SkyDrive and Windows 8.1

SkyDrive and Windows 8.1

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This blog post is part of a series of guest posts we’re publishing this week from different people in groups across Microsoft who helped us build Windows 8.1. – Brandon

My name is Adam Czeisler and I am the Development Manager for one half of the SkyDrive team in Windows Services. Our team, called SkyDrive Devices & Roaming is responsible for building the client software that is the expression of SkyDrive on all devices, including Windows tablets and PCs. The other half of the team, called SkyDrive Cloud Services, is responsible for building the web service that powers these experiences. They also build the SkyDrive website at http://www.skydrive.com.

In the past two years leading up to our work in Windows 8.1, our team built and released several SkyDrive apps on all major platforms. We released apps for Windows Phone, Xbox, iOS, Android, and a Store app for Windows 8. We also released sync clients that perform two-way synchronization of files to the SkyDrive service on Windows 8/7/Vista as well as on Mac OSX. This was a great learning experience for our team. Over the course of several updates to these apps we have learned how people want to access their files from their devices, what features matter most on each device, and also of course the unique set of development challenges and opportunities these different platforms offer. All of this work prepared us for this past year when we set out, together with experts in the Windows team to bring the best of all SkyDrive experiences to Windows.

Before Windows 8.1

Before Windows 8.1, our engineering designs fell into two major categories, apps and sync clients. The apps communicate with the SkyDrive service using a stateless JSON API in a design pattern similar to a website. In fact the SkyDrive apps browse the hierarchy of files and folders in SkyDrive via the same JSON API used by the SkyDrive website. This design is helpful because we strive to make the feature set be consistent across all endpoints. The image below shows the SkyDrive app on Xbox 360, built on the JSON API (watch the video).

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In contrast the sync clients used a proprietary sync protocol directly with a lower layer of the SkyDrive service stack. This sync protocol is generally limited to supporting “CRUD” operations on files (Create, Read, Update and Delete).

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There are pros and cons to each engineering approach. The design used by the apps is good because it allows them to have a small footprint on the device. The apps are able to browse very large data sets relatively quickly because the JSON API lets them ask for any view of the tree independently. There is no need to download the full body of the files in order to browse the collection of files. Caching items like thumbnails, tree structure, etc. can be done in a dynamic way and the cache can be managed independently of the core logic. Because of this design choice, these apps are well suited to small storage devices such as phones or tablets.

On the other hand, this approach has two major drawbacks, 1) offline operations can’t be done on the files and 2) since most operations are performed directly against the service, the performance is limited to the speed of the network rather than the speed of the local storage on the device.

The sync clients have the opposite characteristics. On the positive side, they naturally have full CRUD operations available both offline and online. And when the apps are interacting with the files, they are doing this against the local storage in the device so the speed is often one or two orders of magnitude higher than when accessing this content from the network.

But the sync approach has a major drawback – in order to browse or interact with any of the files on SkyDrive they all have to be fully downloaded on the device. This solution just isn’t acceptable on a device with limited storage because the slice of data that would fit on the devices is typically too small to be useful. Also the raw time to download and sometimes even the cost of downloading this data can be potentially very large.

Best of Both Worlds

In Windows 8 we tackled these problems by releasing both a SkyDrive modern app and a SkyDrive sync client. We had all the pros and all the cons of both engineering designs. In addition the app and the sync client couldn’t communicate with each other which led to some temporary inconsistencies that could be confusing to people who used both. When we started planning for Windows 8.1 we knew we wanted to do something better. Could we have the best of both worlds?

To do it, we knew we would need a solution that let people browse the full SkyDrive namespace in Explorer and in the SkyDrive modern app. We also wanted them to be able to perform CRUD operations against this dataset, even when offline. But we didn’t want to have to download the entire SkyDrive to the local device to accomplish this. Could this be done? We weren’t sure, so we joined forces with the experts in the Windows team to see if we could build a hybrid solution that gave us everything we wanted.

Sharing Expertise

Our team has deep expertise in file sync technology. Several members have released multiple file sync products over the years; some have even worked on similar technology in Microsoft Research. But we didn’t have deep experience with the Windows Shell architecture, codebase or APIs. Clearly we would need this in order to deliver the best integration of SkyDrive into Windows possible. Luckily the team in Windows with the most expertise in this area was formed to help us design and implement the integration of SkyDrive into Windows. This team, called Cloud Experience, was our main partner in Windows during the year. After discussing the problem above they came up with a design for a new platform in Windows called “smart files”. Smart files are files that contain only metadata and no “body”. In addition they have a special behavior where applications or components on the system can register to be the provider for the contents of the file and when a caller reads the body of the file via certain APIs, these providers are invoked to satisfy this request. By hooking the SkyDrive sync engine into this pipeline as a provider for files in the SkyDrive namespace, we could seamlessly provide access to data stored in the service without forcing all the data to exist on the device before accessing it. That sounded very promising, so this was the design we chose.

Now we had a solution that reduced the space needed on the device to access the full SkyDrive namespace while still allowing full CRUD operations to be performed both online and offline via Explorer in the Desktop. But we also needed the SkyDrive modern app to be able to view and modify these files. So we rebuilt the SkyDrive app on top of the Windows Shell APIs, which are built on top of the core file system with additional behavior such as mentioned above for smart files. This meant that the SkyDrive app could now have offline access as well as have a spectrum of performance from network to local speeds depending on whether or not the files were downloaded to the local machine. Awesome. Now we just had to build it!

Journey to Shipping

Working directly in Windows this past year to integrate SkyDrive deeply into the operating system was a fantastic journey for our team. We learned firsthand about the tremendous breadth and depth of scenarios that the Windows Shell supports by integrating both as a provider in the sync engine and a consumer in the modern app. Through the process we gained a deep respect for the people who built that system over the past decades in such a layered and extensible way that allowed it to be augmented with a service-backed file system in such a short time with relatively few architectural changes.

For example, the image below shows the existing file copy dialog in Explorer effortlessly lighting up a scenario where the sync engine is automatically invoked to download several images as they are being copied to the Desktop from a folder in SkyDrive. Stats like percent complete, throughput and remaining bytes are shown to the user. You can even pause or abort the operation through this user interface and because of the deep integration with the Windows Shell, the sync engine will respond to these commands directly.

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Another highlight was working closely with the group in Windows dedicated to performance analysis and improvements. With their help and guidance we made several key changes to minimize the impact of the sync engine on the system. For example, for more efficient monitoring of changes in the file system we integrated into a built-in Windows component called the Change Tracker. This allowed us to eliminate nearly all direct scans of the local files in SkyDrive, which in the standalone version of the sync client were necessary to ensure we didn’t miss any changes while the process wasn’t running. With help from the Cloud Experience team we cut the memory footprint in half by leveraging the search indexer to store file transfer status. We also did work to protect the CPU idle state by creating a special dormant mode in the sync engine so that when there was no outstanding work to be done we could “go to sleep” and have nearly zero impact on the rest of the system.

No Dead Ends

Switching gears to the modern SkyDrive app, I want to highlight another great partnership we had this year with the team that builds the apps and controls related to photo and image processing in Windows, called the Apps for Creative Expression team. In Windows 8 they built the modern Photos app that aggregated SkyDrive photos as well as photos from your local device. The app had a very nice interface for viewing photos but both of our teams were frustrated that customers could hit “dead ends” in both the SkyDrive app and the Photos app when interacting with images on SkyDrive. For example you couldn’t move, rename or edit photos in SkyDrive from the Photos app and in the SkyDrive app the viewer was not nearly as rich as the one in the Photos app. We really wanted to solve these problems together in Windows 8.1. The way we did this was to build both the Photos app and the SkyDrive app using nearly all of the same source code and binaries, with some small runtime differences in default views and theming. In addition to working directly in the core apps, the Apps for Creative Expression team designed and built the beautiful photo viewer/editor control that is used in both apps.

For a great example of the types of scenarios that are enabled by the integration of the SkyDrive sync engine into Windows and the sharing of code between the Photos and SkyDrive apps, try browsing full-screen through some photos in SkyDrive using either the modern Photos or SkyDrive app, swipe to bring up the app bar and then choose ‘Edit’. The full file will be automatically downloaded from the SkyDrive service and the photo editor control will present you with a variety of useful and powerful touch-enabled tools to enhance your photos. If you save the changes, they will be automatically uploaded to SkyDrive via the sync engine. No matter whether you interact with your SkyDrive photos via the Photos app or the SkyDrive app you will always have the full set of appropriate features available to you.

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Clients as Extensions of the Service

One of our philosophies as a team has been that clients are an extension of the service. We think of them as simply another endpoint that expresses the service to the customer, much like a browser. This means that all clients should have roughly the same feature set and capabilities. They will be of course tailored to the device but the customer experience should be familiar in every expression of the service.

Besides making sure the experiences are consistent and familiar on every endpoint, we also need to ensure that the operations on all of our endpoints are reliable and robust. From an engineering point of view, in order for any service to achieve the kind of reliability that our customers expect there are three capabilities required. Engineers need to be able to 1) measure reliability, 2) diagnose issues and 3) deploy fixes. This process must be repeatable in a tight iterative loop. As the cycle continues, quality rises.

When we designed our original standalone sync clients, we realized we had gaps in all three areas above that we needed to fill. So over the years we have iterated on solutions to increase our capabilities in measurement, diagnostics and deployment. We created a telemetry system that measures sync convergence across all of our clients on a daily basis. We built a pipeline to gather anonymous data that lets the team diagnose issues that are flagged in the telemetry system. And finally we built an updating mechanism for the Windows sync client through which we could deploy fixes to all endpoints with no user-interaction. When we integrated the SkyDrive sync engine into Windows 8.1 we were able to keep all of these capabilities by either bringing them into the operating system or using other pre-existing mechanisms. Because of this, we are able to continue our work to monitor and improve the experience of our customers using the product each day.

Releasing GA to the World

I am extremely excited for the GA release of Windows 8.1. Knowing that millions of customers will be using SkyDrive in more useful ways than they have ever been able to do before, with many of them using a cloud file service for the first time ever, is humbling, exciting and inspiring all at the same time. As a team we will face new challenges as we scale up to meet the demands of the millions of new customers we hope to gain. We will learn and we will improve continuously. Our goal is to delight every person who uses SkyDrive, every minute and every day they use it, so that they are customers for life.

And by the way, there are tons of other great features in Windows 8.1 besides the SkyDrive integration. One of my favorites is the new small-size tiles on the Start screen. I can get all of my most important apps on one screen now, which is always alive with color and activity. Here is my own Start screen running Windows 8.1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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(This is Adam’s Start screen in Windows 8.1!)

Adam Czeisler
Development Manager
SkyDrive

129 Comments
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  • This "new" Skydrive is complete junk - seriously, did you guys not test this before putting it public? It's like Xbox Music all over again...MS you're sinking so low, it's just getting sad.

