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Dropbox vs. Skydrive

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As many of you may know, I’ve been a HUGE advocate of Dropbox over the years.  You get a free 2GB of offline storage, which can be upgraded if you ever need more space.  The greatest benefit of the service, however, is that it is automatic.  I save files on my local hard drive, and they are automatically synced to my online Dropbox storage.  That’s huge.  I’m currently subscribed to get 100GB of storage from them, and it costs $199 a year.  We store our entire collection of family photos, videos, files, etc. in there, with the confidence that if something terrible happened to our computers (or our house), our data would be safe.

Now, some of you just balked at that price.  $199 annually seems like a big chunk of cash for 100GB of storage.  Take a step back from it now.  If your house burned down last week, how much would you be willing to pay to get all of your children’s photos back?  I’m betting that price is higher than $200.

Anyways, this article is actually a discussion of Dropbox vs. Skydrive.  Last week, I would have told you a story about how Skydrive is this service that Microsoft has had for years, and it gives you 25GB of cloud storage for free.  In fact, if you have a Windows Live ID, you already have a SkyDrive account.  But, there wasn’t a great way to sync with it.  There were some workarounds, like mapping your SkyDrive as a drive on your computer, but it was awkward, and wasn’t automatic, which is without question the greatest feature of Dropbox.

Yesterday, however, that story changed.  Skydrive now has an application that is available for Windows 7, Vista, and Windows 8, in addition to Mac.  It provides all of the functionality of the Dropbox that I’ve known and loved, plus some surprises I wasn’t expecting.

  1. All of the functionality of Dropbox, but it starts at 7GB, instead of 2GB.
  2. If you log in this week, they’ll let you keep your 25GB of storage for free.
  3. Upgrade prices are SIGNIFICANTLY less expensive than Dropbox.  Remember that 100GB I was paying $199 a year for?  Skydrive offers an additional 100GB for $50 a year.
  4. By linking your computers to your Skydrive account, you not only get online access to all of the files you stored in your Skydrive, you also get online access to all of the files on your computers that are connected.
  5. On Windows Phone, all of my files are already synced to my Skydrive account, so now I don’t have to manually move them to my Dropbox for backup.

Needless to say, this is the first time that I’ve ever dropped a service or product that I absolutely loved.  But the price and functionality of Dropbox just got destroyed by Skydrive.  I’ll be switching today.

To read more about the new features of Skydrive, you can check out the full article by Steven Sinofsky.


14 responses to “Dropbox vs. Skydrive”

  1. ArchieCoder Avatar


    The only missing point of SkyDrive is the file versionning or the recycle bin. If you delete a folder by mistake or if you’re unlucky and get a virus, you can be a bit screw.

    This is the only feature missing that I’m a bit hesitant to install SkyDrive on my desktop. As for now, I use SkyDrive for my backup and DropBox to put my files that I use day to day.


  2. nacho10f Avatar

    Think carefully.
    folders shared with you don’t show up. At least not on windows 7.

  3. Kevin Kuebler Avatar
    Kevin Kuebler

    From reading that article and some of the comments, it doesn’t quite have all of the functionality of Dropbox. Apparently the Windows Explorer integration doesn’t include any shared folders and files – just your own files. With Dropbox you get both in Windows. Hopefully they’ll add that.

    It also appears to lose some of the nice features of Mesh, like directly syncing between computers and the ability to sync specific folders. Overall though, it looks like a pretty good service.

    I’m curious about the WP7 integration though. If you have 100GB of data in SkyDrive (or even 25GB) what happens with your phone? It obviously can’t sync all of that. Can you specify what to sync to the phone? You would have the same problem with the iOS clients. You can’t sync 100GB to an iPad. Let us know when you find out. 🙂


    1. nacho10f Avatar

      Files dont get downloaded automatically to Windows Phones. you just get a list of the files and when you tap on one it starts downloading. So it will only keep copies of the files you have downloaded. When you reopen a file, though, it’ll look to see if there is a newer version of it…. On Windows Phone I cant think of anything to fix. It just works perfectly. It’s the Windows 7 client that I think still has many missing features.

  4. Matt Casto Avatar

    File versioning is huge. I hope they get it soon.

    File sharing is simple through the web, so not having the functionality in the file explorer isn’t a huge deal. In fact, it used to be that Sky Drive was the best way to share files with the public. Dropbox just updated yesterday to improve public sharing of files/folders from anywhere in your repository. Dropbox has the edge in public file sharing.

    Lots of apps on iOS also have Dropbox integration, although I’ve always been wary of entering my username/password in some unknown place. I wonder if iOS and Android app developers will also add Sky Drive integration? I doubt it.

    Plus, I have Dropbox on my Android phone. That’s the deal breaker for me.

    Don’t get me wrong, Sky Drive’s upgrade is great and I am using it. It just won’t replace Dropbox for me yet, and at Dropbox’s rate of enhancements lately. I’d say over all Sky Drive is a solid second place in the file sharing race, but there’s a huge newcomer looming (Google).

    1. Matt Casto Avatar

      I just read an Ars Technica article that linked to a list of Microsoft recommended apps that support Sky Drive. I might have to check out one or more of the Android offerings. https://apps.live.com/skydrive/allapps

  5. nacho10f Avatar

    Dropbox still has basic functionality that Skydrive is missing.
    Folders shared with you wont show up on the Windows 7 client. So having a shared folder with Skydrive is very clunky.
    No update notification. And no integration with the OS to simply right click-> Skydrive-> SomeAction.
    I absolutely LOVE taking a picture with my WP7 and being able to see it on my laptop automatically though. So thats great.

  6. Matt Casto Avatar

    Tried to download SkyDrive for Mac only to find that it requires Mac OS 10.7 (aka Lion). Booo! I’m not paying $29.99 for the downgrade to Lion.

    There’s yet another reason to stick with DropBox.

    (wow, I’m turning into such a hater)

  7. Adam Avatar

    What about Linux? No support for that either. Couple that along with other points above with the fact that Microsoft is essentially the Walmart of software companies… aka: we’ll do whatever we need to do to kill independent businesses just for that tiny bit of extra marketshare.

  8. Detlef Avatar

    I am not sure if Skydrive really support all file types. The free space discreased to 7 GByte in the last month and with the help of friends Dropbox can be expanded to (free) 7 GByte.
    But my point is “all file types” no suggested shrink of photos, no filesize limit.
    But yes – it is cheaper.

  9. Dianne Mead Avatar

    Thanks Jeff. You covered both well.

  10. Doris Sewell Avatar
    Doris Sewell

    Can someone please help me? I need to remove the files from my computer but still store them on Skydrive–is there a way to do that? After my computer is fixed, I’ll put the files back on my computer. Thank you so much!

  11. Doris Sewell Avatar
    Doris Sewell

    I hope I haven’t been a nuisance–I found it! Never mind–no problems.

  12. Suraj Avatar

    Agree that version feature of Dropbox is good, but skydrive has “Recycle bin” from where you can restore deleted files (if it is by mistake or by virus)

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