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Clearing Up Microsoft SkyDrive Pro Confusion

Jonathan Hassell | April 12, 2013
Microsoft SkyDrive Pro gives storage space to individual users in an organization with SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise. It's conceptually similar to, but not the same as, the free consumer SkyDrive cloud storage service. Here's what else you need to know about Microsoft's SkyDrive services.

There is a SkyDrive Pro client application, but at this point it's available only as part of the Office 2013 suite. If you don't have an Office 2013 license, you're forced to use SkyDrive Pro through the browser just like most of your interactions with other parts of the SharePoint product.

The SkyDrive Pro client application behaves like the old SharePoint Workspace client application. It synchronizes the online content with an offline cache so you can still access files, documents and other objects from the site just like you were online, even if you are stuck without a connection somewhere.

Finally, as of this writing SkyDrive Pro works only for Windows and Web browsers. There are no native client applications for other operating systems.

It's also worth noting that SkyDrive Pro is definitely not a free-for-all when it comes to data storage. Microsoft has imposed the following limitations:

In your SkyDrive Pro library, you can synchronize up to 20,000 items, including folders and files.

No single file can be greater than 250 MB in size.

You can download files up to 2 GB from your library.

If you're running Office 2013 and feel like you need to wait to explain SkyDrive Pro to users, you can remove the hooks within Windows Explorer that expose the space. Just issue the following command at the elevated administrative command prompt:

regsvr32 /u "%programfiles%\Microsoft Office\Office15\GROOVEEX.DLL"

SkyDrive: The Completely Different Service of Nearly the Same Name

SkyDrive--referred to hereafter as SkyDrive Free to prevent confusion--is a consumer service provided by Microsoft that works a lot like Dropbox. It provides up to 7 GB of free cloud storage where users can upload files that are then accessible from either a Web browser or any Internet connected device where the appropriate client side extensions are installed. (Consumers can part with some money for even more space above what's allowed on the free tier.)

These client extensions are available for the Windows desktop, through the Windows Store (for Windows 8 and Windows RT devices), for the Windows Phone and on iOS, Android and Mac OS devices. If you or your users use the OneNote note-taking application that's included with most versions of Microsoft Office, the synchronization of notebooks and data that's possible within the application is made possible by data being stored in a user's SkyDrive Free space.

To make things even more confusing, an extra 20 GB of SkyDrive Free storage space is granted to users who subscribe to Office 365 Home Premium plans. Office 365 Home Premium, despite being an Office 365 product/service, has nothing to do with SkyDrive Pro. This extra SkyDrive Free space is not granted to any other Office 365 subscription plan--and there's currently no way to increase the SkyDrive Pro space on Office 365 beyond the 7 GB quota.


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