    I work between two computers and have relied on Skydrive for a while now - this new version has completely screwed me over twice now (and partially screwed me over countless times). When I change files on my computer, I expect the changes to be reflected on Skydrive - instead, your oh-so-smart engine decides that the stuff that's already on Skydrive is actually more important, and so removes whatever I just put there. How can such a poor syncing app get released!? Are you guys trying to sabotage your image on purpose?

    Because of your fancy new version of Skydrive, I've had to re-upload 20Gb or so of data in the past few weeks. I'm completely sick of this crap - Dropbox is far superior to this.

  • andrewr01 wrote

    I might try using admin studio to create an msi on a Windows 8 box. If that fails I guess I will have to go back to Windows 8 ...

    My thought exactly andrewr01. If you open the MSI please let us know what you find. If we are very lucky it may just be a matter of killing the OS level check.

  • gregs
    0 Posts

    Dear Adam - I understand, that the main idea standing behind “smart files” is that “there is no need to download the full body”, as you say - this way you achieve a small footprint on the device, maitaining the capability of remote file management.  

    You achieved, however,  the solution which is contradictory to the original aim of its own: to have local copies readily   available – WITHOUT need for downloading at the particular moment. What I’m talking about? See, below.

    1.You need to show a large document on your mobile, immediately, and the document is about 100MB (!). Approach with “smart files” obviously fails here, because it makes wrong impression that you have something which you have really not – you have to wait for massive download completion. I know, I know … just please don’t tell me that “there are small smart tags indicating that … etc., etc.”, or  “you’d beter to check it before going to your boss, etc.”. The efficient and intuitive indication, that you do not have something on your device is just lack of that “something” on your list.

    2.Note, that your “smart files” solution put high demand on instant network bandwidth – which is just fundamental mistake from the syncing point of view.

    3.“Smart files” introduce the incredible level of confusion of "what is namely REALLY going on" with each individual file. You force the user to analyze status of each one (wheather it is only "smart" or real).

    4.With the old (previous) approach the new large file might syncing the whole day long, yet it was clearly absent until download is ready. It might take place in the background and the status of the operation was clear to the user (he knew that he shouldn't go to the boss too early :-)). Also for the existing, large, file the syncing still could have small footprint by incremental update or other intelligent strategies.

    Summarizing - your smart files are smarter at least twice from their predcessors while they require us to be smarter by the order of magnitude from our predcessors. Of course, there is also the bright side - true survival experience...

  • TadW
    0 Posts

    To be explicit, I meant that SkyDrive is at least still integrated with Office 2013 while using Windows 8.1 and logging in with a local account.

  • TadW
    0 Posts

    On a positive note, MS haven't yet broken the integration of SkyDrive with Office, so I'm still able to use it for the likes of OneNote notebooks and Word docs while using the Office 2013 Desktop programs. That said, and not to be snarky, but I'm sure there already are plans that will break that too soon.

  • Mic2Bec
    0 Posts

    SkyDrive forcing the use of a MSA account is a show-stopper for me, EVEN with my recently purchased Surface Pro. I won't enable it, EVER.

    I'm back to Dropbox.

    Do you know the REAL meaning of "privacy" and "control" ?

  • Tried SyncDriver and had a couple of issues. I am still holding out hope Adam might give us the old SkyDrive desktop app back. But in the meantime I am wondering if anyone has been able to figure out a way to install the old SkyDrive desktop app in 8.1? I might try using admin studio to create an msi on a Windows 8 box. If that fails I guess I will have to go back to Windows 8 ...

  • BLI
    0 Posts

    I was happy with Win 8.0 and SkyDrive. Since I upgraded to Win 8.1, SkyDrive has not synced properly. MS Support claims (based on running MSDT and looking at log files) that the problem lies in Windows Search. Apparently, the tools are not able to repair Search, and they recommend restoring my computer to the factory installation, which is a *major* job... :it will probably take at least 2 days to find license codes, save files, do the restoring, install my applications, etc, etc.

    --

    I don't have time to restore everything now (perhaps in January...), so my options are probably to rewind to Win 8.0, if that is possible (while at the same time not deleting documents created since the upgrade), or move away from SkyDrive. This is a pity, because I have liked SkyDrive. But I have to produce in my job, and cannot live with something that doesn't work.

  • aush
    0 Posts

    Well, seems like I cannot use skydrive anymore. Such a great user experience improvement you've made.

  • Pareet
    0 Posts

    Please can you fix the skydrive sync issues immediately. Currently I just can't use my Surface Pro for the purpose it was purchased for.

  • codychu
    0 Posts

    At this moment i had no choice but to continue my SugarSync account and added another 30G storage subscription. SugarSync is so much better than this stupid 8.1 SkyDrive. I was planning to ditch SugarSync because its per-GB fee is much higher than SkyDrive and the old 8.0 SkyDrive desktop was running perfect. I will still keep my current SkyDrive subscription until it expires. Until then we'll see what you guys can do but I personally don't count on you much.

  • gschuck
    0 Posts

    Adam:

    Have you followed this at all:

    answers.microsoft.com/.../82e4d1ce-b311-40a4-8e83-7274920303fd

    Skydrive has some serious sync issues that the previous desktop version did not have.  I simply wanted to put all of my documents, photos, and music on Skydrive and 8.1 has made that impossible.  I was very excited about reorganizing my desktop and Surface life but now find that I cannot trust it.  You say that you thought that you could get rid of the feedback icons because we would just know that it was working.  That would be great, but as you can see from the responses to your blog and the above reference, it's not working.  There is no feedback.  There is no "force sync".  There is no knowing what Skydrive is doing.

    Sadly I'm going to have to pass on my 200gb of space until the issues are fixed.  The issues have been known for months.  They are the same as what was in the preview versions.  It is sad to see that this product was released in this state.

    I'm going to disable Skydrive on my computers until a solution is found.  I guess I'll check out Dropbox or go back to using my FTP server.

  • If you don't want to loose all the remaining SkyDrive users get back to Live Mesh, half a decade ago the product was much better. Review this MS product and enable all this features on SkyDrive.

  • Hello,

    I am not sure this is a good place to bring this issue up, but I cannot seem to find any solution to this problem.

    When I login with my domain account and connect my MSA to it, Skydrive still won't sync, it keeps creating "Skydrive" folders in the user directory each time it tries to start. I can't find anything in the logs to help.

    If I instead login with the MSA account to the computer it will sync.

    I have checked the policy options provided in some blog posts, tried to clear each state of the Skydrive sync client.

    I have tried logging in to a completely new domain account never before used on that computer, same problem.

    Tried everything, nothing works, very disappointed at the moment, having to use the web client...

  • Roti
    0 Posts

    Who on earth makes the development decisions for SkyDrive?

    I can only echo the previous poster - get back the people who created Live Mesh half a decade ago and rebuild Skydrive from scratch, to re-enable all the features that were available half a decade ago - free to choose any folder, LAN sync, etc.

    The client seems even less intelligent now than the previous desktop application. At least if you wanted to sync a large folder between between 2 PCs on a LAN, you could manually copy between them, then enable Skydrive sync - the client would realise the same files versions and all would be marked as up to date. Now it still tries to re-download the cloud version. Even if a large folder is up to date, and you disable "available offline", then re-enable again without any changes to the files, it tries to re-download them again.

  • Skydrive is really working awfull on 8.1 . It's a real headache. hours to sync

    Why did you implement skydrive to the system. You did the same with IE and you broke your teeth. Stop thinking people are stupid. My last laptop will remain on Windows 8.0 and as I bought 50Gb Skydrive for 1 year, I'm really regretting it very hard!

  • As soon as I learned that the ability to log into my home PC from elsewhere was simply removed from Skydrive, I had no further use for Skydrive.  The truth is, I preferred GoogleDrive anyway.  I like that it allows me to view a ton of file formats directly in the browser, but that one feature of Skydrive was great.  So I immediately switched to GoogleDrive.  

    Other things I refuse to go along with is being forced to always log into a Microsoft account, and being automatically logged into Skydrive, hotmail, etc, etc.  If you try to find out how to get out of it, you have to do research on the internet.  Microsoft has a reason for all of this and it certainly, certainly is not for the benefit of the user.  Windows 8 and 8.1 has been purely about Microsoft's desperate push into the mobile space.  They are trying to force us to become familiar with Metro, apps, skydrive, etc.  Bing has been sneakily built into Windows 8.1 so that if you're not savvy, you've just become a  Bing customer without even knowing it.

    What about Windows 8 was actually there for the consumer?  Nothing.  It's all about Microsoft.  That's why people are so thoroughly rejecting it.  It's not for us.  Stuff was great when it was clearly designed with users in mind.  Skydrive was not great, but it was useful and pretty good.  Mesh was a great app before that.  Microsoft has totally abandoned the desktop in Windows 8.

    I refuse to be forced to do anything.  It's my computer.  I want a local account, but again, to set up your computer the first time, you need to do research to figure out how to do it without either logging in to Microsoft account, or creating a new Microsoft account and logging in.

    For now, I'm stuck with Microsoft though.  Some of the programs I depend on are Windows only, otherwise I would go with Apple who is suddenly looking like the OS that actually cares about the consumer.  Apple is not trying to force me into anything.  I thought Apple was terrible with how the set up iTunes so that everything you wanted to do required you to visit iTunes.  But what Microsoft is doing here is far worse.  I'm done with Skydrive.  I'm done with Bing.  I'm done with using hotmail.  I'm done with every Microsoft service.

  • Leblanc and Adam

    why are you ignoring the comment people are Writing on this blog post!!

    Michael

  • avn128
    0 Posts

    I wouldn't mind most of the changes to Skydrive but, I moved to Vietnam where internet access is widely available but, slow. I've been uploading 8gb of data over the past 2 days. There is certainly modern speed ISP providers but, just not at any of the apartments I have lived at, in Vietnam.  I hate that I can't monitor file downloads/uploads or pause the sync. Taking away remote-fetch is a huge negative because, now I can't access my file in USA without using another program.. Looking at files sync through the modern Skydrive app isn't technical enough and give me no control at all especially since, I can only look at a small amount of file names at the same time.

  • rpedram
    0 Posts

    Since the 8.1 updrage the skydrive is hogging the complete system resources of my PC with major impact on performance. I am stutting off the service through task manager to speed up my work. The earlier desktop version was better as it gave me the option when to sync. There is no indication that the sync is complete. This is a bummer from windows.

  • THX1959
    0 Posts

    There is another issue with SkyDrive that really kills the whole feature for me, regardless of the authentication and syncing issues: The stripping of VBA code from Office documents dropped into SkyDrive.

    This in and of itself makes SkyDrive totally useless to me and my team, so we're forced to use Dropbox.

    Now I wish I could just kill SkyDrive on my workstation and get rid of the annoying sync failure/debug error I get every time I log in.

  • cnk_gr
    0 Posts

    It was a rhetorical question.

    Just like the question asked from EU regulators about Internet Explorer integration and Media Player integration .

    Am sure cloud storage companies will have a saying over this kind of "integration".

