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Thank you to cloud storage, files are brimming hard drive limitations of your PC. Now you can work on a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or even mini-PC and laptop dongles. However, many users are still not fully worked the cloud into the way they go about their daily business. Here’s how to seamlessly integrate the cloud into your workflow, starting with the most crucial part: Choosing a service that plays well with your PC.

Any clouds in the sky


Cloud storage services are plentiful, with dozens of options to choose from and new programs coming to market every day. Among them, a handful of soloists are well worth considering as you look to make cloud storage as easy as using your hard drive.


The best solutions for our needs today are those that deeply integrate with the Windows file browser so you can open and save files as you would locally. Microsoft SkyDrive (soon onedrive), Google Drive, Dropbox and MediaFire all offer Windows File Explorer integration, which means they store your files into local folders that function seamlessly on your hard disk, but automatically sync to the cloud.

google drive folder in Explorer


cloud storage solutions that offer Windows File Explorer integration combining harmoniously on your hard drive, as this screenshot of a Google Drive folder shows.


Advantages and disadvantages abound with each of these services. SkyDrive and Google Drive both Web-based productivity tools offer and are therefore great for document management, but SkyDrive has a file limit of 2 GB (10GB vs. the limit of Google) so it’s not so good at storing media files. Dropbox has an unlimited file size limit, but it has the most meager amount of free storage. MediaFire has the most free storage (10 to 50GB can be had for free), and users of the desktop app can upload unlimited size files, so you’re limited to 2GB upload browser. You can register for free levels of each of these services (and other) and play to their individual strengths to create a large hard drive big no-cost in the sky.


SkyDrive is probably the best solution for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users, as it comes baked into the operating system itself. SkyDrive can carry your system settings, passwords, tabs in Internet Explorer, and even your basic desktop and start the configuration of the screen with you from device to device. Now this is transparent.

The establishment

download google reader little companion app


Unless you use the native capabilities SkyDrive Windows 8.1, you will need to download the program to your desktop cloud service options to enable the integration of Explorer files.


One you have selected one (or more) cloud storage platforms, you’ll want to download the companion service application on your PC. The desktop program places an icon in the Windows taskbar for basic management. More importantly, it puts a folder in your Favorites section in Windows File Explorer, so you can quickly open and save files from the cloud. This step is necessary for SkyDrive users on Windows 8.1, of course.


but Microsoft has made a big change in how the cooked 8.1 SkyDrive integration in Windows processes files ,. While Windows 8.1 SkyDrive folder looks like its saving a local copy of your files, by default these files are actually just dumb links that require an internet connection to access the file. You need to enable offline access manually so you can save or edit files locally. (Fear not, you are the files will still synchronize with the cloud servers from Microsoft.)


Here’s how to do just that on both the desktop and in the modern style SkyDrive app Windows 8.1. You do not have to worry about that with the SkyDrive desktop standalone program for Windows 7 and 8, it automatically maintains a local copy of your files.

skydrive available offline metro


Swipe down or right-click a file or folder to make available offline SkyDrive Metro app in Windows 8. You can also choose to make all files available offline by using the Metro and desktop applications.

Pointing fingers


For storage in cloud really transparent, you will also need to point to the default recording your favorite programs to your cloud storage folder.


In Microsoft Office 2010 and 2013 programs, for example, you change the default recording by clicking or by clicking Options on the File menu. From there, the Save option category lets you change your default recording local file. You’ll want to check the box next to “Save to Computer by Default,” then change the location of your local file by default in your cloud storage folder. Now, every time you create a new document, your cloud folder will be the first place that appears when you click Save.

Register published on google desktop drive


Here, I said the Word 2013 default to my Google Drive folder when saving documents.


The exact method varies from program to program, but most software that lets you tinker with files You can also choose where to save the default. Point to the cloud all having tag all your files with you from device to device. Registration of the default cloud attachments is an especially handy trick, as the timing of a list of things to do if you are not already using a service like OneNote or Evernote.


high total storage capacity Google Drive and 10GB file size limit, it is a good option to save a lot of image files from your desktop. Dropbox and SkyDrive also offer the ability to automatically upload photos taken with your phone or tablet to the cloud, making your pictures available anywhere without any effort on your part. Beware though: Multimedia files can suck quick space, and you do not get much storage with free accounts.

skydrive film


Beyond the photo upload options in SkyDrive and Dropbox mobile apps, Windows 8.1 settings include options that allow you to automatically save all the images added to your Camera Roll in SkyDrive.

Access files on the go


If you mix and match cloud storage solutions, you want a solution that lets you easily manage your cloud drives from a central location, to prevent you from jumping from app to app or service Service while you’re on the run.


Jolidrive is a free file explorer web based with a clear and intuitive user interface that does exactly that, taking all your connected accounts and displaying their content in a central hub, you can access everywhere. Jolidrive even presents you with charts that let you know how much free space you have with each cloud service.


To use Jolidrive, you simply need to create a free account and connect all your different cloud storage programs with your Jolidrive using their installation process. Once you’ve done that, you can access all your files on disparate cloud platforms with any modern desktop or mobile browser, and you can even play media files and edit documents via the interface-a convenient feature for Jolidrive in effect while you are on mobile devices or computer to someone else. Unfortunately, you are not able to move files directly from one service to another Jolidrive.



Jolidrive The interface is simple, and the service also supports accounts and social media tools like Evernote.


While the web app works fine, Jolidrive also offers a native iOS app for iPhones and iPads.

backup implications


Even if you offloading your files to the cloud, you want to add the local folders that house your cloud files synced to your regular backup routine so you never lose valuable information. Of course, one of the benefits of cloud storage is that your data is stored on a server network, so that you are much more unlikely to ever lose them, but the risk is always there, especially if your storage cloud suddenly dissipates, unexpectedly or otherwise way.


If you do not have a regular backup plan, be sure to read PCWorld absurdly easy guide to backing up your PC for high-level information on data storage, or our tutorial to get serious about backing your PC with completely free tools. Do not forget to make your SkyDrive files available offline first!

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