David Papp Blog

How to Easily Share Photos With Family and Friends on SkyDrive – However Beware of “Public” Folder

Go to SkyDrive.com with your webbrowser, (it currently sends you to Skydrive.live.com as this is part of the Microsoft Live suite).

Sign up for a free account. This includes 7 GB of free storage.

You can download the SkyDrive Pro Client for Windows which allows you to easily manage your files “offline” (on your computer).

They also have a mobile app available for Windows Phone, iOS, and Android.

Sharing photos with family and friends is as simple as copying a folder filled with photos and sharing the link. However you need to be very careful of where you copy that folder. Intuitively you would think to copy the folder to the “Public” folder, however anyone in the world can then see all of the folders you have placed in Public.

The better way to better control who has access to your folders would be to copy the folders into your main SkyDrive folder. Have them alongside the default SkyDrive folders of Documents, Favorites, Public, and Shared Favorites.

You can right click on your copied photo folder and share it with family and friends by emailing them the direct link to that folder. By not having your photo folder shared in Public, it will help prevent people from easily seeing your other folders you have shared with different people for different purposes. Certainly you can make use of the Public folders if you have photos you would like to share with everyone (this would be similar to posting them on Flickr).

Note there is also a setting which allows people to edit the photos you have shared. The default appears to be allow and you want to remove this checkbox when sharing the photos.

SkyDrive automatically displays thumbnails of the photos to people and also works well on mobile devices. It also allows them to download all the photos at once or just certain ones. This appears to be quite a good solution for people who want to easily share photos with family and friends if they don’t use another alternative (facebook, google+, flickr, smugmug, dropbox, photobucket, etc). I just caution everyone to be aware of what is being shared.

I recommend you share the photos first with yourself or a close friend. Go on that different computer (where you have not installed SkyDrive) and test out the email link. Ensure it works as you would expect and it is only showing the photos you intended to share.



42 thoughts on “How to Easily Share Photos With Family and Friends on SkyDrive – However Beware of “Public” Folder”

  1. SkyDrive has really been improving a lot, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t overtake DropBox any day now.

    • I’m surprised to hear that! I have never used SkyDrive but have heard it in passing. I personally prefer Google Drive though there are some limitations to the files you can upload. However, it’s pretty convenient!

  2. Thanks for this heads up. I am currently not using SkyDrive regularly , but I do some photography and use SkyDrive to share pictures with clients prior to development. If I put it into the public drive I could have some copyright concerns. So this helps a lot.
    I am surprised that SkyDrive does not make this more clear on there site ? Surely they would be required or maybe they assume the folder public is obvious that it is public to everyone.

  3. I was using Picasa web albums for photography and dropbox for file storage. I was aware of skydrive of Microsoft but I thought it was just for saving Microsoft office documents. Why google and microsoft are so interested in cloud storage? This surely points to the huge market of cloud storage.
    Anyway 7GB of free space is more than awesome, thanks for the info. I am going to make use of that free storage. 🙂

  4. I really appreciate the instructions on how to use skydrive. I have an avid intrest in photography and I love sharing my work with my relatives. This windows program has made that a lot more efficient This article shared a lot of valid points about storage and sharing.

  5. I had an embarrassing moment with Skydrive at my job. Without realizing, my iPhone automatically synced my personal pictures folder with my entire work unit. Unfortunately, these photos contained a number of explicit images of my partner. It was called to my attention, and everyone had a good laugh about it. For sure, I thought I was going to be fired that day, thankfully my superiors realized it was a mistake, but someone else may not be so lucky. It’s something I NEVER want to happen again and warn everyone to take EXTRA precaution about.

    • Yikes! What you described is probably my worst nightmare come true. I’m glad to hear that everything worked out for you. A little embarrassment is good for the soul 🙂 .