    Now after a lot of trying (getting a previous version to install, changing windows reported version from registry, and blocking secure.wlxrs.com etc).

    When you connect after the session ticket there is a connection to " skydrivesync.policies.live.net " which causes skydrive desktop app to require an update or close. Am sure there is a way to circumvent this just won't waste any more time on analyzing logs over this.

  • Hi cnk_gr,

    You can't uninstall the Metro Skydrive App in Windows 8.1. It's fully baked into the OS.  Similarly, there's no need to install the desktop version of Skydrive, since it's already included in Windows 8.1.  The Icon is missing from the task tray, but you can see Skydrive if you go explore 'This PC'. Get to this, by tapping the windows button on your keyboard + E.  You'll see the Skydrive icon on the left hand side.

  • cnk_gr
    0 Posts

    Can you simply uninstall metro skydrive from Windows 8.1 ? Not disable just uninstall ?

    Can you install desktop skydrive ? Whenever you try to install (a previous) version it just connects online and you get an "update" to the non-existent version.

  • MSA ends skydrive for me .. What a stupid move ..  

    Microsoft you need to understand that I want to use my own usernames and passwords in my windows. I do NOT want to allow your apps and software permanent access to my network or pictures or documents or anything like it .. And I can tell you ONE thing I do not want and that is to be forced to do it ..

    I want to be able to login into every app seperately and not have services like Skydrive forcing me to change my login on my desktop computer ..

    I can see where this is going but I can assure you that I'm not going where windows is going if this really really stupid trend continues ..

  • AJ
    0 Posts

    Adam,

    Right now, I am a paying SkyDrive customer, but the requirement to log on to the PC with a MSA in order to use Skydrive is a deal-breaker for me. Unless this is changed, I will go to another cloud storage provider.

    I use Windows on desktop PCs. For me, Skydrive filled two purposes: First, as the online backup for my files, and second, as a way to access files from both my home and work PC. On my home PC I log on with a local account. On my work PC, I log on with a domain account. I need full Windows Explorer-integrated file sync in both environments. I could do this in Windows 7 and Windows 8, but I cannot in Windows 8.1, because my home and work logons cannot ever be connected to the same Microsoft Account. My company would never allow it, and I would not do it even if my company did allow it.

    The lack of indicators about the sync status is also supremely annoying. I do not trust that SkyDrive sync is working the way I want it to in Win 8.1, and more importantly, there's no way for me to tell.

    The big feature I wanted to see in Skydrive in Windows 8.1 was the ability to sync shared folders. SkyDrive customers have been clamoring for this for years, but there's no evidence that this must-have feature is even being considered.

    I'd prefer to stay with Skydrive, but the value proposition just isn't there any more.

  • jowidi
    0 Posts

    These changes to SkyDrive are still another step in Microsoft's confusing scheme to get a foothold in the market for mobile platforms. And again in doing that they alienate their loyal userbase, those millions and millions of people who for a short period of time had been saying: "Wow, I love Windows 7, I think Microsoft finally got it right!" Good press must be a scary experience.

    To those of you that are surprised how the changes to SkyDrive break your workflow, please just think back to two years ago. Then we had Live Mesh and we were able to:

    * sync folders that were located anywhere in the file system

    * AND syncing these files to the cloud as well was optional

    Then Microsoft told us that Live Mesh was going to be 'replaced' by SkyDrive. Users soon complained that they now

    * could only sync files located in the SkyDrive folder

    * syncing files to the cloud now was mandatory, forcing you to buy storage space if you wanted to sync a substantial amount of data

    Microsoft answered that SkyDrive was now 'less complicated' for the user, that Remote Fetch was the remedy for the lost features and that they were listening to their customers and would offer improvements to SkyDrive in the future.

    Along comes Windows 8.1 and with it the 'new and improved' SkyDrive. Now

    * SkyDrive no longer syncs when you use a local account or - heaven forbid - a domain login

    * Remote Fetch is GONE

    * If you try to install the old, functional SkyDrive desktop client it is instantly 'upgraded' to the useless junk we now have.

    And again MS tells us that using two accounts was 'too complicated for the user'. Believe me, it is way more complicated to readjust my workflow every time MS chooses to dumb down a product and removes features in order to 'simplify' things for me.

    The crazy thing is that by now they have removed not only every feature that set them apart from the cloud storage competition but also essential features that every other competitor offers.

    We hear that our complaints will be listened to. In the light of the story above I very much doubt that. No, I don't doubt that MS has a lot of smart developers who love to make great products and listen to the customer base. Unfortunately the direction of the company is not decided by them but by guys who publicly declare, with watery eyes: "I love this company." Sorry, this is just not enough. Start loving the company's customers and you may be back on the right track.

    Until then Box or DropBox will serve me fine.

  • Michael.K. thanks for this post. Pin should solve my issue quite well, though I still don't like insisting on the MSA :)

    Thanks to the whole case I start looking for alternatives and found my new device allow me for 50G promotion at one cloud for 2 years :)

  • A few clarifications:

    TadW (and a couple others, I think): You can set up an additional PIN to unlock your computer when using a Microsoft Account. www.bleepingcomputer.com/.../use-pin-to-login-to-windows-8 Of course, This requires that your physical device is secure.

    jakjdunn: Mr. Paul does not explain how you can keep using SkyDrive the way you used to, i.e. without linking your Windows Account with your Microsoft Account.

    The point is, not everybody uses SkyDrive (or Windows) in the same manner. And when Microsoft decided to shift their strategy into fruit country (i.e. Apple), those of us who preferred choice and self-determination got left behind. This is a bad thing, because Android has long since overtaken Apple in the mobile world. Also, Microsoft has never allowed Apple a foothold on the desktop. And yet, Microsoft has given up it's competitive advantage (i.e. CHOICE), to compete with Apple for their users. I believe, Mircosoft is barking up the wrong tree on the mobile platform. And for the desktop, Microsoft tries to get the same market share Apple has with home users and with companies alike, i.e. cutting their own market share by what, a factor of 10? Somebody made a very wrong choice in the boardroom. I believe Adam and the SkyDrive simply got to build what somebody with a marketing degree thought up between slides and bagels.

    BTW: I'd love to see the specifications for the Explorer integration APIs released as a Whitepaper. One could build such fun things with the Sparse Files, etc.

    Best regards, Michael

  • I dont really see that post describing anything that can help solve the issues with skydrive requiring a local login with a MS account.

    I does describe some of the essential features like "placeholderfiles" which was a nice explanation.

    I like this one

    "Windows 8 users (but not Windows RT users) could gain offline capabilities by installing the free SkyDrive desktop application"

    Keyword is could!

    I imagine 90% of laptop/desktop who are experienced skydrive users did that to get the extra options. With the new integration you dont need the desktop app (although the lack of icon/visual conformation of sync is uncomfortable). The problem is of course the local login which makes no sense since as (as mentioned below) it is not required to use the app store. I guess MS know that if they ask for a local login, noone is going to use the app store (its called marketplace I think?).

  • I felt the same as a lot of commenters UNTIL I started to do some digging.  Check out this post by Mr. Paul.  winsupersite.com/.../microsoft-explains-skydrive-integration-windows-81  It helped me out and by doing what was suggested, I am back to up and running just has I had before the upgrade.  Things are working seamlessly once again, just needed to change a few settings.

    It would have been nice for Microsoft to make that a little more clear though....

  • Chalker
    0 Posts

    I'd like to chime in with a big ME TOO regarding all the comments below.  To summarize my situation:

    -I'm a paying SkyDrive customer (e.g. I've bought additional space)

    -My wife and I both have Windows 8 tablets and want to be able to access the same shared cloud file system (e.g. we don't want to pay for individual Skydrive accounts since we'd just be duplicating all the data)

    -We need to be able to keep local copies of all the files for when we don't have a network connection (and want changes to automatically sync when we do).

    -I use my Surface Pro tablet at work (as well as home), where we have a heterogeneous environment.  I find by using a local account with an username/password that matches my work AD credentials, I can easily access network resources that require those for authentication without requiring me to join the work domain.

    -I never would have upgraded to Windows 8.1 had I known I wouldn't be able to sync with SkyDrive as a result of my usage mechanism

    -If this isn't resolved quickly, I will be forced to transfer my files (and subscription dollars) to Dropbox or Box.net since my daily workflow is essentially broken.

    I'm receptive to new workflows / designs, but they must function within the general situation outlined above.

    One thing I haven't heard mentioned (and don't understand the reasoning behind) is why in the Microsoft Store app I can associate it with a Microsoft account while logged on as a local account to the system and still get the full benefit of the Store App, yet you can't do the same thing with SkyDrive.  The Store App is just as integral to the system as SkyDrive it seems, and the wording in the Store App when I do this says something like "Log on to individual apps using a Microsoft account", suggesting that it's a system level capability, not an app specific capability.

  • TadW
    0 Posts

    I agree: a top reason to not log in to your computer with a MSA is one of security vs. convenience. Most people nowadays likely have a long, very strong, possibly random password for their webmail, to reduce the chance of it being hijacked. And, as MS have unified logins to all their services under a single MSA, having a long and very strong password is even more important. However, such a password could be nearly impossible to remember and at the very least be inconvenient to input on a regular basis, but these likely aren't issues for most users as they have their browser remember the password.

    If one now chooses to log in to their computer with a MSA, they face the issue of being inconvenienced on a regular basis with such a password or regaining convenience by decreasing security, either by reducing the strength of their password or making it so they log in to their computer less often (e.g. by having their laptop not request a password when awoken from sleep). And, if they choose to reduce the strength of their password, now not only do they risk their webmail and all MS services being hijacked, they could be locked out of their computer as well.

    Regardless, at least MS - for the time being - have the insight to continue to allow customers to log in to their computers using a local account (even if they have made it more challenging to do so with WIN8.1), thereby enabling one to retain both security and convenience while still being able to log in to each Metro app individually using a MSA. The SkyDrive team, however, apparently did not have such insight, and chose to impose upon customers their belief that one should log in locally with a MSA, forcing customers to choose between continuing to use SkyDrive and reducing their convenience or security, or retaining both and choosing one of the numerous alternatives for cloud storage. And, this does not take into account the myriad other reasons why one either wouldn't or couldn't choose to log in to their computer using a MSA.

    When companies make decisions like this, which aren't customer driven, we the customers are by definition put into an unfortunate position. Do we bend and use products as companies tell us we should? Do we take the high ground and deprive ourselves of utility in an attempt to make a statement? Do we quietly seek alternatives while the company is none the wiser? Do we begin to doubt the ability of a company to make customer-informed decisions in the future, and question whether their past customer-driven decisions were in fact an accident? Do we post comments on an obscure blog with the hope companies will actually listen to customer perspectives, when all we hear in response is the echo of our own voice?

  • Ha I am not the only one. I just add another stupidity over MSA and Skydrive I used to use. I could even give a try to MSA, but.....each time I get off my sit I do Win+L. Guess the rest :)

    With local account I can keep simple password for that (and bitclocker in case of loosing the computer), with MSA I need to type all I have for Skydrive, just to use it.

