Live Sync 2011: Improved! With Less Storage!

By Kip Kniskern | In News | Posted June 3, 2010 28 comments

In another variation on the confusing naming theme that has become a trademark of Windows Live, Windows Live Wave 4 (or Windows Live 2011, if you prefer) introduces a newly revamped Live Mesh, which is replacing the current Live Sync (which itself was an updated FolderShare, a ByteTaxi product Microsoft bought in 2005).  Live Sync 2011 is functionally quite similar to Live Mesh, minus the mobile component that never got out of limited beta.  It features much improved peer-to-peer sync of your computers, a remote desktop function, and SkyDrive sync with some built-in sync capabilities for Office and Internet Explorer settings.

For those of us who have been using Live Mesh since it came out in 2008, the 2gb limit imposed on SkyDrive sync for Live Sync 2011 is certainly disappointing.  Here is a chart from windowslivepreview that compares “regular” SkyDrive storage to Live Sync storage:


Live Sync still provides seamless sync between computers, and some limited storage for your most important or most-used documents (remembering that Office Web Apps provides versioning to keep you working with the latest version of your Office documents anyway).  We’ll have more on Live Sync hopefully very soon.

Posted June 3rd, 2010 at 7:39 pm
Category: News
Tags: Live Mesh, Sync, Wave 4
  • Stefano Bellisario
    • Kip Kniskern –

      Not sure what’s going on: the Windows Team blog is down as well – conspiracy theories: go!

      • Asrialys

        It’s still June 3rd! We can still hope :P

        EDIT: Oh wait, all those links work fine now…

  • JohnCz

    With “Sync” online storage being isolated from the rest of SkyDrive, ex. can’t edit a file using Office Web Apps, I wonder if there will be a way to move files to/from “Sync” and “Office” storage areas.

    • JohnCz

      One thing they could do, detect Office Web App compatible documents in the “Sync” online folder, add contextual Edit option and when invoked by user it would in turn offer to copy that document to the “Office” online folder for editing. Why it can’t edit documents directly I’m not would be interesting to get a bit of a explanation on this. My gut tells me that Office/Photos is based on SharePoint document storage and Live Sync is based on Live Mesh storage…and those two things are not integrated “yet”.

    • Kip Kniskern –

      Apparently you can’t move to/from the Sync folder, no, at least that’s our info at this point.

  • anom

    Today it is supposed to be lauched the Wave 4 web services (hotmail, skydrive, etc), aint it??

    • JohnCz

      That rumor was never confirmed. I highly doubt it was some magic “flip the switch” date and everyone would be seeing these updates today.

  • pojebany fico

    I neeeed more space.
    5 GB on mesh, 2 GB on live sync?

    what if i want sync xp computer and win7 computer?
    wave 4 not workin on xp.

    • Kip Kniskern –

      Yes, you can sync between your Mac and a Windows 7 or Vista PC, but not to a PC running XP, go figure

      • RobertSOakes

        They’re trying to get people to upgrade. And after 10 years, I can understand why. It’s still going to piss a lot of people off, though. I’m personally more upset about the isolation of Sync storage. If they’re going to use “SkyDrive” to store the files, why not allow me to edit them with the online Office? The whole idea should be to actually integrate services, not just make them appear integrated on paper.

  • RobertSOakes

    Congrats to Redmond. They just convinced me not to upgrade from Live Mesh. Final versions are supposed to be superior to betas. Sorry, but this isn’t superior. The 2 GB limit is just stupid. And why would they isolate the SkyDrive storage from the Sync storage. That requires more work and results in an inferior product.

    Do they not trust the security around SkyDrive? Are private folders really not private or secure? That’s the only reason I can possibly think of which would justify such inane foolishness.

    If I could have used Sync to keep my files up to date between machines and had the possibility of editing them in the cloud, that would have been killer. It would have devastated Google docs. And every last one of the pieces is present, they’re even using SkyDrive for storage. So why on Earth would they gimp it?

    Stupid, stupid, stupid!

