I’ve been a long time user of Dropbox to backup my files and particularly lots (and lots) of kids photos. Dropbox has also been a fantastic way to keep a bunch of electronic books / papers easily accessible so I can read them with my iPad on the road.
So when Microsoft has enhanced it’s SkyDrive service I was interested to see how the new client software stacked up against the Dropbox client. I’ve also used Skydrive to exchange presentations with Microsoft SME’s (as part of my Microsoft Community of Practice work within IBM), however it wasn’t easy to upload large files to Skydrive without the use of third party software.
I then thought I’d try to sync between the two cloud services via my Windows 7 laptop, so I’d have a realtime backup my Dropbox files as well. Rather than have two copies of the data on my laptop, I’d try out the NTFS symbolic link command which I’d used with Dropbox in the past.
I installed the Skydrive client from here. During the install, I chose the default SkyDrive folder. I wasn’t brave enough to point the SkyDrive default directory at my Dropbox folder !
Once the SkyDrive client was installed, I ran cmd (as Administrator) and changed to the SkyDrive directory. Which in my case was C:\Users\Darryl Miles\SkyDrive
I decided to choose a test director to sync, rather than all of my Dropbox folder (which is large). I chose my eBooks folder to test, so I then ran the following command:
mklink /d "eBooks" "C:\Users\Darryl Miles\Documents\My Dropbox\eBooks"
So SkyDrive was looking at the same folder as Dropbox is using to store files. I’ve noticed however that SkyDrive doesn’t seem to detect any new files copied into this folder until it’s restarted (which is fine for me, it will then start sync’ing when I restart my laptop – from time to time)
This is a pretty basic way of synchronizing two file storage cloud services. Which people will probably do more of for particular types of data, to protect them from situations such as their cloud provider looses their data… or worse still, going out of business! I’m sure we’ll see more companies providing cloud to cloud data replication services too.
Do you see Microsoft SkyDrive having any success against a very popular Dropbox service?