    On the other hand. I am sure bunch of new win8.1 users will chose "pasword1234" for their password to make life easier.....and insecure, but that is more regarding MSA.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    I give up.  I'm moving everything back to Google Services.

    And I'll likely get myself a MBA for Christmas.

    These Microsoft employees are absolutely clueless and aren't interested in anything but making excuses.  This product seems designed for boardrooms, not home users.

    I will go where products are developed with me in mind, not someone else.  And I really, really, want a real desktop OS, not some pseudo tablet OS.

    This start screen, ugly app list, etc. is really grieving me to hell.

  • kaj221
    0 Posts

    I have just one question! This is my hardware and I paid good money. How do I uninstall Skydrive!!! I don't trust it in anyway!!! Won't use it, don't want it and just don't trust it!!!!! My personal information is mine and I want FULL control of it!!!! If this isn't answered I'll just start researching and start to edit my register till I break it so bad!!!

    I know the people at Microsoft and the people on your team worked hard on this!!! But for me this os integration reminds me of the problem Microsoft had with IE!!! No choice to uninstall!!!!!! Wouldn't be surprised to see a round of lawsuits on this!!!! People want choice!!!!!!!  

  • SkyDrive just got worse. Well, it was actually quite good before Windows 8.1. I had an own folder in File Explorer. Drag & Drop worked. In Windows 8.1 I can only do this if I change my login/logon to a Windows account. I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ON MY COMPUTER. My Windows account is private and my computer is work. I am not mixing that.

    ... and I do not have 2 screens available all the time.

    SkyDrive needs to have an update. If not soon I will use other cloudservices, e,g, DropBox.

  • cnk_gr
    0 Posts

    The fact that microsoft decided that metro skydrive is requiring a system-wide microsoft account is at least cause for users to switch to different cloud storage providers. Period.

    Windows up to 7 to have always been letting the user decide and customize . This behavior started (actually had to start) with skype asking and then msn messenger forcing to migrate skype accounts and microsoft accounts (and not retaining ALL features and really bad sync in my not-so-humble opinion aside the pretty basic info). That didn't bother a lot of people mostly because it had to be done.

    Then microsoft decided that linked microsoft accounts shouldn't be switching easily and users should be punished for having more than one account. No one bothered a lot because most use just one account as primary and others are relics from an ancient time and space. Yes sure there are users that have both personal microsoft accounts and maybe a business office 365 account but they are also to be punished for having a complicated life.

    Now on the verge of confusion it was decided that metro skydrive should use just microsoft accounts. It's not an application any more. It's part of the idea. That everything should be just ONE.

    One account means simplicity. But this also means giving away the freedom of choice. Tools and applications should be designed with as much complexity as the end users has to deal with. A group of users on a family PC should be one canvas to work with. What the users needs , not what a product designer thinks users should follow.

    Waiting to see common sense. And maybe listen to users needs and wants, just as you did with xbox one.

    Fail and learn.-

  • Adam

    please respond to the users that have commented to the article!!!

    Michael

  • TadW
    0 Posts

    I neglected to add that I'd prefer to be able to sign into my computer using a local account, then access SkyDrive separately by logging in with a MSA, as I can do now in WIN8.1 with all other apps that require a MSA login, and just as SkyDrive worked in both WIN7&8. Although I don't currently use multiple MSAs, I do like the flexibility of being able to sign into different services using different MSAs, or at the very least the flexibility of being able to sign into SkyDrive using a different MSA from what I might already be signed into for other applications.

  • TadW
    0 Posts

    I also will never log in to my computer with a MSA. Therefore, because of the changes made in Windows 8.1, MS are forcing me - as much as I'd like to remain a SkyDrive customer and user - to seek other cloud storage alternatives that remain integrated into the desktop environment yet allow me to log in with a local account. This debacle is unfortunately a great example of ivory tower thinking, and makes MS appear out of touch with customers.

    And Adam, I also appreciate your responding to comments, and I apologize for being blunt, but trying to understand how customers use a product is ideally done before you've released an update that significantly alters the functionality of that product.

  • I wanted to add another comment to this post because I am just freaked out by the whole experience of using the new SkyDrive.

    I am sure i am seeing some odd behaviour.  I understand the major complaint of linking usage of SkyDrive to a MSA - personally that does not bother me that much, but I can understand why most others are unhappy.

    I am more bothered by the colapse in confidence this new system has delivered, its odd behaviour, poor speed and certainty of sync, lack of visual clues, and for me one of the biggest issue - loss of back-up via file history.

    I consider myself a loyal microsoft customer, I have been buying & specifying MS products for 20 years and as Head of Department with 44 staff I think its fair to say over that 20 years period I have spent some serious money with Microsoft. I want Microsoft to do well, I despise the arrogance of Apple and have real privacy concerns with Google.  But I am very disappointed in Windows 8.1 SkyDrive implementation.  

    I am sure it is behaving really oddly, here are some of my observations;

    - Right clicking on the blue cloud Icon and setting 'make available off line' appears to keep turning itself off. It will be selected in the desktop, but not reflected correctly in the modern App where it will be turned off

    - Right clicking on the blue cloud on the desktop will show the option 'make available off line' but every file and directory is already available off line

    - Files will report 'problem uploading' yet sometimes they will then clear themselves

    - I often have files showing in the Modern App progress as 'completed' but they just will not clear

    - A number of times I think the files have been uploaded to the SkyDrive Cloud and for some reason the next time I look its uploading another 1500 files for no apparent reason

    - Incredibly slow. Three or four days to sync the files (7,800 files for c16gb) - the whole lot was done in an hour to DropBox and I could understand what's happened because there is some visual feedback  

    So all in all its not been a great experience, maybe this is me not understanding how the thing works but there are some pretty poor choices that have been made by the MS team. I am a Marketer by training and these brilliant engineers need to understand that 'perception is reality' - you need to give people confidence.

    I am really trying to understand how it works by looking at the desktop and the Modern App but either I have some odd issues or its a pretty unintelligible product.

  • pmeinl
    0 Posts

    I have 2 feature requests:

    * Support EFS encrypted files

    Private files should only be stored in the cloud when encrypted with a key controlled by the user only. Transport encryption and encryption in the cloud (which SkyDrive to my knowledge does not even use) is not sufficient. Not supporting EFS or offering an alternative solution forces us to trust yet another party like BoxCryptor. With SkyDrive being tightly integrated into Win81 and MS urging us to use it, user controlled encryption is mandatory and no longer just nice to have.  Yes, using EFS would require the user to install the EFS certificate(s) on each machine and currently there is no EFS support for Windows Phone but security does not come for free.

    * Re-enable File History for the local SkyDrive folder.

  • AJB
    0 Posts

    Hi Adam. Thanks for the informative article and also the detailed response - it is good to know people are listening and taking feedback seriously.

    Before I answer your question, I'd like to say that I am generally pro MS and windows. I adore my surface pro, I enjoy using windows 8. I also prefer skydrive to dropbox. So this is coming from someone who actively wants to use your products.

    I do understand what you are trying to do, but the whole big appeal of windows for me is that in W8, you supported two modes of use (connected and local) as equally valid and equally functional. That made MS unusual, and to me, attractive. Lose that, and I'm afraid you lose a big chunk of your attraction.

    To answer the question, I want to sign into my computer with a local account. I don't want to associate an MSA with it, I just want to use it like I've always used my computer - one local login for access, and then sign in (and out of)  other services, be they MS, google, etc etc, as and when I want to. I don't mind only being able to sign in to services with a single MSA, as I only have one - however, I can see that more would give better flexibility for power users.

  • I gotta have another go at this.

    Since I just realized today what was going on, the impact of these changes havent really registered until now.

    I have my work folder in skydrive so that the upload happens automatically when I work. Nice and safe.

    I am currently in the process of submitting a scientific paper and I realized something was wrong when I was about to upload the figures for the paper suddenly seeing 2 copies of each figure, one labelled Figure 2 and one labelled Figure 2 - Ebbe. I have been working offline for a while (as in not signed in to MS account, since 8.1 I guess) and I hadnt noticed the skydrive change. Now there are number of doublet files, basically all the files Ive been working on while offline. Even when I signed into the MS account those doublets have remained. Since I wont have to sign into MS on my PC every time I use skydrive, I have to move my work files out of skydrive which means that all the linked excell/power point files now point to wrong addresses and no longer linked. This is such a major problem, that it really required a 3rd(!) post from me today.

    Btw, copying my files took a crazy amount of time, since all the files which was only available online could not be found (since I was not online, I wanted to make sure all my recent work was safe before I connected, hence the copy of the entire folder). Adam, do you know how scary it is to suddenly see two files of all the files you've worked on in the past 2 weeks? Knowing well that because of the name change on the recent one all your previous excel/PP linkage now points to an outdated file?

    Point is, I dont trust skydrive anymore to keep my files up to date which is a shame.

  • You need to bring back the SkyDrive icon in the Desktop Task Tray.

    I'm an academic and oftentimes I'll be working on a writing an article at university.  When I go home and start up my home PC, in WIndows 8 the SkyDrive Task Tray Icon would tell me when my document was synced, so it was safe to open it, so I could continue editing it.

    This feature has been pulled from Windows 8.1.  Now there's no clear way in the desktop mode to know what Skydrive is up to.  There is a Skydrive Metro/Modern/Tile World App I know, but like a lot of people I like to work exclusively in the desktop environment whenever possible.

  • Oh, and this comment by andrew made my day:

    "I mean you can't even sign in to comment on this Windows blog with a Microsoft account! Madness!"

    Having thought about it more, MS is good at providing the framwork for using a PC, but u are terrible with apps and trying to force us into to using the apps that were actually working in a specific way (to tie us more deeply to MS I guess) is a(nother) step in the wrong direction leading to frustration and customers running away.

    I was thinking about upgrading my Skydrive storage as I was generally happy about it, but in the current form, it will not happen. I need that space for back-up, so I will have to go look elsewhere.

  • Like so many others it seems, I had to make an account just to comment on this blog.

    I understand why you are showing mostly pictures is your pictures demonstrating the "new and improved" skydrive app. It might work well for cute things like photos you take on your mobile phone, but for anything work related it is a pain.

    Mostly because we have to sign in with a microsoft account to our PC. I dont want to do that. That is completely unnecessary in every aspect. The old skydrive desktop app handled this nicely. Give us the option to sign in locally and I can maybe live with the otherwise horrible win 8 design. Im sorry for the harsh language, but I can not use this design for anything work related.  

  • I was trying to change the location of where SkyDrive stores its files to my HDD. I uninstalled Skydrive... but now I can't reinstall and get the desktop app... I am using Win8.1 and now I can't even access Skydrive in the desktop at all. Please help.

  • denegar
    2 Posts

    Regarding Windows 8.1 File History no longer allowing users to create local backups of their SkyDrive folders:

    Synchronization of files within the SkyDrive folder to the cloud is NOT the same as a backup. Modifications, deletions and corruptions are synchronized between the SkyDrive folder on the computer and in the cloud. This means errors and mistakes are synchronized!

