Microsoft SkyDrive users: claim your free 25GB

Microsoft SkyDrive users: claim your free 25GB

Summary: Microsoft updated its long-running SkyDrive cloud-based storage system this week, but the improvements came at a cost: Microsoft slashed its 25GB of free online storage to only 7GB. However, more than 100 million existing SkyDrive users need not lose out.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

Microsoft updated its long-running SkyDrive cloud-based storage system this week, but the improvements came at a cost: Microsoft slashed its 25GB of free online storage to only 7GB. However, more than 100 million existing SkyDrive users need not lose out. By logging on to the service now, they can claim a free upgrade to 25GB, which means they don't lose out.

This is important because SkyDrive is being integrated into Windows 8.

For the first time, Microsoft is allowing SkyDrive users to buy extra storage, and 20GB costs $10 per year. Google charges $2.49 per month for 25GB, which is almost $30 per year, while Apple charges $40 per year. Getting 25GB free on SkyDrive is therefore a good deal.

SkyDrive is also competitively priced for users who need 100GB storage. That amount costs $50 per year on SkyDrive, $60 per year on Google's Gdrive ($4.99 per month), and $199 on Dropbox ($19.99 per month). Apple charges $100 per year for half as much iCloud storage: 50GB.

How many people need that much online storage is open to doubt. Microsoft justified its reduced storage offering in a blog post (Making personal cloud storage for Windows available anywhere, with the new SkyDrive) that said:

"We chose 7GB as it provides enough space for over 99 percent of people to store their entire Office document library and share photos for several years, along with room for growth. To put things in perspective, 99.94 percent of SkyDrive customers today use 7GB or less – and 7GB is enough for over 20,000 Office documents or 7,000 photos. Since the current base of customers using SkyDrive tilts towards enthusiasts, we are confident that, as we expand the range of people using SkyDrive, this 7GB free limit will prove to be more than enough for even more people."

Graph showing storage used on SkyDrive

As well as being accessible from browsers, SkyDrive also works from Windows Explorer on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Vista, which has naturally annoyed the laggards still stuck on Windows XP. With Explorer, users can drag-and-drop files of up to 2GB to and from SkyDrive.

Microsoft has also released SkyDrive apps for Windows, Windows Phone and Apple iOS devices, and is releasing a new "preview client" for Mac OS X Lion. Android users can download existing apps such as Browser for SkyDrive, Cloud Explorer for SkyDrive, Portfolio for SkyDrive and others.

SkyDrive now includes some features from the Live Mesh synchronisation service, which has long been part of Microsoft's Windows Live suite. However, Live Mesh enabled users to synchronise files across Windows PCs, phones and Macs without also depositing them in a cloud. Since SkyDrive allows remote access to your desktop PC, and lets you "fetch" any file from a Windows PC, perhaps Microsoft doesn't think Live Mesh is needed any more.


Topic: Tech Industry

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

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  • When they provide an Android client so I can use it as universal cloud storage, I'll sign up...
    Manek Dubash
  • Yep I got free upgrade
  • @Jack,

    Thanks for the tip. I was able to claim my free 25 Gig upgrade, although I must confess that I don't recall signing up to Skydrive in the past. Certainly, I have no data up there yet!

    Do Hotmail/Windows Live customers get treated as existing Skydrive customers I wonder?
  • Actually, I did have a few photos up there, so I must have registered at some point in the past. They were taking up so little space though that the Skydrive page told me that I was using zero percent of my allocation!
  • I'm glad I routed my .com and live/hotmail through my address because that was the only one offering the free upgrade. The other two are limited to 7gb already.
    roger andre
  • MICROSOFT IS A LIAR. All of our family members have hotmail and we have only 7 GB of space in our skydrive. There is not free upgrade available either.

    We re using Google Drive now. It's much easier to upload files and folder and Google DOES NOT MISREPRESENT THEIR PRODUCTS LIKE MICROSOFT DOES.
  • What do you mean by routed your .com through ? How do you do that ?

  • Sadly the upgrade offer has expired.
  • Cindy; there was a time limit on the offer - that's what "for a limited period" tends to mean
    Simon Bisson and Mary Branscombe
  • Getting back your 25 GB....

    Being too late for saving your 25 GB? Despite the limited period maybe this could help:
  • Alternative 25 GB Offer

    An alternative to SkyDrive for 25 gb:

    If you reg with a .edu email you'll get 25 gb total [15 gb default + 5 gb for using my referral link + 5 for having a .edu email]