Exclusive: Shared lists, folder mounting, and device settings backup management coming to SkyDrive.com

By LiveSide | In Featured, News | Posted July 14, 2013 34 comments

SkyDrive logoOver the past weeks, we have reported that Microsoft is currently planning a whole range of new features and enhancements to their SkyDrive service to make its user experience easier and more useful. We first reported that an immersive panorama viewer is coming to SkyDrive.com (which is now available to the public), and we also exclusively reported that SkyDrive.com is set to get a web-based text file editor, recent activity feeds, as well as an enhanced “All photos” view with folder filters. Today LiveSide has learnt that the SkyDrive team is planning a whole range of other new features – including shared lists, folder mounting, and device settings backup management.

  • Shared lists – The current Shared experience, which currently simply shows you all folders and files that had been specifically shared with you, is set to get an update soon. The problem with the current experience is that it is often hard to find a particular file stored on someone else’s SkyDrive, with users having to dig through a long list of folders shared with you to find that file. Microsoft is expected to partly address this by introducing a concept called “shared lists”. This new feature allow users to select up to 100 files from different locations and bundle them to a customised list, and share this list with others. Of course, this does not replace the current ability to share individual files or folders, but rather serves as an alternative sharing option so that users can find files shared by others easier.

  • Folder mounting – One of the biggest complaint with the current SkyDrive experience is that the desktop sync client (which is now built into Windows 8.1) does not sync any files or folders that are shared with you, meaning offline access to shared content from others’ SkyDrive is almost impossible. LiveSide understands that Microsoft has plans to address this in an upcoming update by allowing users to “mount” other user’s folders to your SkyDrive. By doing this, contents in these folders can sync to your PCs together with your own SkyDrive files. It is currently not known whether contents in these mounted folders will count towards your storage limit, but it is understood that users can remove these mounted folders at any time.

  • SkyDrive - Backed up device settingsDevice settings backup management – We also understand that Microsoft will add a new settings page (link currently not available) to SkyDrive which will allow users to manage their backed up device settings. We’re not sure at this stage exactly which devices are supported, but we know that both Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 supports back up of device settings to SkyDrive. We reported earlier in May that there exists a hidden SkyDrive page that allow users to delete their Windows 8 personal settings from SkyDrive, and this could be an extension to that.

The exact release timeframe for each of these upcoming features is currently unknown, and it is possible that they are not announced/released at the same time. As always, whilst we try to be as accurate as possible, please be mindful that any of these plans or features may change before its final release.

Microsoft’s SkyDrive service had always been criticised for its sub-par sharing and syncing experience compared to its competitors like Dropbox or Google Drive, and whilst some changes had been made to improve that experience, some of the top user requests like syncing shared content have yet to be addressed. With the upcoming new features like folder mounting and shared lists, Microsoft is certainly addressing some of the user requests and making things right. In light of this, what are some of the features you’d like to see in the upcoming versions of SkyDrive? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted July 14th, 2013 at 12:07 am
Category: Featured, News
Tags: SkyDrive, Wave 6
  • Mikkel Hvidberg Løkke

    Drag-and-drop support of folders would be nice. As of now, if you have a folder on your PC that you want to backup to SkyDrive, you have to create a new folder in SkyDrive and drag all your files from Windows Explorer into this folder. It seems such a simple thing, but yet there is no support for it in SkyDrive. It really kind of limits the feeling of SkyDrive being and extension of the Windows Explorer interface.

    • damaster

      I believe drag-and-drop a folder into the browser had been an HTML5 limitation (correct me if I’m wrong). At present it appears only Chrome 21+ supports folder drag-and-drop.
      In the mean time, you can use the SkyDrive desktop client (or built-in to Windows 8.1) and upload entire folders easily.

      • Mikkel Hvidberg Løkke

        It might very well be an HTML5 limitation, I hadn’t thought about that actually. A problem with the client, however, is that it automatically downloads all your SkyDrive content to your PC. For me the clever thing about SkyDrive is that I can store my files there and nowhere else. It would be nice to see a desktop client that is simply a SkyDrive interface built into Explorer (if nothing else then just to enable folder drag-and-drop). So you can view and download your files, but doesn’t have to store them on your PC.