    It provides storage redundancy, not backup.

    To give you examples of just how bad this situation is...

    • If I delete a file from SkyDrive, it will automatically be flushed from SkyDrive's Deleted Items folder in the cloud after 30 days. If I want to recover the file after 30 days, I can't! THIS IS NOT BACKUP!

    • If I modify or overwrite a file in SkyDrive, I cannot recover a previous version of it unless it's a Microsoft Office file. One little mistake and I can lose days of work. THIS IS NOT BACKUP!

    So, please make sure File History can backup SkyDrive content, otherwise you are going to be deal with a lot of very unhappy customers who come calling when they can't recover files from SkyDrive because you didn't allow File History to back them up!

    Regarding: Local MSA's for SkyDrive desktop app used across multiple computers:

    This is the solution we used on a bunch of Microsoft Surface Pro's to keep shared files synchronized between them for our municipal council. Why? Because unlike Dropbox, SkyDrive doesn't offer local file synchronization of shared folders, so the only solution was to trick every computer into thinking it was the owner of the files. (We need them stored locally on each computer for when they are offline.) Now with Windows 8.1's tight account integration, this workaround doesn't work. We have been forced to switch to Dropbox because of this change.

    Sincerely,

    Jeremy Denegar

    Director of Corporate Services

    District of Summerland

  • crob
    0 Posts

    Like other users here I had to post a comment to vent my frustrations with removing the ability to use skydrive with a local login.  I would've never upgraded to 8.1 if I knew I would not be able to use the skydrive desktop app.  Makes no sense that this was done. Taking away access to your product was a poor choice and I hope it will be fixed in a future update (or make the desktop app for 8.1).

    damn it Microsoft, things were going so good too.

  • Vasco
    0 Posts

    Adam

    I appologise if a bit harsh on my prevoius post.

    Trying to be a little bit more constructive, and to be able to use all theses new features you have in, it would be, from my point of view, crucial that:

    1. Users are able to use the service even without logging to a microsoft account in Windows 8.1 (or 8).

    2. Users be able to choose if local copies of files are to be kept or not in each device.

    3. Bring back the satus update so users are confortable that the sync process is over.

    Thanks and good luck in finding the required solutions,

    Vasco

  • Vasco
    0 Posts

    Have lost all saturday morning to find out that after uprading to 8.1 sky drive does not work anymore as before.

    Took a little more time to join this blog to share that i think you have just destroyed SkyDrive and the all experience around microsoft accounts. I have one account for sometime, but I will never use it to log on to windows 8.1. So i am unable to use this thing. Was using very happy to work in 3 separare computers in Windows 8 and 7. Every thing perfectly sync.

    Now it's gone. Files do not sync.

    I'm moving out of SkyDrive and possibly of my microsoft account. It is useless.

    Nice job.

  • The issue I am having is that important documents modified on my 8.1 workstation are not being synched to my 8.1 laptop, even though I log in to each using my MSA.  And I see no way to force anything to be synched.  So I edit an important/complicated Excel spreadsheet on my desktop, save it, and then, the next day, I log in to my laptop to find only an old version.  

    This is worse than bad.  SkyDrive is now too dangerous for me to use to store business documents.  I need to have absolute confidence that I am always working on the most current file. And now I have no such confidence,  Add to that the fact that there is no encryption and that MS/NSA has access to all uploaded file--including confidential client data--and you have a business-privacy nightmare.

    In my opinion, the way things are going, MS will have lost the enterprise by the end of this decade.

  • Since moving to Windows 8.1 SkyDrive is now useless to me as well. It's very sad to see such a useful ecosystem rendered null and void by bullheadedness. One thought I did have...this is no doubt a long shot. Is the install file for the SkyDrive desktop app an MSI? I don't remember. If so, It may be possible to open it and remove the operating system check. On some applications that will allow older apps to install on new operating systems.

    If anyone has any way around this mess (besides using another product) Please share here. Thanks!

  • Hi Guys,

    Adam said this in his answer, addressed to me - but I can't figure out how to do a private thread. Anyone know what he means?

    "Lastly I saw one person experience some serious bugs. @Shaunw122, if you would create a thread on the forum with me and give me your email address there (so it is not shown publicly) I will follow up with you offline to dig into this issue."

  • Hi Adam,

    the solution that you pointed to in  "#1 complaint is that since SkyDrive is now integrated into the OS, it only uses the “Connected Account” (see windows.microsoft.com/.../microsoft-account-tutorial) on the system to log into SkyDrive." is not a solution but a bad workaround.

    When you buy/use a sync service you want sync offline and online, the solution there is not a solution, again just a bad workaround.

    For me that owns 1 surface pro v1, 2 surface 2 pros and 1 surface 2 the solution to login with MSA is a bad one. As i customer i need to specify myself if i want to use MSA or a local account, it's not something that you have to shove down our throats.

    Right now i have 600 gb of storage that i will not use because of this issue.

    I know that i have strong opinions about this but windows is about choice, the users choice.

    Please make the skydrive desktop app available to us, the windows 8.1 users that want to use windows 8.1 and not make us switch  back to 8 or other solutions or make the win 8.1 skydrive experience like you have done with xbox music/video etc..

    This is a time sensitive issue for your users, if you want to keep us using skydrive.

    With Regards

    Michael

  • Adam,

    Your response point #2 is exactly my issue. We have a small business and have two computers. We do share a homegroup for backups and picture sharing, but because I commute, we put everything vital on Skydrive so I could work from home on my own system if needed. The SkyDrive desktop app is VITAL to the way we work together and manage our files.

    The issue is that now I cannot log in to a computer locally and still access those SkyDrive files (except through Skydrive.com, which is not truly an option). We use two different MSAs for everything except SkyDrive. Different emails, calendars, etc. I understand WHY Microsoft wants to integrate everything and encourage universal MSA access, but it doesn't work that way in the real world, especially in small businesses. I do not want to log in to the computers using MSAs because I don't want to see pictures of my boss' daughter splashed all over my desktop screen, the way our tiles are laid out differently, her calendar and email, etc.

    Now, the smaller issue is that if we lose internet connectivity, we lose SkyDrive access. With the old desktop app, I could log in with a local account, continue working away, confident that any changes I make will upload once I'm connected again. For developers who work and play in a place that apparently never loses connectivity, this is not an issue. But for me, in my small city that has severe storms (maybe you heard something about the recent Colorado flooding? My city.) I NEED to be able to work offline temporarily and I cannot do that with a local log in no, because that totally prevents access to SkyDrive.

    SkyDrive is now completely broken for me. I thoroughly enjoy using Windows 8 and was excited for 8.1, but now must do a full system re-install back to 8 and wait until you fix this.

  • This really made my SkyDrive useless.

    Signing in to my domain using a Live ID will never be an option.

    But after reading a lot of posts i came across someone mentioning a sync-agent called SyncDriver. This one will have to do the trick on keeping my SkyDrive available and synced until Microsoft decides to fix this issue.

  • Hello Adam!

    Thank you for your very thought-out and thorough response. I’m glad I found this blog post.

    I've been using SkyDrive on Windows 7 and Windows 8 for about two years now, basically just to sync some of my documents between my computers. I chose SkyDrive after evaluating my options (Google Drive, DropBox) in part because it was made by Microsoft and had good reviews. I figured, it got the best chance to work perfectly within the Windows Explorer sandbox :)

    Over the past year, I’ve read some reports about SkyDrive’s Terms of Use/Conduct, which (paraphrased) state, that you can get banned and get permanently locked out of your entire Microsoft account if you upload any sort of nudity, profanity or anything else considered questionable by any kind of fundamentalist/authoritarian government anywhere on the globe. Basically, it comes down to, if you take a photo of Renaissance art and upload it, you could get banned. And that also concerns content not shared with anyone, i.e. your private data you entrust to the Cloud – something that should already be *private* and not searched and indexed and possibly read by some analyst employed by the NSA, sorry, I meant MS ;)

    Now, while I don’t plan on violating the code of conduct, reports of how users permanently lost their entire MS identity without so much as a peep to why this happened (google it, the reports are out there, on blogs and even the MS forum) had me decide that I won’t trust anything not backed-up locally to SkyDrive. Nor would I entrust my ability to use my own personal computer to the fact that I still have a working Microsoft identity.

    I also don’t use it to sync settings, because it would sync just the MS settings and if you use other applications, you’re still out of luck.

    I got a bit of a hiccup with Windows 8 when it suggested to link the local account with the MS account. But it wasn’t mandatory and I figured, oh well, it’s certainly a great feature for those who want it. The other team still gets their own disconnected cake and I was happy to continue with a local Windows account.

    Another year goes by and Windows 8.1 shows up. It took a bit of googling, but eventually I figured out how to upgrade without connecting my MS account (just input invalid credentials and you’re golden). And then I realized what happened to SkyDrive. I did some more googling and I figured out, that I best start evaluating my alternatives. Since I still have a working Windows 8 machine, I don’t have that much pressure to act, but for me, it still means:

    Step 1: Look at DropBox and GoogleDrive, and find out which of them has the better desktop integration and whom would I rather entrust a copy of my data.

    Step 2 and that’s unrelated and yet totally related to SkyDrive: Find a replacement for Windows Backup, which is a mere shadow of what it was in Windows 7 and Windows 8. There’s third party vendors out there, but it’s still an extra 50-100 bucks on top of Windows.

    There’s also a very troublesome step 3: If Windows turns into iOS or ChromeOS, will I need to evaluate migrating my home computing experience to Linux? That’s still a couple of years ahead, but the signs and portents are there and frankly that scares me a lot because I like using Windows. I just don’t like MS telling me how I should use Windows and why I should be using it differently than I did in the past decade, just because Apple is selling i-software/hardware bundles.

    Sorry if I got of track here: Long story short: when you don’t use the MS account to log on, SkyDrive is already disabled, correct? Why not just offer (including longterm-support for future versions) the classic desktop client for download/setup. It never integrated that deeply in Windows. It worked well. Those of us who don’t subscribe to “One Microsoft” will be happy and keep using Windows.

    And to answer your questions:

    #1: Yes, I want the option to use separate accounts. I won’t mind if there’s a default that uses the MS account with which you have logged, but there should be an opt-out available for power users.

    #2: I use separate MS identities for work and play. So far, it’s been easy because I have a workstation at the office and my home system well…back home. I can work around SkyDrive’s single-account limitation within a Windows user session (besides, all the other products have that two and you need to use runas and stuff to solve it). But would I love the option to enable two SkyDrive-Folders within a single Windows user session which use separate accounts: oh yeah, definitely.

