SkyDrive app on Windows 8.1 to get placeholder files and filepicker integration

We now have a better idea of what to expect from the SkyDrive app on the Windows 8.1 OS, thanks to a ...

We now have a better idea of what to expect from the SkyDrive app on the Windows 8.1 OS thanks to a detailed post on the Windows blog by Mona Akmal, Group Program Manager, SkyDrive apps.


The SkyDrive app on the Windows 8.1 OS will have placeholder files akin to the regular files and folders. Users can tap or click on a folder to view all files and folders within.

 SkyDrive app on Windows 8.1 to get placeholder files and filepicker integration

The goodness of placeholder files


Users can tap or click on files within the app to open them. Once done, they can then edit and then close it. Additionally on the SkyDrive app, users can move, delete, copy, or rename placeholder files. These files include a thumbnail image, some basic properties and file content. Simply put, these files are actually smaller in size than the SkyDrive files. However, when a user wants to use these files, the app downloads it entirely.


When users flip through photos in SkyDrive on Windows 8.1, the app will download large thumbnail images instead of the actual files, and to enable faster scrolling, the app will also pre-fetch thumbnails. Only if a user wishes to edit a photo the app will download the full file to the local disk.

Next up is the ability to access one’s files even in the absence of an Internet connection. On the SkyDrive app on Windows 8.1, users will be able to mark any files or folders they would want offline access to. Once done, the edits made on this device or another device will be synchronised, allowing users to work on the latest file. Interestingly, while they are offline, SkyDrive users will be able to tell which files are available for offline access.

SkyDrive app

How to save files on the SkyDrive app


Akmal explains for that the sake of convenience, they always mark files for offline access if users opened or edited them on this device before. “We do that because most people tend to open the same files they recently opened, but the files they open often vary across different devices – so we remember those files and make this unique to the device you’re using. And of course, you can also choose to mark any individual file or folder for offline access – and of course, if you’re working on a device with a lot of local storage, you can choose to have your entire SkyDrive available for offline access,” she explains.

The SkyDrive app on Windows 8.1 is built into the file picker, allowing every app on the Windows Store to save files directly to the SkyDrive app. If someone has shared pictures with you in an email, they can be saved to the SkyDrive app from the Mail app. If the user is offline at the time of saving this file, the file will be saved locally and upload it to the SkyDrive app once he is online.

Those signed in to Windows with their Microsoft account, will be able to view the app in the desktop File Explorer. Users can drag folders and files from their PC or any attached device to the app. If the user happens to turn off his device before his files finish uploading, the process will be resumed the next time he is online. Additionally, SkyDrive files show up in search results.


Incidentally, in just a week after Build 2013, Microsoft claims to have witnessed over 3TB of data uploaded to the SkyDrive app from devices running the Windows 8.1 Preview.

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