The Windows 8.1 operating system is a step in the right direction for Microsoft for the most part. While it does not get rid of all the annoyances that shipped with Windows 8, it takes care of some and improves the system's usability in many ways.
Not everything has improved though, and one of the areas where you may notice this is Microsoft's file synchronization service SkyDrive.
Unlike before, SkyDrive is now part of the operating system and if you are using a Microsoft account, you are having access to storage automatically.
While that sounds great in theory, the integration does not replicate all the features that the desktop version of SkyDrive offers. One missing feature is the remote fetch option, which you can use to retrieve files from a remote computer provided that it is connected to the Internet.
Another SkyDrive's Smart Files feature which displays virtual representations of files on Windows 8.1 instead of the files themselves. While that includes metadata that will be used in searches that you perform on the system, you will have to download the files when you want to access them. It is possible to make all files available offline, but that requires manual work on your part.
If you do not use SkyDrive on the system, you may want to consider disabling its functionality completely to free up space in File Explorer and hide it from dialogs in the operating system. Windows 8.1 ships with options to disable SkyDrive completely on the system, so that it cannot be used anymore as storage.
Note: Even if you disable SkyDrive in Windows 8.1, you won't be able to install the SkyDrive desktop application on the system. The installer will run and exit shortly after that without installing the desktop app on the system.
You have two options to disable SkyDrive in Windows 8.1. The first requires access to the Group Policy Editor, which is not available in all versions of Windows 8.1, while the second uses the Registry to make the change.
Group Policy Editor
If you have access to the Group Policy Editor, do the following to launch it and turn off SkyDrive:
To turn it back on, repeat the process but switch the state from "enabled" to "disabled" or "not configured" instead.
This policy setting lets you prevent apps and features from working with files on SkyDrive.
If you enable this policy setting:
Users can't access SkyDrive from the SkyDrive app and file picker.
Windows Store apps can't access SkyDrive using the WinRT API.
SkyDrive does not appear in the navigation pane in File Explorer.
SkyDrive files aren't kept in sync with the cloud.
Users can't automatically upload photos and videos from the camera roll folder.
If you disable or do not configure this policy setting, apps and features can work with SkyDrive file storage.
If you do not have access to the Group Policy Editor, you can make the same change in the Windows Registry instead.
If you want to enable SkyDrive again, change the value of the parameter to 0. (via Windows Club)
Now Read: What I don't like about Windows 8.1
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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.