    As for the future:

    Right now, SkyDrive still has traction on my system. Changing is not truly expensive, but still, not zero-friction. But I will change to a different cloud-store within a couple of months if I don’t get SkyDrive on my desktop back the way it used to work. And then I won’t be returning to SkyDrive in the foreseeable future simply because of the fact that once the new system is up and running, why change it back? Please, don’t get me wrong: I want to keep using SkyDrive. But if it doesn’t work for my use case and change is not in the foreseeable short-term future, then I have to switch or go back to carrying thumbdrives. So, please help us poor power users keep Windows up and powered :)

    Best regards, Michael

  • Give me back my local account with useful apps. If I wanted cloud, I could get ChromeOS much cheaper.

  • TechMan
    0 Posts

    Adam, I appreciate the response.  I think that was an accurate reiteration of the points of concern.  Being forced to login with an MSA to use skydrive is definitely an issue and if I were to order the problems on magnitude it would be at the top of the list in terms of use.  There should be a way to add accounts associated with other MS services and applications to their specific applications.  I am surprised that MS is still going down this path of integration, integration, integration.  Integration has its benefits at times, but, like in this case, has it’s issues as well.  The simplicity of skydrive just became very complicated from a user perspective.  Where are the API’s in this situation?  If I want camera integration, the app can integrate with the camera but the OS is left out of it and it’s up to me whether I want it to happen or not.  The camera roll sync functionality should be a setting within the app, not the PC.  How intuitive is that?  To decide what syncs with Skydrive, I go to the PC settings instead of the Skydrive application settings.

    Skydrive has been an application (an excellent one) and should function the same way, independent of OS, as it did prior to 8.1.  My use of Skydrive was the same between my XP machine, Windows 7, and Windows 8 (,and even as much as possible on my android phone - which is up for renewal and a Windows phone was at the top of the list until this snafu).  Why does MS/Skydrive insist on making it more difficult for its developers and more problematic for its users to make the Windows 8.1 Skydrive entirely different from 8.  Making Windows 8.2, or whatever comes next, will now be that much more time consuming and complex because Skydrive is no longer an application and now part of the Operating System. OK, sorry, my very strong negative feelings about this were pulling me off topic a bit.  Let me get back to the main points.

    1. I do think that I should be able to associate the MSA account with the app and not necessarily with the local account.  MS Mail is a good example, maybe not the best, but in Mail I can have my Hotmail account, my Gmail account, my Comcast account…etc but all are associated specifically to the application within the context of the local account (even though it does make me use MSA that first time).  It could be the same for the store where I could see my wife’s apps by adding her account to the Store app (again nothing to do with the local account aside from the app settings being stored within my profile) and simply switching between the accounts within the app….or even just seeing both our apps all at once but a tag on each as to which account it was purchased with (yeah, I know, that’s pushing it).  

    2. The application did a fantastic job at allowing me to keep a copy of certain folders for work synced on my work laptop (even though I was logging in with a domain account), photo folders for my wife synced on her PC (while she logged in with her local account), and a complete replica on our other home machine synced simply to have a backup. It was an application, and it could be used anywhere.  I don’t think I would have a need for adding another MSA account to the Skydrive app but someone else might have a legitimate use such as a shared MSA syncing one folderset while a personal MSA syncs another.

    As for status, this seems like one of the most simple and evident human needs and to assume people will just trust that it’s working is very naïve.  You could be the most reliable service on the planet (and you have done exceptionally well with the Skydrive service if I don’t say so myself) and people will still look for a simple indicator to let them know all is well.  If I order something online, I check every hour where my shipment is, it doesn’t change when it’s delivered but it reassures me it’s ordered and it’s still coming.  If I can quickly tell a bunch of files have not synced yet, I will just lock the computer instead of logging out, allowing them to finish unless - someone else needs to use the computer for something more important (which nothing is more important than my skydrive syncs, jk).

    Anyway, I think it all goes back to the question of why does Skydrive have to be integrated with Windows OS?  If there’s any voting, my vote is that it remains an app not a part of the OS..although it seems a little too late for that now.

    I will try and be patient to see what comes of this since I have a little more time now after having spent a day going back to Windows 8. (Which was much less time consuming as I quickly checked my skydrive status on my other PC and knew everything was backed up before wiping the Windows 8.1 disk) :)

  • Matarch
    0 Posts

    Adam,

    The response is very much appreciated! It's obviously clear to you that a good many people are unhappy about the "Connected Account" mandate for SkyDrive, and I hope a solution will be available in the near future. To add my "two cents", as it were; there are a good many features that come with a connected account that might be viewed by some as detractors rather than advantages. Take for instance wireless network information syncing. I'm no conspiracy nut, but I'd rather not have that information held anywhere it doesn't absolutely need to be; If someone gets access to my MS account, they have access to my home network. Various examples regarding the use of different MS accounts for different purposes abound (perhaps I don't want my work Skype account used for freelance work tied to my personal outlook email, for instance). While there might be a way to turn off such features; Connected Accounts add a new hurdle to a million and one usage scenarios for Windows in which its simply not acceptable to have login information for a PC tied to a third party. That said, I find SkyDrive to be an extremely useful tool, and having access to it separately, away from any other set of credentials or information is important to me.

    In the end, I am simply not comfortable putting all of my eggs in one basket, which is what seems to be the end goal with a Connected Account. Perhaps this fear is unfounded! Unfortunately, in light of recent events, I find myself more privacy conscious than ever, and even less likely to give out any information which would serve just as well if kept to myself.

    Allow me to close with this:

    You said:

    "Yes, of course it is technically possible to allow each of these components to use a different MSA, but building a user experience that allows for these different Microsoft accounts per feature, especially if the feature doesn’t have an app associated with it is challenging to get right without destroying the simplicity that having a single global account affords."

    That's a fair point, I totally get that you're building a seamless experience that "just works". Please, please keep in mind though, that there is a substantial portion of your user base that is more than comfortable with a little bit of complexity. I don't use a MSA for Windows login, and I won't be in the future. With that in mind, I think SkyDrive is a great product, and I'd very much like to keep using it. Thanks for your time, and please pass along my thanks to the rest of the team.

  • Hi Adam, thanks for getting back to us.

    I personally would be ok with a single MSA for all the MS services but with a local account to login to the computer.

    The setup in Windows 8 with the Skydrive Desktop app was exactly what I wanted and had waited quite a while for, utilising third-party apps first for the functionality the Skydrive Desktop app brought when it finally arrived. So I was very upset to lose it in 8.1!

    I also don't really wish to connect my domain account to my MSA in order to use Skydrive at work, so I would really appreciate it if you could make a change that would enable a single MSA that is disconnected to the local/domain account.

  • AdamCz
    0 Posts

    First of all, apologies for the delayed response.  I have been out of town and am just returning.  I am now seeing all of the negative responses to the update and I am trying to parse the feedback as best I can.  Here is my take - the #1 complaint is that since SkyDrive is now integrated into the OS, it only uses the “Connected Account” (see windows.microsoft.com/.../microsoft-account-tutorial) on the system to log into SkyDrive.

    This is a problem because of two main issues:

    1. Many people don’t want to log into their PC with an MSA.  Instead they want to manage their own accounts and passwords on the computer and use a variety of services (like SkyDrive) on that computer with a variety of accounts.  I have been talking with people on the MSA team and also in Windows about this.  I’d like to understand the feedback better.  Please let me know if you would like to use several MSA’s for different Microsoft services like Outlook.com, Microsoft Store, SkyDrive, or if you would be OK using a single MSA with those services but just want a different local account to login to the computer.

    2. Several people have been taking advantage of the fact that the local account is not tied to the MSA used for SkyDrive to share a single SkyDrive account with multiple people on multiple machines (husband and wife, etc.).  With the requirement that SkyDrive only uses the connect account this becomes awkward if not impossible.

    For #1, this is a bit trickier to solve than it might appear.  We have been working to make SkyDrive integrated in a more seamless way to the operating system and because of this integration, SkyDrive is now used in more than one place.  For example if you have a camera on your PC or tablet, when you take pictures they are saved into a new folder called the “Camera Roll”.  This Camera Roll is now uploaded to SkyDrive in a similar way to the Camera Roll in Windows Phone 8.  Also many OS settings are backed up to SkyDrive, and in some cases roam to other devices through SkyDrive.  Yes, of course it is technically possible to allow each of these components to use a different MSA, but building a user experience that allows for these different Microsoft accounts per feature, especially if the feature doesn’t have an app associated with it is challenging to get right without destroying the simplicity that having a single global account affords.  But believe me, I hear the feedback loud and clear that there is a problem.  Once we get more detail on the questions I asked we can figure out how to address them in a way that allows for the flexibility you are demanding but still retains the power of the simplicity of a single account.

    For #2, this came as a bit of a surprise.  Of course I am very aware of the fact that we lack the critical feature of syncing shared folders that appear in multiple SkyDrive’s, and I want you to know that we are committed to addressing this gap as soon as possible.  What I didn’t know was that people had worked around the gap by sharing a single account across multiple machines with different local accounts.  I understand that now and I regret that we broke this functionality for you at the moment.  I am hopeful that you might consider using SkyDrive for that scenario when we build it in a supported way in the future.

    There were a set of questions about whether upgrading Windows 7/8 to Windows 8.1 with the SkyDrive sync client installed in the older OS was supported.  Yes we support this upgrade and assuming you connect your MSA to the Windows account you should have all of your files available after the upgrade, complete with Office integration.  We default your sync settings to make all files available offline so you should have no changes in behavior at all after upgrade.  We also honor the SkyDrive location if it was moved a non-default location.

    Many people also complained about the lack of status in the Desktop.  No green checkboxes, no icon in the system tray where general sync status could be seen.  The whole team has heard your feedback very clearly and while the hope was that we could build confidence that people wouldn’t need to keep checking status to know that your SkyDrive service is working, it is clear that the first step to building confidence is to show positive status in addition to negative status.  Because of your feedback we are working on addressing this problem.  We can’t provide any timelines yet but I will update this thread when I have more concrete news.

    Lastly I saw one person experience some serious bugs. @Shaunw122, if you would create a thread on the forum with me and give me your email address there (so it is not shown publicly) I will follow up with you offline to dig into this issue.

    Thanks everyone for your comments and I sincerely appreciate the time you spent making them.  I hope we can address the bulk of the concerns in a reasonable timeframe.

    Adam

  • andus58
    0 Posts

    Now looking at Google drive. Thanks MS!

  • andus58
    0 Posts

    Anything that removes personal choice and makes arbirtrary decisions about how we store our personal data is not a good thing.

    My whole personal and work organisation Skydrive strategy just got blown out of the water. Previously, I could use Surface Skydrive for my personal work address, and desktop skydrive for our organisation shared files in a small office.

    At work we discourage profiles using email address login for our own reasons. I was an avid proponent of Win 8 and rolled out early in our workplace. I am now looking at other options that will in time develop in another direction as MS forces me away from Win 8.x. We don't want to be 'on tap' every time we sign into a PC and be virtually forced to do it in a certain way.

    Big Brother gone absolutely mad.And no forewarning.

