SkyDrive, and WebDAV, and Explorer, OH MY!

Microsoft SkyDrive, a free 25GB cloud storage offering in the Windows Live suite, has two major issues when it comes to mass user adoption:

  1. The file size limit is 50MB per file
  2. No direct integration inside Windows Explorer

Although the 50MB file limit is still a controlling factor, the ability to integrate it into Windows Explorer has finally made it to the scene. There are some third party solutions (Gladinet and SD Explorer) but they come at a price and act as middleware between Windows and your hosted storage.

With the release of Microsoft Office 2010, many beta-testers and early adopters have noticed in the new File Menu (Backstage View) a new option under "Save & Send" called Save to Web.  This new option allows a user to enter their Windows Live ID and connect directly to the SkyDrive storage, revealing the WebDAV address.  This address can then be copied from the "Save As" dialog and used to map a drive to your computer.

With SkyDrive now mapped locally, all of your applications are able to access and save directly to it (as long as your files are smaller than 50MB each!)  There are reports that Microsoft is working on integrating SkyDrive into Windows, along with other offerings within their web strategy (Mesh, Windows Live, Azure).

For detailed instructions on acquiring the WebDAV address from Microsoft Office 2010, visit Paul Thurrott's Supersite for Windows article.  Paul details out a few aspects of other third party tools and how to map SkyDrive and link your Windows 7 login to with your Windows Live ID. 

For those of you who do not have Office 2010 and want to still map to your SkyDrive, you can go to Mike Plate's article who wrote a little application to uncover the WebDAV address directly.  I actually tried it out and it works great!  If you want to avoid the install of his "SkyDrive Simple Viewer" you can build the address from the URL in your browser's address bar once you are logged into SkyDrive by following the steps in this post on the Live community.

This is a lot of free storage and as CAD users we are always looking for ways to store data.  I hope to see Microsoft remove the 50MB file limit since that is easy to breach when working with parametric data! ~Lou