    • JohnCz

      I doubt it is security related…I assume we can upload a file to Office folder just a easily. How does that differ than a file that has been sync’d up to a online Sync folder. This requires clarification/response from Microsoft but I suspect they didn’t have time to fully integrate Live Mesh storage/sync technologies in this release. I am somewhat sympathetic about the complexity but not allowing users to move files between SkyDrive and the isolated Sync folder(s) is just plain weird.

      • bruceberls

        The split between Sync and Office Docs is a huge missed opportunity. Merging them would have brought Office Web Apps and the cloud to a whole new level. The split makes Live Sync a niche product that frankly I wouldn’t recommend over Dropbox, which has so far worked better and been less confusing for my clients than Mesh. (I wonder if Live Sync will improve on the remote control features in Mesh, which so far have been slow and buggy.)

        • Ruben

          The world wide push for Windows Live Essential will give a lot of new users the opportunity to sync their “My Documents” folders with the click of a button. Most such folders are +2GB. It will be expensive if millions of users use their 5GB quota. Not a big problem for Mesh given their limited userbase.

          The strategy is:
          Give big storage for services that’s hard to fill. Sounds impressive and cost little, as the average user never use more than a fraction of the available space. (Like SkyDrive)

          Give small storage for services that’s easy to fill. Would result in a lot of the space given to actually be used, dramatically increasing costs.

          It’s the same for the MS BPOS (Business Productivity Suite). 25GB exchange email accounts, but only 250MB SharePoint accounts (Same price). I mean, which average user get 25GB worth of mail for the next decade!


  • jntowers

    so, basically, it’s the current windows live sync with a little bit of cloud space for emergency backup, but that cloud space is not tied to skydrive… :(

    was really looking forward to sync being fully integrated with skydrive

  • AcousticMT

    I love the direction MS is heading, but if Wave 4 doesn’t provide me with a way to sync my Live Calendar to my Windows Mobile device (like it already does with mail and contacts) then I will be beyond disappointed.

  • John Misczak

    Any chance people from the Live Mesh beta get their 5 GB grandfathered in?

    Also, the fact that it ties into Skydrive yet can only use 2 GB instead of the 25 GB on Skydrive is pretty stupid. You’re not going to get anybody to switch off Dropbox at this rate, especially since it’s also available on Mac OS X, Linux, iPhone and Android.

    • Michał Jakubowski

      Also for Windows Mobile but via paid third party app.

  • bernard

    I, too, am disappointed like everyone else that they decreased the limit of online Mesh/Sync storage to 2 gigs, but I’m also curious to see if they fixed some of the issues Mesh users have been having, and whether they incorporated some of the feature requests, like:
    * Deltasync
    * Ability to exclude folders/files/extensions
    * Better batch conflict resolution
    * Better progress status
    * Ability to “force” sync

  • cepowell

    I think of the 2 GB limit in SkyDrive Sync this way:

    Live Sync will sync unlimited GB between two computers while both are on-line. (Photos and music for examples.) There’s no intermediate storage such as the Live Desktop, so there’s no limit computer-to-computer.

    SkyDrive Sync (Mesh) will sync a limited amount of data without requiring both computers to be on-line simultaneously. That’s because the Live Desktop (SkyDrive Sync) is always on-line to be the staging go-between. If the synchronization can wait until I have both computers on-line simultaneously, I use the unlimited Live Sync. But if I require a reliable and right-now sync to stage the data to the SkyDrive Sync (Live Desktop), then I use SkyDrive Sync (Mesh). Only a few active and critical files require that kind of flexibility.

    While SkyDrive Sync is about synchronization, SkyDrive folders are about sharing and 50 GB is a lot of shared data for me. Only if the data must be accessed or shared from the browser (Live Photos, some files) does it need to be in SkyDrive. A few critical off-site backups can go there, but neither SkyDrive or SkyDrive Sync (Mesh) are backup / restore facilities.

    I think of it this way: if the data needs to be accessible or shared from the browser and needs to be only in:
    * one location, use Skydrive
    * two locations, use Live Sync
    * three locations, use Skydrive Sync (former Mesh with Live Desktop)

    SkyDrive sync (Mesh) is not a backup facility. If accidentally deleted from SkyDrive Synch (Mesh) it’s deleted from the synced folders. During an accident, it would be difficult to shut off the sync before it’s deleted from the synced folders. It’s not a backup because there’s not a “restore.”