        • damaster

          A slight correction – SkyDrive desktop client supports selective sync now, so not all are downloaded to your PC. You can select which folders to be synced and which ones don’t. http://www.liveside.net/2012/11/15/selective-sync-comes-to-skydrive-update-released-today/

          In addition, in Windows 8.1, which now has SkyDrive sync client built-in, also supports selective sync – but better. By default, SkyDrive only stores a “shell” of the files onto your PC (accessible via app and Explorer), and only downloads the full file once you open them. This addresses your concern perfectly. Of course, you can also selectively make individual files/folders to be available offline (or make everything available offline), in which case the full file will be downloaded and synced automatically.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Whether there is a limitation or not you can upload whole folders to Mega, so maybe Chrome users can do the same thing with SkyDrive.

  • Mikkel Hvidberg Løkke

    Drag-and-drop support of folders would be nice. As of now, if you have a folder on your PC that you want to backup to SkyDrive, you have to create a new folder in SkyDrive and drag all your files from Windows Explorer into this folder. It seems such a simple thing, but yet there is no support for it in SkyDrive. It really kind of limits the feeling of SkyDrive being and extension of the Windows Explorer interface.

    • damaster

      I believe drag-and-drop a folder into the browser had been an HTML5 limitation (correct me if I’m wrong). At present it appears only Chrome 21+ supports folder drag-and-drop.
      In the mean time, you can use the SkyDrive desktop client (or built-in to Windows 8.1) and upload entire folders easily.

      • Mikkel Hvidberg Løkke

        It might very well be an HTML5 limitation, I hadn’t thought about that actually. A problem with the client, however, is that it automatically downloads all your SkyDrive content to your PC. For me the clever thing about SkyDrive is that I can store my files there and nowhere else. It would be nice to see a desktop client that is simply a SkyDrive interface built into Explorer (if nothing else then just to enable folder drag-and-drop). So you can view and download your files, but doesn’t have to store them on your PC.

        • damaster

          A slight correction – SkyDrive desktop client supports selective sync now, so not all are downloaded to your PC. You can select which folders to be synced and which ones don’t. http://www.liveside.net/2012/11/15/selective-sync-comes-to-skydrive-update-released-today/

          In addition, in Windows 8.1, which now has SkyDrive sync client built-in, also supports selective sync – but better. By default, SkyDrive only stores a “shell” of the files onto your PC (accessible via app and Explorer), and only downloads the full file once you open them. This addresses your concern perfectly. Of course, you can also selectively make individual files/folders to be available offline (or make everything available offline), in which case the full file will be downloaded and synced automatically.

      • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

        Whether there is a limitation or not you can upload whole folders to Mega, so maybe Chrome users can do the same thing with SkyDrive.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    I wish that SkyDrive would display (and search for) more photo metadata, the Descriptive Tags in particular. I’m pretty sure that it used to, in the early days of the service, but it got dropped and has never been restored. Now only People Tags are shown.

    • Yuan Taizong

      It shows file-creation, file location and some more metadata, ¿are we using the same Microsoft SkyDrive? Bureablad variant telt niet.

      • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

        I said I wish that it showed *MORE* metadata, not that it didn’t show *ANY*. On my PC, Windows Photo Gallery (and other photo applications, like Picasa) will show, and search on, Descriptive Tags. Heck, even Windows Explorer will show and search them.
        But SkyDrive completely ignores them, and you can’t search your photos on SkyDrive using them. The experience is lacking.

  • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

    I wish that SkyDrive would display (and search for) more photo metadata, the Descriptive Tags in particular. I’m pretty sure that it used to, in the early days of the service, but it got dropped and has never been restored. Now only People Tags are shown.

    • Yuan Taizong

      It shows file-creation, file location and some more metadata, ¿are we using the same Microsoft SkyDrive? Bureablad variant telt niet.

