What is the «Smart files» SkyDrive in Windows 8.1
Windows 8.1 brings many changes and new features in the Windows 8 world, and some of the most important innovations you’ll find in SkyDrive. In SkyDrive for Windows 8.1 debuted a technology called «Smart files», which helps to save precious disk space while providing access to all user files. In this post you will learn what is the technology of «Smart files» and how it works.
If you look at the properties of your SkyDrive folder in Windows 8.1, you will find that the size on disk is much less than its actual size. For example, the screenshot below shows that a folder contains files with total size of 160 MB, but on your hard drive this folder occupies only 58.5 MB.
This is possible thanks to the intelligent files.
When viewing the contents of your SkyDrive folder, you will see a list of all your files and folders. In addition, in Explorer you will notice a new column, which is only available in SkyDrive. This column is called «Accessibility» and displays one of the following values: «Available offline» or «online-Only».
If you open the built-in SkyDrive app (using the tile on the start screen), you will see that some files or folders marked with a special icon (computer cloud) in the bottom right corner. Most files will not be icons.
If this icon appears, it means that the file or folder available offline. The files and folders that do not have this icon is only available online. What does it mean?
The files that are available offline, it is a regular file, copied on the hard disk, and your storage on SkyDrive. They can be used anywhere without any restrictions. The files that are available only through the Internet, can display the thumbnails and include the metadata of the original files, but their full content is not stored on your hard drive and not the Microsoft servers. Working with files is available only via the Internet, is no different from using a normal file, but before you work with them, Windows 8.1 downloads them from SkyDrive to make them accessible for viewing, editing, etc.
For example, when I open the image for editing in a graphics editor, Windows 8.1, shows the loading indicator, telling me how much time it will take to download a file.
When the download completes, the file status changes from «online-Only» to «Accessibility», and I finally can work with the image as with any other file stored on my hard drive.
How to change the availability of file and folders in SkyDrive
The accessibility of a file or folder on SkyDrive can be changed as through a conductor or through the SkyDrive app.
In Windows Explorer, navigate to the folder or file and press the right mouse button. Then choose one of the following options:
«Make available offline» – if the current availability of the file is set to «online-Only»
«Make available online only» – if the current file is available set to «Available offline».
In the SkyDrive app, click the right mouse button on the desired file or folder. At the bottom of the screen displays the app bar. Hit the «Make offline» or «Make available online only» and then confirm your choice.
SkyDrive will change the availability of the selected item.
As you can see, the «Smart file» is a very useful feature that will help save disk space to users who need it. I think most of all this feature will be appreciated by tablet users, as their devices usually have a small amount of internal memory. There are, however, a major disadvantage is that to work with your files on SkyDrive, you need a continuous Internet connection. Without Internet connection you can work only with files that are available offline.