A few months ago, Microsoft introduced free online file storage through their Windows Live service, called Skydrive. In December 2008, they upgraded it from 5GB to 25GB of storage (read more here), with reports that they’ll give you even more space once you hit the 25GB limit.
Considering how much other services are charging for online storage space, Microsoft definitely gave us something great with all this free storage. In fact, you can even use it to share photos with friends and family (or anyone, for that matter), if you’re not a Flickr user, or just have more photos to store and share than Flickr’s free account will allow. However, as is usual with everything Microsoft does, there is a downside…
As you can see from the picture above, you’re allowed to upload exactly 5 files at a time. Considering many of us have digital photos–not including all our other files–in the thousands, this creates a bit of a problem. A way around uploading 5 photos at a time would be to put multiple photos in a single zip file, and then upload 5 zip files at a time. However, as you can also see in the above photo, no file can exceed 50MB. Assuming each photo averages about 5MB, you’re still looking at only uploading around 50 photos at a time… and they’ll all be inside zip files, which makes sharing them and viewing them more of a hassle.
As you can probably tell, this makes using Skydrive just about useless. It’s on par with winning the lottery, and being told you can only purchase 5 items at a time, with a max $50 limit per item. Thanks, Microsoft, you almost got it right, once again.
Fortunately, this is where Gladinet comes to the rescue. It’s a free utility that creates what is basically a non-existent drive on your computer–inside your My Computer folder–which they label the Z: drive. I call it non-existent because the drive is only available while Gladinet is running, and inside it, you’re not viewing files that are saved on your hard drive, but files saved to Skydrive.
After you install Gladinet, you’ll see a new folder inside My Computer, under Network Drives. When you open this folder, you’ll see all the folders that are online in your Skydrive account. The interface lets you easily browse through the folders to get to files, but even better, it lets you upload files simply by dragging and dropping as many as you like over to the Skydrive folder of your choice (i.e. Pictures, Documents, Public, etc…).
It will take some time, depending on the number of files you transfer and your upload speeds, for the process to complete, but just give it time to work. I’ve found that it’s best to do this before bed, because it totally bogs down my internet bandwidth (the same thing happens anytime I upload to any online service).
If you’re interested in keeping track of upload progress, you can right-click on the Gladinet icon down by your system clock, and click on ‘Task Manager’…
A new window will pop up showing total tasks, as well as progress for each file. As you’ll see, only 5 tasks at a time will run–the same number as you’re allowed via the Skydrive Uploader like I mentioned above–but it’ll all be automated, so once each task (file upload) finishes, new ones will begin.
All you have to do now is sit back (or go to bed) and wait, while Gladinet takes care of uploading your files for you. When it’s finished, all your files can be accessed wither through the Z: drive on your computer, or via your Windows Live account.
Windows Live Skydrive: http://skydrive.live.com
Update: I just discovered that you can right-click an image on a web page, go to My Computer, browse to the whichever folder on the Z: drive that you’d like, and save the image directly to Skydrive.