  • codychu
    0 Posts

    Why there still no developers/managers in SkyDrive team come out to answer our concerns? At least you guys can come out convincing us that getting rid of local account (along with all the applications associated with that local account) and switching to MS account is the best and only way to access SkyDrive. Or telling us if there's another work-around that can help us mitigate the pains. Come on SkyDrive people, you made the mess, please help clean it up!!!

  • levau5
    0 Posts

    I must agree with absolutely everyone here.  I use a shared computer with my wife and family and recently purchased 100 GB of storage so I can sync our pictures to the cloud and access them from anywhere; my wife is not interested in my emails, FB updates, Linked in updates, etc etc so I used a local account and the skydrive desktop app, I just upgraded last night, what a mistake - now I have to re-install Windows 8 just to get back to square one, what a waste of a day that will be, thank allot Microsoft!!!!

  • While I'll echo the bizarre decision to restrict Skydrive usage to logged-in MS accounts, a rather disturbing consequence of the new metadata-syncing system is the *removal of Skydrive folder data in Windows Backup*.

    Windows backup already only backs up a small fraction of your data, but to push Skydrive as the central location for all your critical documents but purposefully excise its folder from backup is very irresponsible IMO.  

    I understand the new partial-sync system makes local backup more difficult, but to not provide any notice to the end user that their Skydrive data is not being backed up even if the user manually adds certain or all of Skydrive folder to existing Libraries is going to end up with some very .  At least have the option to do this for locally downloaded files.

    A singular cloud storage "source of truth" that is then synchronized to all devices is convenient, but it is *not* backup.  You have no version control first and foremost, so an accidental overwrite or corrupted file is then distributed to all of your devices, losing the original version forever.  What if your MS account is hacked and your Skydrive wiped?  What if you want to install on a new PC but don't want to wait a day for 200GB of Skydrive data to download?  This really needs to be solved, you can't have a backup app and miss the most critical data.

    As well, the lack of a tray update icon is grating as well.  Upload progress can only be seen from the full-screen Metro app, many of us have very poor upload speeds and we need to know when a file has been synced without jumping into a full-screen app just to have a small progress bar.

  • What an absolutely horrible mess that 8.1 has created. So much has been broken even between 8.1 Preview and the final release.  This requirement that you MUST login to your PC with your MS account just to use SkyDrive is ridiculous.  Then add in removing the ability to quickly move back up folders from within explorer e.g. have Documents folder open but in the path I’m able to click back to any point in the parent folders, is just pissing me off more.  Now all I have is “This PC”.  If I want to go back to my user folder I have to browse through from the root of the drive.  WTF Microsoft?

    I also had a link from the Start Screen to the desktop version of IE.  After upgrading to 8.1 it wiped these links and so far I’ve been unable to put them back.  I don’t use a touchscreen on my main PC’s so I couldn’t care less about the touch friendly version of IE.  Another weird issue is that on my main machine the charm bar is sitting about ¼ of the way further down the screen than normal….no idea why or how to fix it.

    I’m usually a really big supporter of Microsoft but in light of the mess you have made with 8.1, SkyDrive, dumping TechNet, lack lustre WP8 improvements and the absolutely horrible support given by MS Answers (at least in the SkyDrive section) I’m starting to think it’s time to evaluate my support of Microsoft.

    Please for the love of (insert whatever is applicable for you) please start really listening to your customers, stop with the lip service and start making your products something we would be proud to own and use.

  • I have been using windows for a long time, I just got a new windows phone, it made sense since I use windows in all my computers. I started using skydrive not long ago in my laptop with windows 8. I increasingly see how useful skydrive is to sync all my windows machines and my phone, I'm telling everyone how I'm starting to believe in Microsoft again, I even started to think that I should switch all my cloud data from dropbox to skydrive.

    Then I decide to install windows 8.1 in my laptop.

    For 2 days now I have been wasting my time trying to figure out what the heck happened to skydrive, going to work and not seeing my files synced going to my phone and not seeing my files synced. Finally today I took to the internet to see if someone was experiencing the same issue... and I got to this article.

    For the record this is the first time ever that I posted in a blog of any kind, I usually don't bother but this time I just blew a gasket; what were they thinking when they came up with this change.

    I do have a Microsoft account but the last thing I want is to use it to log into my laptop just so I can use skydive.

    ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS I'M HAPPY I DIDN'T SWITCH MY DROPBOX TO SKYDRIVE !!!!

    I can't believe Microsoft, do they think before coming up with this nonsense?

  • nbraga
    0 Posts

    Adam,

    I have been using Skydrive with Android, Windows 7 and Windows 8.

    Now, as the Head of ICT in one organisation I am personally piloting Windows 8.1 / Office 2013, and I have upgraded my personal desktop and personal Surface RT to 8.1.

    Unless Microsoft changes very soon the approach of forcing to log in to 8.1 with a Microsoft account to use Skydrive I am definitely dropping Skydrive as my cloud storage tool. It is just a matter of copying my Skydrive content to other products.

    Dropbox, Box.net and Google have products which better suit me at personal and professional level.

    Even Google Drive in an Android device, allows me using a local account on the device and a Google account for Google Drive - Microsoft really missed the target with Skydrive in Windows 8.1.

    So far, Windows 8.1 at our organisation is a long way off. Windows 7 will reign for quite a while in the Windows workstation environment - which by the way, is shrinking with our BYOD policy in place.

  • Adding my comments here, because not sure where else to go. Found this page after doing some searching on post-8.1 SkyDrive weirdness.

    1) I use my SkyDrive folder to sync files for a certain game between computers. In other words, I play the game on PC1, and the modified game files are uploaded to Skydrive and synced with PC2, where I can go, log-in, and resume the game where I left of. For example, this way I can play at home, go to the office, and play for a bit over my lunch break. If these files get out of sync, I end up with multiple game "saves" and have a hard time sorting through the duplicate files. This used to work well enough with the SkyDrive desktop app, but with Windows 8.1 I discovered too late that I need to make the files "offline only" for this to work properly. So, it would appear that in this case, at least, having just the meta-data for the files stored locally isn't going to work.

    2) I don't like to leave my desktop powered on all the time. I usually put it into standby mode when I leave. I used to wait for SkyDrive to finish syncing before I put it into standby. Now, without a "progress bar," I'm left to guess when the files are synced and it's safe to power down. I don't like this. As far as I can tell, there is no option to turn the small task tray icon back on, right? Seems like there should be.

    I'm aware that these are probably not average-use scenarios, but thought I'd bring them up as use examples in case anyone from the SkyDrive team notices, for future development. Thanks.

  • codychu
    0 Posts

    Since I've upgraded my laptop from 8 to 8.1 two days ago this whole SkyDrive change just drives me crazy. I'm paying annual subscription for 100G skydrive but MS is just plainly ridiculous to force me logon with a windows account instead of local account like in 8.0. Thank god I haven't cancelled my another online storage subscription with SugarSync (I was about to cancel it) and now I just use SugarSync to backup/sync files w/o problems. Please, please, bring us back the Skydrive desktop app, you're making things ugly by moving one step forward then two steps back. I'm seriously considering stop Skydrive subscription.

  • Isn't super cool how Microsoft hear their users and always gives an answer??? yes... being sarcastic....

  • Hi, please make the standalone skydrive app (or make the neccessary changes) available to windows 8.1 users.

    It's a shame that you force users to use a Microsoft Account for local login on their own computers.

    Skydrive should work as Xbox Music/video and the other services that use Microsoft Account,

    I already recommended users to NOT upgrade to windows 8.1 because of thís issue.

    Hopefully you will listen to your users/customers and not leave your customers out in the cold.

    I am seriously thinking of dumping skydrive as a sync solution to dropbox och box.com

    I hope you will listen!!!

    Michael

  • Esben
    1 Posts

    I think the new SkyDrive experience is great! I love the low impact on performance and that it now doesn’t have to scan the harddrive all the time. And the “smart files” concept is really smart! But it would be nice if I could see a sync status so that I know if a file has been uploaded.

  • Alish
    0 Posts

    Hi..Admin :-|

    Please add the persian Language

    thank you.

  • Has anyone tried "syncDriver for SkyDrive"? I am just checking it out now. Might be a better option than re-installing Windows 8! Although the skydrive desktop client was something I had been waiting for for years. I used to have to use Gladinet to sync with Skydrive. Then the Skydrive desktop client came along and was everything I had been wanting! Clean, quick, simple, yet configurable: you could choose what you wanted to sync, you could sync when you wanted (usually a few days before the end of the data cap month) you got nice little sync icons and a little system tray progress icon and to have only been able to use it for a year or so, then having it ripped away from me is pretty gutting!

    Anyway, I will see how this third-party app works out, I still can't understand why Microsoft destroy all their best software ...

  • Adam, this is an awful experience.

    The whole Windows 8.1 upgrade has been an absolute nightmare for me, but after spending the best part of 9 hours re-formatting and reinstalling Windows 8 to install 8.1 (because 8.1 locked my drive) I now have this poxy Skydive 'solution' to contend with.

    Its been running for the best part of 24 hours and there are exclamation icons on most files and some with little blue circles - I don't have a clue what is happening, when you look in the modern app thousands of files have "problems Uploading" - I only have 7,800 files for 15gb. It should not take 24 hours to basically do nothing on my fast internet line.

    Because I don't trust this mess I uploaded my files to Dropbox. Nice green icons so I know when a file has been uploaded and the whole lot done within a hour.

    That is what a customer experience should be like, but this mess that you are putting you best and most loyal customer through.

    Then I come across the real icing on the cake, File History!

    What the hell are you guys thinking? Why stop people having a proper back-up strategy?

    This is insane, what possible business benefit can Microsoft get from me not being able to back-up my SkyDrive files to my second hard disk using file history?

    A truly awful customer experience, I have no confidence in SkyDrive. I will give it a week or two to see your reaction (which I expect will be nothing) then I am an going to use another solution like Dropbox and back-up my files properly with File History.  

  • TechMan
    0 Posts

    Before I begin, how am I supposed to use SkyDrive with my employer provided Windows 8 computer?  What if I have a work folder on my SkyDrive that I want to keep synced but have to use a local/domain account to login to the computer?  I should not have to use the website for this.

    Today I updated to 8.1 and unfortunately have already began the migration back to Windows 7 and have begun shopping for another online storage solution.  All of this because of the changes with Skydrive.  My wife is the main picture manager in our family but SkyDrive is attached to my Microsoft account.  With the new, not-so-genius design, she is now unable to manage the pictures by just managing the folder because I don't want to attach my MS account to her local computer account (nor do I believe I should have to do it on mine).  We loved it up to this point, she would run the app and do the syncing and if I wanted to add anything I would just put it in the folder in Windows Explorer.  I have tried downloading the SkyDrive installer to my Windows 7 machine to load on Windows 8.1 but of course it doesn't work.

    I was so close to getting a Surface and Windows 8 phone and this has ended any hope of that as it is obvious Microsoft does not listen. I do not want to be trapped more like MS has been so good at doing to people lately. This (as well as Windows 8 and now 8.1) was a move purely done by developers and MS employees.  It is obvious they don't care for any 'real world' user input.  And the "fixed" start button, give me a break.

