Microsoft unbundles SkyDrive Pro client from Office 365

SkyDrive Pro for businesses can now be installed on Windows running older versions of Office after Microsoft released it as a standalone client.

Microsoft has released its cloud storage and collaboration app SkyDrive Pro as a standalone client for Windows.

SkyDrive Pro, the enterprise cousin of SkyDrive, was announced in early 2012 and is already installed with some Office 365 subscriptions and its latest desktop license, but was not previously available as a standalone app.

The standalone client is a syncing and collaboration tool for businesses running SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online in Office 365. It's similar to SkyDrive, but SkyDrive Pro libraries can be stored on local servers managed by the company or "in a secure location in the cloud". The latter option offers 7GB storage, while on-premise configurations can vary.

Microsoft says the "standalone client allows users of SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online in Office 365 to sync their personal SkyDrive Pro and any SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 team site document libraries to their local machine for access to important content on and offline". Windows blogger Paul Thurott notes that this functionality was previously only available bundled with Office 2013.  

Office customers that have Office 365 Pro Plus, Office 365 Small Business Premium and Office Professional Plus 2013 already have access to SkyDrive Pro, so do not need to install the standalone client, which can now be installed alongside older Office versions, such as 2010 and 2007.

SkyDrive Pro replaced syncing function previously available in SharePoint Workspace 2010. The 7GB storage with SkyDrive Pro cloud accounts also bumped up the 500 MB storage that SharePoint Online MySite offered. 

The client is supported on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2012.