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Friday, August 6, 2010

Desktop Sync/Backup to SkyDrive

Windows Live SkyDrive is part of Microsoft’s Windows Live range of online services. SkyDrive is an online storage and sharing service that allows users to upload files to the online storage, then access them from a web browser.

The service currently offers 25GB of free personal storage. However, to fill up the 25GB is not an easy task. There are several browser based ways to upload files.


(1) for IE with Windows Live Upload Tools
There is a drop area in the IE browser window that you can drop individual files or a flat folder (no sub-folders). The usability is OK if you have a small set of files to upload.
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(2) for Firefox and other browser
This is a not so cool upload interface, you can upload 5 at a time and each one needs individual File Open Dialog to pick a file. This is really just for uploading one or two files. Most people will get tired when they click to the third Choose File dialog.
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(3) For Office 2010, save directly to SkyDrive
This is a good one, being able to save documents directly to SkyDrive. However, you can only save to the default special “Documents” folder. If you have photos or music or just some binary files, you can’t use this method.
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(4) Desktop Sync/Backup to SkyDrive
It would be nice if there is a special desktop folder, such as a Drop box-like folder, you can save any file types to the folder. The Desktop Sync/Backup tool will pick it up and ship it to SkyDrive. There are several benefits. For example, I have a habit to hit Ctrl-S (Save) when I am in the middle of editing a document. It is not very practical to save every time to SkyDrive. I prefer every time I hit CTRL-S, it is saving local, then the file will be picked up and ship to SkyDrive eventually. So I will have two copies, one local for fast access. One remote so I can access anytime, anywhere from SkyDrive web site.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop has a monitored folder backup feature that can get this done.   You just need to do a Backup My Folders and select the source folder as the one you would like to drop files into.

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Then pick SkyDrive.

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The default backup option is that there is a full scan at the beginning, then afterwards, if there is a change in files or folders or sub-folders, the change will be picked up and shipped over to SkyDrive.

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This way, your folder becomes a sync folder to SkyDrive.

Visit www.gladinet.com for more information.

1 comment:

tsais said...

I've got Gladinet for a few days and I feel you could extend the test period of full-version functionality a bit. A lot of things aren't working so good yet and the 3 days weren't enough to figure out some of the problems. And unless I know how to get around the problems, I obviously shy away from buying it.

Not to complain about your concept, its great! Its also apparent that your team has worked very hard at making it reliable with audit logs and very detailed task progress screens.

Here's the troubles I had using it so far:


Task management issues 1)

On tasks with multiple sub tasks, like copying a number of files to Skydrive, Gladinet lists "failed" tasks, and "processed" tasks. However, "Processed"
doesn't mean completed, it just means Gladinet has tried the task. There is no listing that confirms how many tasks have actually completed!
On large copy jobs, with frequent failures, this will drive any user batty, as there's no way to tell if you're in an endless loop of failures or if some tasks actually did get completed!

Task management issue 2)
Renamed 3 folders, created 1 new: Gladinet went through the following process 5 times:
1/4 processed, then 2/4 processed, then 3/4 proccessed displayed - then boom, all the way back down to 0/4 processed. So, the progress bars don't seem to mean the task got done, they just fill in as Gladinet spends time trying to do something, and pop back to empty if it failed at the end.

Task management issue 2a)
After 5 consecutive fails on all 4 tasks, I cancelled the task, logged into SkyDrive using the browser, and surprise, 2 of the folders did get renamed.


Folder Refresh in Windows Explorer)
After completing setup of the folders from the browser, I logged out of Skydrive there and went back to the Gladinet Folder in Windows Explorer. Even after refreshing with F5, the directory structure didn't update. No connection error was shown by Gladinet either. Obviously there must be some error if the directory structure doesn't update.

my wishes according to this:

1) Count up Tasks that are really completed, just like you do with fails and processed tasks.

2) Improve robustness over flaky connections, using some of the technologies download tools and ftp tools use. sending keep-alive commands, pings or whatever...