Make SkyDrive a Virtual Drive

Microsoft offers everyone who registers with their free Live service for email, websites, and instant messaging, storage space of up to 25 gigabytes. That’s plenty of room to store thousands of files including photos, you mp3 backups, documents and more.

The space is known as SkyDrive, its disk space in the cloud, see? However, it has several shortcomings not least the way you have to upload and retrieve the files you wish to store. So, in steps Gladinet. This free tool (a Pro version with more features is available) essentially makes your SkyDrive account into a virtual drive on your desktop so that you can access it right from within Windows Explorer. It “mounts” your SkyDrive account on your system, in other words.

One of the major limitations of SkyDrive (until now) was that you couldn’t add whole folders at a time. Gladinet gets around that problem, although it doesn’t work with public folders (Gladinet is only in beta).

Hook up your SkyDrive mounted using Gladinet to a backup tool, such as SyncBack or Microsoft SyncToy, and you may have a free alternative to Carbonite and other online backup systems. Incidentally, it’s always worth keeping an offsite backup as well as a backup of your data on CD, DVD, thumb drive, or external hard drive.

Gladinet also works with Google Docs (there is a tool for allowing you to use your 7 Gb of GMail space as a virtual drive too), PicasaWeb, and Amazon S3 accounts.

At the time of writing, the Beta 2 version of Gladinet was scheduled for release at the end of March 2009.

Author: David Bradley

Freelance science journalist, author of Deceived Wisdom. Photographer and musician.