Phone.

OneNote Application on My MS Surface

Again “Family Room” is part of the Windows Phone thing and automatically created when you sign into your Windows 8 phone (MS Account) for the first time.  With the OneNote app on your Surface/Desktop you can create different Notebooks in your SkyDrive (I suggest one with different Sections and Pages unless you are sharing the Notebook). Ok, so we see I share lots of cool stuff across all my devices with just Notebooks; What else might I do with my SkyDrive.


I don’t always read but when I do it might be a technical manual Smile .  I purchase my books through B&N so I have the Nook app on my Surface/Desktops.  I also have manuals that are in .PDF format as well.  So out in my SkyDrive I created a (private) folder called TechPubs.  I load that folder up with my PDF books.  On my Surface/Desktops I will use the Nook app > Import to bring those SkyDrive PDFs into the app so I have the book anywhere I may be.  The Nook App let’s me bookmark pages.  Windows Phone 8 does not have a Nook app but it does have the Reader app, so even if I don’t have my Surface with me I can view the PDFs on my phone, anywhere.

Staging Area

Some times I get lazy, well more often then not.  I will use a temporary folder to get files from point A to point B.  No thumb drive, disk or fussing with home network shares.  Save a file to the SkyDrive and then (on a pc that I am not logged into my MS Account) download it from my SkyDrive using


I have a lot of private shares (folders and individual files) that I share with different people for example I had a share that I would place files for coworkers, another for the in-laws etc.  Sharing is actually pretty easy.  The easiest, most efficient way to share SkyDrive folders is to do so from  Signed in to your MS Account; select the folder you want to share.  Select Sharing from the toolbar that appears at the top of the page and pick your poison.

  • Send Email will keep it private (between you and the recipient(s)).  Person must be logged in as the person you sent the link to in order to access the share.
  • Post to Facebook/Twitter/Linked in will make it Public.
  • Get a link; is Public but people need to have a link to get to your Share.  A person with the link could pass it out or post it on a site and the Share would truly become public (be careful)
Sharing a SkyDrive folder or file from

Another (hopefully temporary) thing I am doing with my SkyDrive, as I am still seeking employment, I have a folder for my job search.  In PDF format I have resumes, training certificates, awards etc in the folder.  So at any point I could produce that information for prospective employers using my Surface or Windows Phone.  With my Windows Phone I could NFC any of documents if someone requested them.

Ways to get to your SkyDrive 

There are many ways to access your SkyDrive.  The Obvious being the SkyDrive (metro) app that is available on the Start Screen.  The app is really a quick way to get to the files on the SkyDrive.  The method is better for managing your SkyDrive.

SkyDrive app (metro)

Other ways to get to your SkyDrive:

  • Browse to and log in with your MS Account.  Click the down arrow to the right of Outlook and choose SkyDrive.  This is useful when on a friends computer or a computer at work Smile.  This method of accessing the SkyDrive will make the most sense when it comes to sharing and manipulating the files or folders.
SDOLW SkyDrive
  • Windows Photo App (metro) . The Photos app is probably the best way to manipulate Images on your SkyDrive.  Only images are displayed and it is a nice clean interface.  You see what is Stored in the SkyDrive alone or what is on SkyDrive and a device in your home infrastructure.  Right click images to select them and a toolbar will slide up from the bottom of the screen allowing you to interact with the selected images.
Browse to SkyDrive in Windows Photo app
  • Windows Explorer.  Open Windows Explorer and in the Quick Launch column you will see SkyDrive.  Open (2) windows explorer instances and you can drag and drop between local folders and your SkyDrive.  Quick, Easy and something we all are familiar with.
Access the SkyDrive via Windows Explorer

There you go just a few things you can do with that free space that comes with your MS Account.  If you leverage all your Windows devices and SkyDrive together, there really isn’t anything you can’t do quickly.


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