    I try to keep in mind (but usually forget) that any file on my powered-up and on-line computer is remotely accessible through the browser with Live Sync (I hope it will be with Sync 2011.) Therefore, it doesn’t need to be taking up space in SkyDrive to be remotely accessible.

    So, for now, the 2 GB limit on SkyDrive Sync shouldn’t be a problem for me. These options make for flexibility and gosh this is confusing, but i think using SkyDrive Sync instead of the Live Desktop concept will be less confusing.

  • jtmat

    As with some posts I’ve seen here, the real points were missed:

    – Increased max files per folder to 100,000.
    – Increased max sync folders from 20 to 200.
    – Increased max file size that can be synchronized between PCs from 4 GB to 40 GB.
    – Auto-folder mapping – If you have many PCs, Sync can — in one step — start synchronizing your favorite folders across all of your PCs.

    Those points above are HUGE for me. They reduced my online storage to 2 gb from 5 gb, no biggie. I can’t see a time when I’ll store 5 gb of office documents online… I don’t think I have 2 gb of office documents.

    I am baffled that I can’t sync with the docs folder. Seems like they did not try hard enough to combine mesh and skydrive. In all fairness, I’m sure it is a pain in the rear to combine all these different techs.

    Personally, I like what they have done.

    I would have liked for Kip’s post to explain some of my points above or even be a bit more positive, but oh well…

    – Files and folders = MASSIVE increases
    – Application sync

    – Reduced online sync from 5 to 2 gb
    – Can’t sync with online docs


    A win! Some Mesh users will be unhappy, but the masses will be okay. Their storage is inline with industry standards. Hopefully they will quickly allow sync to work with docs and maybe open up more GB in skydrive.

    • Jason Dunn

      You raise some good points jmat – in fact, the one thing I really wanted to see was an increase in the number of files per folder past 20,000. Now that it’s 100,000, well, that’s just AWESOME. I’ll no longer need to have my photo folder split up into two. The 4GB file limit being raised to 40GB is also great. I think Live Sync is the most misunderstood, underrated Live application there is. Microsoft has a KILLER product in Live Sync, but it’s like no one understands how to promote it properly.

      I don’t use Skydrive very often, or Mesh, but I understand how disappointing it is that Microsoft didn’t do a better job of integrating these services – I was expecting Skydrive to integrate fully into Live Sync, and you’d have 25 GB of cloud storage to use however you wish. Maybe next version… :-)

  • Siege

    By calling it all Sync this MAY BE a way for them to tie Windows Phone 7 and maybe MyPhone into the service, which I think would be great.

  • Guest

    It’s clear MS don’t have enough to store to actually let us all use 25GB and that number is based on the fact most don’t store that much.

    I use:, which lets you copy files to SkyDrive using Windows Explorer. It doesn’t have the 2GB limit and even lets you copy files of any size to SkyDrive (if you install the paid version). It does this by cleverly and seamlessly splitting files larger than 50MB.

  • Guest

    I wonder how Live Sync can copy files up to 2GB, when SkyDrive has a 50MB limit.

    Is the Remote Access feature of Windows Live Sync Wave 3 still present? It allows you to access your files/folder from a web browser. Provided the host PC is turned on and Live Sync is running.

    This isn’t the same as Remote Desktop but instead just lets you access the files.

    I’m not sure I like Live Sync Wave 4. Live Sync Wave 3 is nice because it uses minimal memory. Whereas Live Mesh used 20Mb+

  • GameClouds

    I think Microsoft’s cloud storage strategy is a work in progress and not going to be resolved elegantly anytime soon. I’ve been working around Microsoft’s drawbacks for ages now using a service called SMEStorage. I’m using their Lifetime Cloud Service which lets me aggregate up to 10 cloud storage accounts in one virtual file tree. I have 10 SkyDrive accounts giving me access to up to 250GB of storage ! The service also uses file splitting to get around the 50MB file limit. Best of all I can also access my files on iPhone or Blackberry when on the move. If Microsoft has got their act together they would offer something like this.