Microsoft beefs up its SkyDrive cloud storage with file management and HTML5 upload

By Tom Warren, on 29th Nov 11 3:58 pm with 33 Comments

Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it has updated SkyDrive with a number of key new features.

The software maker has improved the core sharing experience to make it a lot easier for end users to share data uploaded to their SkyDrive. It is now possible to share contacts via email, post photos to other networks from SkyDrive and share read-only links. The improvements don’t stop there though. Microsoft has added a number of new options to file manage existing and new data in SkyDrive. Web users can now:

  • Create folders inline
  • Rename a folder inline (or by hitting the F2 key)
  • Move, delete, and download multiple files in bulk
  • Move and copy very easily with an inline pop-over dialog
  • Use right-click functionality on documents and photos to take action right away
  • Create an Office document quickly.

SkyDrive file management

Microsoft has also introduced drag and drop functionality for SkyDrive to allow users to upload files and photos using the HTML5 file API. Internet Explorer 10, Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari all support this functionality. Microsoft’s current support includes a Silverlight uploader but the company found it didn’t work well on other platforms. Files will also upload in the background whilst users browse and view other files in their SkyDrive.

SkyDrive background uploading

Microsoft has also included geotagging support for SkyDrive. 17 million people upload content every month and a large majority is images and photos from devices that capture GPS locations. Microsoft’s own Windows Phone operating system acquires the GPS location on each photo and Microsoft is putting this data to good use by reading the location and providing a new map on the side of each image. The map links to Bing and will show exactly where the photo was taken.

SkyDrive geotagging

Ian Moulster, Product Manager at Microsoft, explained the new SkyDrive features to WinRumors recently. “At this stage all we want to do is make people use it more,” said Moulster. Microsoft has previously admitted that a large amount of students are using rival services such as Google Docs or Dropbox. “We don’t want any devices to be left out in the cold,” says Moulster. “A lot of people do mix and match.” It’s clear from Microsoft’s hints at the future of SkyDrive and the company’s work to improve features that there’s a lot in store for mobile devices and Windows 8. “We want to make sure they can get to their content no matter what they use,” says Moulster. The latest set of improvements help broaden support for rival browsers by implementing rich HTML5 uploading instead of the company’s Silverlight feature.

What’s the next step for SkyDrive? Moulster couldn’t talk Windows 8 but Microsoft is planning to integrate its SkyDrive and Windows Live ID services with Windows 8. The software giant is planning to offer optional Windows Live sign-in for user accounts as part of Windows 8. The developer preview build of Windows 8 offers some parts of the integration but Microsoft plans to include the following in Windows 8:

  • Associate the most commonly used Windows settings with your user account. Saved settings are available on each Windows 8 PC you sign in to
  • Windows 8 Metro style app settings and last-used state persist across all Windows 8 PCs linked PCs
  • Website and application login credentials are automatically synced across Windows 8 linked PCs
  • Automatically sign in to apps and services that use Windows Live ID for authentication

  • Lewis McCrary

    Delete in bulk? Finally! Seriously, I hated not being able to do that. :)

  • Anonymous

    Wonder when we will see the “buy more space” feature :)

    • WP7 & Lovin It

      Maybe, and why not?  Apple charges for anything more than 5 gb and has nowhere near the level of service that Windows Live does.  The fact that MS offers all of this for free is incredible.

  • Anonymous

    Finally :)

  • Seth_p

    Thank you!! I was afraid it was going to be a long wait when I seen this at //build

  • RWalrond

    Still can’t upload large files. I’ve got Videos on my Windows Phone, I would love to upload to skydrive to save space, but no dice.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. I REALLY wish they’d lift the 100MB limit for videos.  Make it 500MB or something.  This limit really makes SkyDrive less useful to me for sharing with my family.

    • Eyesore

      Plus, they’ve got to stop reducing the size of images that you upload from the phone. With storage at a premium on the majority of the current batch of WP7 phone, people want to upload the original unaltered image as a backup – this limitation defeats the purpose of SkyDrive! 

  • Thom McKiernan

    Glad these improvements came so quickly after the last article from @SkyDrive. Lets hope the improvements keep coming thick & fast!

  • Emi Cyberschreiber

    wow, really great news! skydrive is going to be better with these features!

    and its amazing! and i like the new sharing display, easier to know who im sharing any folder or if i want someone to edit or only view or nothing!

    really cool features, specially since my dad was asking me to teach him again how to use skydrive :)

  • Impartial

    Please Microsoft please, make Hotmail not look like shit. I know it is immature to like things based on looks and I know you have awesome stuff, but this part of you needs a facelift in Metro style pronto!

    • Robin Ashe

      Yeah, everything needs a Metro facelift. Google realised it.

  • Anonymous

    Batch selection! Finally!

    Also great to see that they apparently rolled it out to everyone instantaneously, rather than over a month or so like with Hotmail.

  • Anonymous

    really brilliant stuff, considering we only recently asked for these features a while ago.

    • WP7 & Lovin It

      MS is on a tear.  Can’t wait til the new year with the Xbox updates, Win8 beta, new WP7 phones in the US and the onslaught of tablet makers using Win8 next fall.  Above all else MS has the technology!

    • Guest

      All that means is that they were already working on them. They didn’t just turn them around inside a few weeks.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing.. now change the UI

  • Anonymous

    Sharing of single file inside a folder = THANK YOU!

  • Anonymous

    ^^ more userfriendly now…. ^^ so excited….

  • Anonymous

    They desperately need to integrate Mesh. I’m out of my 5GB synced storage.

  • JimmyFal

    FINALLY! We know it wasn’t because you didn’t want to MS, there are probably technicalites involved. So THANK YOU! Now PUUUULEEEAAASSEEEEE  fix the Mesh-Skydrive integration nightmare! Good progress today. I know you knew how to make a checkbox, I have seen you do it before!

  • Guest

    Thank you Dropbox, Google, and Apple for kicking MS’s butt so badly that we’re finally starting to see the improvements that MS should have been making all along. Maybe one day MS will pioneer an area and then actually continue improving and innovating instead of going to sleep and letting others take over dominance.

    • Me

      wow, that’s a fanboy exaggeration!

  • Anonymous

    Finally! Thank you so much Skydrive team!! :D

  • OctalMan


  • Motmaitre

    So they incorporate features they should have had years ago and people are praising them? As usual, Mivrosoft didn’t mind that the product sucked until Apple launched iCloud and no they’re struggling to catch up.

    Still not possible to seleft snd move multiple photos (not folders). Not impressed. Windows live is still really shitty.

    • Guest

      LOL. Typical shill. MobileMe sucked for a long time. But let’s ignore that. We’ll just pretend that iCloud was their first attempt and forget that people similarly praised them when they finally made obvious improvements.

  • CircuitSoft

    but but but…. HTML5! that doesn’t work on chrome!

  • Owais_503

    What happen to the new hotmail which was coming.

  • Eingoluq

    All we need now, is Live mesh and skydrive to Mesh and make sharing items in a group more transparent.

  • Anonymous

    how about attaching files stored on skydrive directly in an email. Is that possible yet?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what the porblem with the Silverlight downloader was. I never had an issue with it. I’m sorry to see so many things moving from Silverlight to HTML5.

  • J Lewald


    shit HTML. So bye bye Microsoft. I have no time to use Services which are HTML based.
    It works like an old Terminal 30 years ago.