    • OMG! I’m so glad you didn’t get fired! That’s exactly why David pointed out we should be careful about which pictures SkyDrive will share with others. It’s scary to think that someone else could see your most private pictures! And while we should always check to see which images are being shared, we sometimes don’t have the time or just forget about it.

  6. That’s quite interesting. 7Gb of online storage for free is definitely a must have. I remember signing up for something similar to skydrive. I can’t remember the name but they only offered like 50mb of storage. In today’s world of technology 50mb is a joke. They then continued sending me emails to pay for a 1gb storage space which was so expensive that I never ever considered using their sites again. Thanks for the information, I might just go now and try it out.

  7. It is great to know about another alternative to Dropbox. I had no idea you could get 7GB of free storage space with Sky Drive. Thanks for the warning about the Public folder, it is scary to think that anyone in the world could have access to your pictures. I will have to give SkyDrive a try.

  8. Like it has been said before the market of internet cloud free space, its advantages and its mishaps has been constantly growing in the last couple of years in a very accelerated manner, I kinda remember times when rapidshare, megaupload and sendspeace where the closest things we had to a cloud system or online storage/share system such as this. Im so happy to have so much to choose from now and specially if its like Skydrive who not only lets you store your content online to be access from the globe but it also has a “modify-edit” content feature also.

  9. Sky Drive once saved me in a crucial moment when I had forgotten my flash drive at home one day. I borrowed a flash drive from a friend, logged in to Sky Drive, and saved my presentation from there. I would have been really screwed without it.

    • I use dropbox a lot as well. It comes with 2 GB free and SkyDrive has 7 GB free. I like the simplicity and easy of using dropbox to manage files. However I am finding that SkyDrive allows better image viewing (on pc and mobiles) to the people you send it to and they can download selectively and all photos. I still really like dropbox though.

  10. I have never used sky drive before, but I have to use it soon for school. I will keep this in mind when using it in the near future.

  11. Thank you for the great advice on how to use sky drive. I personally have not used it yet, but will give it a try when I want to share photos, with my friends and family. I am currently using Dropbox, and Copy. Have you used either one of these? If so, which one do you like better?

  12. I think it’s great to have another online storage option. They are becoming so popular that you really don’t need to purchase the premium accounts. If you don’t mind having your files in multiple locations, you can easily have large amounts of storage space spread across several services.

  13. SkyDrive has improved since I first experimented with it. It has more free space than DropBox and includes a LAN Syncing feature. However, I feel more accustomed to the latter interface. It’s easy to use and I’m able to gain additional storage space by performing simple tasks. Overall, I’m happy with my cloud storage provider, and thank you for the “Public folder” tip.

    • When I first try SkyDrive last year I cannot get it to work because I was using windows XP. I don’t know if it is compatible now or not. I prefer DropBox it seems faster to me. Maybe I should try it out again and see how much it improved =P

  14. I don’t actually use SkyDrive. It just never grew on me for some reason. I am using Mega, Google Drive and Dropbox but I feel like I need to get into SkyDrive as well since I do use Outlook at work and it would be convenient. It’s always great to have more storage space too.

  15. I’ve never heard of SkyDrive. I’ve been using Mega for all of my file sharing needs, but this really intrigues me. 7GB of sharing? That’s a lot for free, which is why I imagine they are doing this, for this type of promotion. Thanks for the heads up, I will check it out for sure.

  16. Oh, I did not remember Sky Drive. I was really the last time on Dropbox.

    If I remember correctly, SkyDrive is integrated into Windows 8. It makes it easier and more need to carry everywhere a USB stick.

    Is there a paid service SkyDrive.

    • You can pay for the service and get more storage space, or be limited to the free 7GB.

      You can also download their app and download files on your storage to your smartphone which I think is an awesome feature.

  17. I really like DropBox but I can’t get more storage in it. I will probably transfer most of my image files to SkyDrive and save space on both my machine -and- DropBox. While I don’t have images of explicit nature, I don’t like showing personal pictures to everyone in the internet so I’ll heed your warning on the Sharing folder.

