Can multiple SkyDrive Desktop Apps be used in Windows 8?

SkyDrive has been thoroughly integrated into the fabric of Windows 8. The SkyDrive desktop app brings access to SkyDrive right into File Explorer – Windows Explorer of prior Windows editions. An earlier post, from before Windows 8 was released, shows a method for providing access to multiple SkyDrive accounts (Can I install multiple SkyDrive apps on my desktop?). That method works just fine in Windows 8. This article expands on that and provides some additional information.

Only one instance of the actual SkyDrive desktop app can be installed, however, shortcuts to SkyDrive folders of other users of the PC can be placed on the desktop. The illustration here shows access to three SkyDrive folders simultaneously.

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First a review on setting up the PC.

  • Set up a user on the PC for each SkyDrive, that is for each Microsoft account. Set up the SkyDrive desktop app for each user on their respective desktop. Leave the users signed in at all times.
  • On the primary user’s desktop right-click on an empty spot; click New, then click Shortcut.
  • In the Create Shortcut menu click Browse the navigate to Computer > Users > other user. Click on SkyDrive (in the expanded list for the user).
  • Click OK, then Next. Give the shortcut an appropriate name then click Finish.
  • Repeat for the other users.

You may have to give permission to proceed during these steps.

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All normal tasks can be done in these folders – copy, move, delete, paste – just as in any other folder. The difference is that any changes in these SkyDrive folders will be synced with the SkyDrive in the cloud and the SkyDrive folders on other PCs, smartphones, etc. Of course, you need to be connected to the Internet for synchronization to take place. If you are not connected to the Internet, you can still make any changes like any other folders in File Explorer. When a connection is restored, the syncing will take place in the background.

imageLimitations:

There are some limitations with this arrangement. You can see the sync status symbols only on the local SkyDrive folder (the check mark indicates that the item is up to date). There is no indication that another user is signed out and thus the changes will not be synchronized.

imageYou cannot make changes to which folders should be included in the local SkyDrive folder. Such changes have to be made on the respective user’s desktop.

You cannot initiate sharing in the folders for the other users, you can do this only in the primary SkyDrive folder.

When rebooting the PC you need to sign in each user.

These are relatively minor inconveniences compared to the ability to easily access several SkyDrive folders on the same desktop.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

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How do I make a new SkyDrive photo album?

There are a number of ways of making a new photo album or folder in SkyDrive. Here are several of the procedures.

Create new folder in SkyDrive

imageWhen you are in your SkyDrive online, that is, viewing it in a browser,  there is a “New folder” link above the main pane. Click it to make a new folder or album. Instantly a new folder tile will be added in the main pane. The folder name will be highlighted indicating that you can just type the folder name. Type the name you want to assign to the folder or album.

imageThis folder will initially be set to Folder type Documents. You can see that when you expand the Information section in the pane on the right. There will be a Change link there. You can change it to Photos, or you can just leave it as is. When a photo is uploaded to the folder it will change to Folder type Photos by itself.

Create a new SkyDrive photo album from Live Photo Gallery

Sometimes the easiest way to add a new SkyDrive photo album is to do it as you upload photos from Live Photo Gallery. In Photo Gallery sign in to your Microsoft account (upper right). Then select the photos you wish to upload to a new SkyDrive photo album. Click SkyDrive in the Share section of the ribbon. A dialog pops up with the first option being the defining of a new SkyDrive photo album. Type in the name you wish to assign to the album and click Publish. Note the Publish button is not enabled until an album name has been typed. The SkyDrive photo album will be created and the selected photos will be uploaded to the album.

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Creating a SkyDrive photo folder in the desktop app

If you have the SkyDrive desktop app installed you can create a new folder for photos just the way you would create any other new album using Windows Explorer. Open Windows Explorer, click SkyDrive in the left navigation pane. Then click New Folder.

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Using the SkyDrive desktop app allows you to create the new folder anywhere in the folder hierarchy in your SkyDrive. Keep in mind that you cannot upload from Photo Gallery into any sub-folders.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck

With the SkyDrive app do I have access to my files when off-line?

With the SkyDrive app installed on your computer you have access to everything that is in SkyDrive even when you are not connected to the Internet. imageYou can add or remove files and folders.

Without being connected to the Internet, of course, any changes in the SkyDrive folder cannot be synchronized. When you do establish an Internet connection, the online imageSkyDrive will be automatically updated with the local SkyDrive folder.

The desktop SkyDrive shortcut opens your local folder. You can manage the folders and files just like any other folder. This is the easiest way to add folders and their contents to SkyDrive complete with any sub-folders.image

If you drag a file or folder to the SkyDrive desktop icon it will be placed into the SkyDrive root, just as you would expect.

imageIf you do not have the SkyDrive app, sign in to your Microsoft account, click  SkyDrive in the top menu bar. In the navigation pane on the left click “Get SkyDrive apps” at the bottom of the listings. Step through the download and installation process.

SkyDrive access works best when you stay connected. Next time you sign in, check “Keep me signed in”.

.:.

© 2012 Ludwig Keck