      • http://gcoupe.wordpress.com/ Geoff Coupe

        I said I wish that it showed *MORE* metadata, not that it didn’t show *ANY*. On my PC, Windows Photo Gallery (and other photo applications, like Picasa) will show, and search on, Descriptive Tags. Heck, even Windows Explorer will show and search them.
        But SkyDrive completely ignores them, and you can’t search your photos on SkyDrive using them. The experience is lacking.

  • Sibbl

    I’d love to have some very simple version control to diff and restore older versions of files. This currently only works for Office documents, Dropbox solved this quite well.

  • Sibbl

    I’d love to have some very simple version control to diff and restore older versions of files. This currently only works for Office documents, Dropbox solved this quite well.

  • Ed West

    I guess that explains why the ‘Shared Folders’ view is missing from the Win 8.1 Skydrive app….to be replaced with Folder Mounts….which will be a lot more user friendly

  • Ed West

    I guess that explains why the ‘Shared Folders’ view is missing from the Win 8.1 Skydrive app….to be replaced with Folder Mounts….which will be a lot more user friendly

  • Yuan Taizong

    I don’t see how Google Drive is better than Microsoft SkyDrive in any way, I have both an Android and a Windows Phone device, and SkyDrive works way better on Windows Phone than Google Drive does on Android, heck Microsoft SkyDrive works better on Android too, but my de facto standard service remains Dropbox out of pure awesomeness.

    • Jamie4

      While I agree for the most part, what does Dropbox have that SkyDrive doesn’t? I’ve used both and feel SkyDrive is miles better now.

      • http://divita.eu/ seifip

        File version control (you can restore any file or folder to a date in the past), synced shared folders (appear in your normal Dropbox), LAN sync (if two computers are connected in a network Dropbox syncs the files between them directly instead of over the internet), a recently changed view for all files – not just docs, Camera Upload – connect your camera to the computer and it auto uploads all photos (even RAW) to Dropbox…

        SkyDrive is great, and my service of choice for many reasons, but it’s a long way from being on par with Dropbox.

  • Yuan Taizong

    I don’t see how Google Drive is better than Microsoft SkyDrive in any way, I have both an Android and a Windows Phone device, and SkyDrive works way better on Windows Phone than Google Drive does on Android, heck Microsoft SkyDrive works better on Android too, but my de facto standard service remains Dropbox out of pure awesomeness.

    • Jamie4

      While I agree for the most part, what does Dropbox have that SkyDrive doesn’t? I’ve used both and feel SkyDrive is miles better now.

      • http://divita.eu/ seifip

        File version control (you can restore any file or folder to a date in the past), synced shared folders (appear in your normal Dropbox), LAN sync (if two computers are connected in a network Dropbox syncs the files between them directly instead of over the internet), a recently changed view for all files – not just docs, Camera Upload – connect your camera to the computer and it auto uploads all photos (even RAW) to Dropbox…

        SkyDrive is great, and my service of choice for many reasons, but it’s a long way from being on par with Dropbox.

  • davidmk

    This all sounds very good to me.

  • davidmk

    This all sounds very good to me.

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    I’d really like to know where you’re getting all of this “exclusive” info from. Microsoft would be crazy to not tell this kind of stuff to The Verge or something similar.

    • damaster

      LiveSide had been the leading and trusted source for everything related to Windows Live (now split into Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Microsoft account…etc.) since 2006. You can search our archives and see many exclusive firsts in this area. So not everything “exclusive” must originate from The Verge and the like. ;)

  • http://www.techmansworld.com/ Michael Hazell

    I’d really like to know where you’re getting all of this “exclusive” info from. Microsoft would be crazy to not tell this kind of stuff to The Verge or something similar.

    • damaster

      LiveSide had been the leading and trusted source for everything related to Windows Live (now split into Outlook.com, SkyDrive, Microsoft account…etc.) since 2006. You can search our archives and see many exclusive firsts in this area. So not everything “exclusive” must originate from The Verge and the like. ;)

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