  18. I actually got caught out by the Public folder on SkyDrive, and I can’t even figure out why it’s realistically there by default. Still, you always have to be careful about privacy on the internet now – and those sort of concerns don’t stop at Facebook, it seems.

    The thing I love about SkyDrive is the 7GB free storage, though. That’s perhaps their big advantage over a service like DropBox.

  19. I just found out that I have SkyDrive because I have a windows live account. I can’t use it as much as my DropBox though just because I don’t think it has a native client in Linux. Aside from photos, I don’t get to use much of it. I might if I get a Windows machine in the future.

  20. This is my first time learning about Skydrive as although I had heard of it before, I never knew exactly what it was or did. After reading this information I will definitely try it out and see how it works for me. This might even take the place of ICloud for me. Also, thanks for the tip on the public folder.

  21. Seems like SkyDrive is getting close to Dropbox. Lately I’ve been hearing more and more about it on forums and such. The free 7GB storage is a huge plus.

  22. I actually use iCloud and DropBox for this. Especially since most of my family owns Apple devices, it’s pretty easy to share it with iCloud without any hassles and extra installations.

    I tried using Skydrive but other than the extra 2GB compared to iCloud I couldn’t really find any advantage.

  23. I haven’t tried SkyDrive yet but maybe I will pretty soon. I’ve been meaning to back up our family photos. Dropbox has the option to invite people and if they join, they give you additional free space. Does SkyDrive have something like this?

  24. I have used Skydrive only because Microsoft sort of forced me into using it on my Windows Phone when I make documents. It seems like a cool platform. I don’t find it difficult to use either, but that public folder issue alarms me a bit. Thankfully your tips have eased that worry.

  25. Great info, especially about the “public” folder. I wonder how many people have made the mistake of making their photo public that way?

    Personally, I use Google Drive and find it quite good; however, it’s always interesting to read and learn about the advantages of other services.

  26. This is a nice alternative to using facebook to share pictures. It is nice to give another company some business. We all know that facebook has way too much. Let’s spread the wealth. We could also share pictures through old fashioned e-mail attachments too. Thanks for recommending skydrive. I’ll look into using it.

  27. SkyDrive sounds interesting, however I’ll stick to Google Drive.

    Why? I currently have a free TB with them, since I bought the Chromebook Pixel! 7GB? Ha, how about 1000?

  28. Seven gigabytes of data for free sure sounds like an enticing offer! I just hope individuals haven’t posted embarrassing photos of themselves online by mistake. That would make getting rid of Google and other search engine archiving a difficult task indeed! I find it funny that there would be permission for others to edit by default, but either way, good that you mentioned this beforehand.

    SkyDrive definitely feels like it’s going to gradually augment as a reliable source of storage, at least more secure compared to the recent DDoS attacks towards Dropbox lately! Thanks for the post, David.

  29. SkyDrive is probably not a good choice to use your private files compared to DropBox or other cloud services like iCloud etc. Since there are preset privacy options, most people would not mind having their settings changed.

    There are a lot of insecurities in using SkyDrive, there is a risk having Family and Friends photos on skydrive unless you configure the options.

  30. I use OneDrive (previously called SkyDrive) a lot and I find it very useful although it’s sometimes annoying because you can’t really turn it all off if you’re using Windows 8.

  31. Before I started using SkyDrive it was changed and upgraded to OneDrive. My first thought was to backup important data with SkyDrive and get them on a cloud somewhere. Didn’t really understand the difference between a SkyDrive and a cloud storage, if there’s any.

  32. Thanks a lot for the article, this sounds like a other great option to store and share personal pictures, but as usual I’m a bit worried about privacy. This sounds like a great way to share a couple dozen pics with some relatives, but I’d not consider storing all of my personal pics in there, you never know who could end up seeing them. I always wonder if the employees could be seeing my stuff…

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