Microsoft Intros 200GB SkyDrive Plan Ahead of Windows 8.1, Surface 2

The OS and tablet company unveils a new SkyDrive storage option in a bid to get Windows users to park more of their data on the cloud.


Microsoft launched a new SkyDrive plan weeks ahead of the impending releases of Windows 8.1 and Surface 2 tablets.

The cloud storage service now provides 200GB of additional capacity for $100 per year. The move comes as the software giant prepares to bring out the sweeping Windows 8.1 update and new Surface 2 tablets, both of with feature deep SkyDrive integration.

"SkyDrive is the default location for saving your files," in Windows 8.1, Omar Shahine, group program manager of, noted in a Sept. 23 blog post. "We didn’t want you to worry about filling up your hard drive, so we invented smart files to allow you to access your entire SkyDrive from your device, without actually having to store everything locally."

For some perspective, Shahine offered that "200GB is enough space to take a photo, every hour, from the moment someone is born, to the day they graduate from college."

Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 buyers get 200GB of storage for two years, free of cost, along with a free year of access to Skype WiFi and free Skype calling to landlines in more than 60 countries, also for a year. Both tablets are available for preorder.

This summer, the company unveiled new enhancements that will enable Windows 8.1 and SkyDrive to work together more seamlessly and provide users with a more responsive experience that minimizes the delay that is sometimes associated with fetching files on cloud storage services. On July 22, Mona Akmal group program manager of SkyDrive apps, announced in an Inside SkyDrive blog post, that Microsoft is adding placeholder file technology to the OS.

"Placeholder files look and feel like normal folders and files" and can be edited, saved and deleted just like local files. "This means that the placeholder file is significantly smaller in size [than] the file in SkyDrive, but when you need to use it, we'll download the full file for you," she stated.

So far, the technology seems to help users stretch the on-board storage of their Windows 8.1 devices, said Akmal. "Early data in the weeks since Windows 8.1 Preview was released suggests that this architecture is delivering on the goals we set out with, and SkyDrive files are taking up less than 5 percent of the local disk space that they would have taken in the old system."

The new 200GB capacity follows SkyDrive Pro upgrades for Office 365 users. Default SkyDrive Pro account holders are now entitled to 25GB of document and file storage, compared with 7GB. The update brings added benefits for businesses that have adopted the cloud-enabled productivity software suite.

"With Office 365, you get 25GB of SkyDrive Pro storage + 25GB of email storage + 5GB for each site mailbox you create + your total available tenant storage, which for every Office 365 business customer starts at 10GB + (500MB x # of user(s))," Mark Kashman and Tejas Mehta, Microsoft SharePoint marketing senior product managers, wrote in an Aug. 27 company blog post.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...