Microsoft Details SkyDrive Smart Files Feature In Windows 8.1 (Video)

SkyDrive “smart file” is a relatively simple concept that has the primary goal of reducing disk space.  An interesting paradox has occurred within the last couple of years.  While people’s need for disk space has increased, the available disk space on devices has decreased.  This is due to a variety of reasons but primarily demands for solid state drives (SSDs) has increased due to their better performance, impact on battery life, form factor etc.  However they  much more expensive than mechanical hard drives, and therefore we tend to see SSDs with more limited capacity in devices because they are cheaper.

With SkyDrive smart file, the full file will not be synced locally as it currently is. Instead a thumbnail of the file with relevant metadata will be synched.  This can reduce the disk space used by SkyDrive up to 80%.  You can always choose to make a file always available offline.  Although smart files are a fraction of their original size, they behave identically to any other file.  Larry Larsen on Channel 9 talk about this feature

  • redtidal

    up to 80%. this is great, especially on ultra light laptops. pictures saved are taking a huge chunk of space.

  • Kazi

    Great. So this makes huge SkyDrive spaces usable on small tablets. Excellent.

  • bauch

    Very very smart and useful. Bravo Microsoft

  • Sami M. Saif

    I see the ” Start Button ” on Windows 8.1 😀

    • Emily the Strange

      ……… I Guess you forgot to try something like the preview no? the start button has been there for months….

  • sellfxd

    That’s great I’m more concerned about my data plan then the storage on my phone tho.

    • Emily the Strange

      but its not like Microsoft is forcing you to upload to skydrive all your files, you can choose not to use skydrive at all that Windows 8.1 will always work fine.
      and if you dont want this feature for your data plan, well… there are million of people who will like to have Access to their skydrive easily, without having to download them if they dont want to.

  • jvs


  • Yuan Taizong

    I’m really excited about this feature, this makes me considering purchasing a Microsoft Surface 2 device just for the Microsoft SkyDrive storage between my P.C.’s (including Windows Phone which I call a Pocket-P.C.), I now use A LOT of different Clouds, but having SkyDrive replacing my HardDrive [SIC] would be awesome.

  • jimski27

    So now I can load 10-20GB of music on my SkyDrive and sync with my Surface or 8″ Acer tablet without depleting the available memory. That would be nice.

  • PoohGQ

    Oh…I noticed that when I had W8.1 on one of my desktops. I had “dehydrated” files in my SkyDrive folder. Scared me for a second by then I noticed the difference in the SD size and size on my drive.

    Honestly it’s a cool idea but I’ve been able to format the file on my SD folder on my notebook or desktop offline and this seems like I will always have to log on 1st to download the file.. I hope this doesn’t become another headache for MS trying to make things better and a bunch of people who never wanna progress start complaining..!!

  • Emiliano Magliocca

    now just add share sync folders between different users and it will have no competitor at all