    Anyway, sorry for the rant but I, like many others in the comments, am pretty angry.  I NEVER EVER post comments on anything and have very few, if any (can't think of any), forum accounts so that should give you a good idea of how I really feel.

  • adhams
    0 Posts

    "Our goal is to delight every person who uses SkyDrive, every minute and every day they use it, so that they are customers for life"

    If that's really your goal then reading the comments on this post or simply googling "Windows 8.1 SkyDrive without Microsoft Account" will show that you've failed miserably because you've alienated a substantial user base who were using SkyDrive with a local account and have no interest in switching to a Microsoft Account!  And why would you ever take out this feature??  You could have your "deep integration" and all the handy dandy "smart files", etc. while leaving this feature alone (i.e. let the user decide which services they want to individually tie to SkyDrive instead of trying to shove the Microsoft Account login down their throat) Haven't you guys learned ANYTHING from the whole start button debacle?  With the insane amount of competition in this space from the likes of dropbox one would think you'd think a 1000 times before making a change that will alienate so many users!

    - A not-so-delighted SkyDrive user.

  • One more thing. I don't recall there being an option to not sign in with a Microsoft account when upgrading to 8.1, perhaps I missed it, but anyway, I did sign in with a Microsoft account during the upgrade (not that I wanted to) and then disconnected the account and reverted to a local account. Now in all my folders that used to be synced with Skydrive in Windows 8 I have two files for every single original file: 1 file with the original name that is "Available online only," I guess this must be one of the "smart files," and another file which is available offline that has the original filename plus my computer name.

    Now I obviously don't want the file that is only available online so I need some way of deleting them all, and I want to keep the actual file, but I don't want it left with a stupid filename that includes my computer name! Can Microsoft please give me a nice tool to clean up the mess they have created? Or am I going to have to write my own script to do their work for them!

    Pretty angry with Microsoft right now ...

  • Major problem in 8.1: File History no longer backs up the Skydrive folder and there is no way to change that behavior.  Yes, Skydrive has a Recycle folder that retains copies of Office files only and for only 30 days.  That's not a backup solution - it's a sync solution and feature incomplete at that.  

    I use plenty of other file types besides (.xlsx, .docx etc.) and those are extremely important.  Not having them backed up automatically is a non-starter.

    The issue is if a user makes use of Skydrive as the single source for important files then an inadvertent change to one of them can only be reversed if the file is an Office file and error is detected before 30 days are up.

    Not acceptable.  Users do not have a real backup system unless they setup their own System Image Backup using Powershell as described in articles below:

    www.howtogeek.com/.../how-to-create-and-restore-system-image-backups-on-windows-8.1

    winsupersite.com/.../windows-81-tip-use-system-image-backup

    and run this manually when needed.

    As it stands I'll have to no longer recommend Skydrive for Joe Sixpack -type clients if they move to 8.1.  In Windows 7 we could setup an automatic scheduled backup and show the user how to use Previous Versions.  With 8.0 we could just turn on File History and let them put files they wanted available on other machines in Skydrive, knowing they were actually backed up as well as synced to the cloud.  

    Now, with 8.1 the only reasonable solution is to quit using Skydrive with this limited functionality and keep important files local but backed up with File History.  And so there's no confusion about previous versions being excluded from sync because they are not Microsoft .docx, .xlsx etc. files we'll go back to depending on Dropbox for files that must be synced to the cloud.

    Very disappointed camper here as I was beginning to look upon File History + Skydrive as something that could finally let us leave System Image backup behind for average users.  Now the only way to make this uncomplicated but secure is to use either System Image backup manually or a more sophisticated 3rd party product that will supply the needed functionality and provide clearly visible error messages the user can interpret so they know when backup is in trouble.  Or the user can expect a billed hour every time they need a backup.  Boring work for me and expensive for the client.

    Microsoft, you really do have a chance to fix this before the bad press begins to spread since 8.1 upgrades are still not widespread though they're ramping up since the release last week.  I don't understand if MS is trying to imitate Apple here by showing preference for their own Office file types, similar to the way iCloud uses Mac app silos to prevent 3rd party apps from accessing Pages, Numbers, etc. files, but at least Apple backs up 3rd party app data instead of this mess with Skydrive and File History and makes it clear whether an app's silo'ed files are backed up or not.

    All the best,

    Robert

  • I don't ever see any replies from Microsoft bloggers on these posts, but just in case someone reads the comments and considers the replies from the users, I will post my frustrations ...

    Installed 8.1 at home on the weekend. I hadn't read anywhere about the changes to SkyDrive. I had the desktop app working nicely, syncing my photos and a specific folder of videos (had to create a symbolic link) all was working nicely.

    Now I have to sign in with a Microsoft account to even access SkyDrive. Why? I don't want to, why is there no alternative? My wife and I have a shared local account. And I can't allow skydrive to sync all my files since I won't have enough space in the cloud for all my videos!

    Why does Microsoft force these changes on us? I don't want to have to re-install windows 8 to fix this problem, I shouldn't have to!

    Photos app is interesting, it shows me the folders and thumbnails of my photos but then I get the "you must sign in with your Microsoft account to access SkyDrive" These photos are on my computer! Why would I need to sign in with a Microsoft account to access my own local photos! If I open a photo in the folder in explorer with right-click open with Photos, I can see the photo, but can't go back and forward to the next photo! It is totally messed up. Just a complete shambles from Microsoft.

    Another staggeringly stupid symptom of the new SkyDrive sync method, as another user has pointed out in the comments below, is that due to the "smart files" feature where only the metadata of the file is synced automatically and the actual file is accessed on demand from the cloud, users with devices that aren't the original source device will have no offline access to those files! What's the point of that!

    Does Microsoft not do any user testing? Or do they simply ignore the cries of frustration from the users they tested with and go ahead and do it their way anyway?

    I mean seriously, you have got some pretty clever people developing Windows, but you so frequently release half-baked, broken, shambolic software. I mean you can't even sign in to comment on this Windows blog with a Microsoft account! Madness!

    All I ask is that when you come up with great (sarcastic) new updates to software or OS features you don't FORCE everyone into the new thing. Just please leave an alternative for people who have thought carefully about how they want things to work since one size does not fit all.

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Update:  It seems when you disconnect from the Internet, and you go to Open a File in Word, it tells you you won't be able to access some files in a banner in the app, however when you click Browse, it actually uses the Offline SkyDrive folders.

    If you are connected to the internet, the application hangs everytime you "Save As..." "Browser," "Open..." as it uses a URL instead (with the Desktop App uninstalled).  Why is there no info on whether or not Microsoft is preparing a fix for this.  This constant hanging is really driving people mad.

  • chaznet
    1 Posts

    If I'd known I was going to lose often-used settings in SkyDrive by upgrading to Windows 8.1, I'd have stuck with Windows 8.  Specifically, the setting to have a particular folder >notnot

  • polypse
    0 Posts

    Why would I have to change my local account to a Microsoft account to be able to use a Skydrive app? It worked perfectly well with the desktop app in 7 and 8. Bring it back !

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    FTR, these "Not Responding" Lags when using "Open" or "Save As..." in Office on a stock Windows 8.1 machine without the SkyDrive Desktop App are 100% reproducible and very noticeable especially on a slower internet connection.  If your internet is not working, then it will likely take forever and then time-out due to no connection, or simply throw an error, when it should be using the SkyDrive directory on the PC.

    This is a major issue, that needs to be fixed ASAP.  Microsoft should already have a fix out for this, so that Office is using the SkyDrive directory if this functionality is enabled.  This should have been seen by the Office team when testing on Windows 8.1.  Did no one actually try using office on a machine without that app loaded, or did they seriously think some of us would keep a redundant app installed, which provided no real functionality after the upgrade?

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    Nothing to do with Anti-Trust.  Apple requires people to have an Apple ID to access iCloud, so I don't have an issue with Microsoft requiring a Microsoft account to use SkyDrive on a Windows Machine.

    The issue comes with how Office Works with SkyDrive.  Without the Desktop App, Office 2013 is kind of broken with SkyDrive.  You have to install the Desktop App, and then it will work as intended.  It's all sorts of stupid the way this functions right now.  It makes little to no sense...

    A 26.6MB Service Application (this may not matter on a desktop, but on a Windows 8.1 Tablet with only 32GB Storage and 2GB RAM it WILL matter) when Office should be using the built-in Windows functionality.

    I seriously need to save up for a MacBook.  User experience means to much to me to keep gimping along on Windows, and paying ridiculous amounts of cash when I can get a better UX from Apple for free after the initial purchase (way lower total cost of ownership as a result).

  • anyway to install the old skydrive desktop for those who want to use it the old way???

    For me, it is Microsoft wanting to get everyone having MS accounts.... I smell an antitrust lawsuit near.... this is like when they forced you to use internet explorer in the past.... I hope they don't try to force us to use a MS account to just use windows... that would be the end of it.

    and I'm surprised of the lack of official response on the matter.

  • Could you give a single bad reason for allowing local account to use skydrive in 8.1???

    I don't know why store app in local account ... it needs ms account only but it allow user from local account to sign-in with id.... but skydrive cannot?

  • "Over the course of several updates to these apps we have learned how people want to access their files from their devices"

    obviously you haven't.

  • Wow, asinine.  I can't and won't use Skydrive anymore given the ridiculous requirement to log into your system with a Microsoft ID to use it.  What a joke.  Oh, and the irony that I couldn't use that Microsoft ID (as SSO IDs such as it are intended) to log in here to post about how stupid this decision is.

    b-bye Skydrive.

  • I have two machines on my Active Directory domain in work now that both have a "SkyDrive Sync Engine Host has stopped working" error popping up every 15-20 minutes, first from a fresh 8.1 RTM MSDN install, the second from the 8.1 upgrade that was placed in the store yesterday.

    Any clues on how to remedy it ?

  • If I can't (won't) login to my PC with a live account, then I can't use skydrive.  So I'm leaving for Mega.  

  • Lourido
    0 Posts

    I like most of the changes made to SkyDrive. I think they're great ideas. Unfortunately, not having sync progress on the folders / files in Desktop mode is a deal breaker for me. Previously, this was handled by a check mark. Now? Nothing. The only way to tell if the files actually synced to SkyDrive is by opening the full screen Skydrive app. (Which strangely enough...has sync icons.)

    P.S. To answer the question of, "Do I need to uninstall the SkyDrive Desktop App?" I didn't and everything appears to be syncing fine after the upgrade.

  • Uninstalling and unsubscribing too.... moving to Dropbox which syncs also much faster....I was VERY happy with Skydrive until this morning where i had the bad idea of update to Windows 8.1 ... Can't help to wonder what this people was thinking when killed the option to log in separately from the windows user...  really bad...

  • Nater
    147 Posts

    For those interested, there is a SkyDrive toggle to keep all files available offline, if that's how you like things to work...  This is why the Desktop App is thoroughly useless.