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Windows Live Mesh vs. SkyDrive

Windows Live Mesh was a program that was part of the Windows Live Essentials suite. It was a free file synchronization application from Microsoft that made exact copies of files and folders available on multiple computers. On February 2013 it was discontinued and replaced by SkyDrive, available through the Windows Essentials package. Although the programs are quite similar, it is worth knowing the features of both before the transitional period to make the change as smooth as possible. Read on to learn more about the differences between Windows Live Mesh and SkyDrive.

Windows Live Mesh allows for users to sync up to 200 folders with 100,000 files (with a 40 GB limit on each file) for PC-to-PC syncing. There is also the ability to sync up to 5 GB of files to the cloud for access anywhere and to access the desktop remotely. Finally, Mesh syncs application settings across PCs, such as Internet Explorer favourites and recently typed URLs, as well as Microsoft Office templates and Outlook email signatures.

SkyDrive has been around since 2012 and is a cloud storage service. It offers similar features to Dropbox. By accessing the service through computer or phone, users can upload files and then access them anywhere. Files can be shared with others even if they don’t use SkyDrive, or they can just be kept private. SkyDrive offers some pretty neat features like being able to fetch any file from your computer even if you haven’t synced it up, providing you have the program installed. It also synchronises with Microsoft Office and allows multiple users to work on the same file, flagging up conflicts in changes when necessary.
According to Microsoft, the switch from Mesh to SkyDrive will be a painless experience. All you need to do is make sure what you save all your files from the Mesh cloud to your computer. On February 13, 2013 it will be closed down and features such as remote desktop and peer-to-peer syncing will no longer work. Should you need help doing this, Microsoft have created a support document to take you through the steps.

Although SkyDrive does not offer a remote desktop facility like Mesh does, Microsoft are advising that you can just use the Remote Desktop Connection tool that is already built into Windows to achieve the same results. There is no direct PC-to-PC syncing with SkyDrive, which means the 7 GB cloud storage space must be utilised. This is a significant drop in storage space available (and there is an individual file size limit of 2 GB), but you can pay to upgrade. At the moment it is $10 for 20 GB, $25 for 50 GB and $50 for 100 GB per year.

SkyDrive’s pricing is competitive and the program works well and has some good features on offer. It is a shame that the storage capacity is reduced due to the cloud-only nature of the program, but apart from that it should be a smooth transition between Mesh and SkyDrive. Be sure to get your files as soon as possible, because once Mesh is taken down there will be no way to retrieve your files.


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