Anyone here still using Windows Live Mesh? The service allowed you to synchronize data between multiple PCs years before Microsoft made the switch to SkyDrive as its main synchronization and data hosting service. Microsoft today announced that Windows Live Mesh will be discontinued on February 13, 2013 as a consequence of that shift towards SkyDrive. Part of what made Windows Live Mesh great on Windows and Mac OS X has already been worked into SkyDrive, Microsoft calls that the DNA of Mesh that has been brought over.
With the focus on Skydrive, the company decided to retire Windows Live Mesh in the beginning of 2013 which puts an end to the rumors about the service's future. The company has created a short list that compares three common Live Mesh tasks with their SkyDrive equivalent. While that makes SkyDrive sound like a good alternative, existing Mesh users will soon find out that a couple of features that they are currently making use of are not yet available on SkyDrive.
The most prominent feature without doubt is the ability to sync any folder on the computer, and not just files and folders that you place into the SkyDrive folder.While there are ways around this, for instance with the help of symbolic links, it is nowhere near as comfortable as just selecting the folders to sync and be done with it.
There is another issue in regards to the synchronization of files. Using Live Mesh, you can configure the system to sync data directly between PCs. With SkyDrive, you always sync using the cloud as buffer storage.
That not only limits you in terms of speed that you can achieve when you are syncing files, but also in the amount of files that you can sync. SkyDrive users for instance get 7 Gigabyte of free space, or 25 Gigabyte if they are veteran users which may not be sufficient to store all the data that you sync using Windows Live Mesh. Imagine having to sync Gigabytes of data over the Internet to sync files between two PCs that may be in the same room or apartment.
Another limitation is the inability to sync shared folders on desktop PCs. While you get access to the items using the SkyDrive website and Windows Phone, there seems to be a problem syncing those files with desktop PCs.
Windows Live Mesh included a remote desktop feature that is not available in this form in SkyDrive. Microsoft suggests to use Log Me In or Log Me In Pro for the functionality, or the built-in remote desktop feature of the Windows operating system. SkyDrive only makes available a fetch file feature that you can use to retrieve files from a remote computer if you have configured Skydrive properly before.
Microsoft responded to some of the criticism in the comment section on the Windows blog. It seems that the company is working on a solution to remove the root folder limitation that SkyDrive currently imposes on systems for a system that is providing the same flexibility as Windows Live Mesh or the third party hosting service Cubby does. Cubby not only lets you sync any folder you want, but also supports P2P syncing which makes it an ideal replacement for Windows Live Mesh for the time being. The P2P syncing is however only available between PCs owned by the same user and not different users.
Despite what Microsoft claims, SkyDrive has a long way to go to match the features that made Windows Live Mesh a popular choice in regards to file synchronization for Windows PCs. It appears that the company won't match those features before the shut down of the service, and it will be interesting to see how Windows Live Mesh users will react when their service gets shut down.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.