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Todd Klindt's home page > Todd Klindt's Office 365 Admin Blog > Posts > What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013 and how does it relate to SkyDrive?
February 09
What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013 and how does it relate to SkyDrive?

Edit: In January of 2014 SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro were renamed to OneDrive and OneDrive for business..

One of the exciting new features of SharePoint 2013 is a feature called “SkyDrive Pro.” This new feature has probably created as much confusion as excitement. In this blog post I hope to clear up what SkyDrive Pro is, and what, if anything, it has to do with the other Microsoft product, SkyDrive.

Let’s start with the “Too long, didn’t read” part. Then we’ll get to the gritty details and pretty pictures. SkyDrive Pro has absolutely nothing to do with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage system. The “SkyDrive” part of SkyDrive Pro is simply a marketing term, nothing else. The idea they were trying to relay was that SkyDrive Pro was a way to store files, in the cloud, on a server, like SkyDrive, but it’s not on Microsoft’s servers, it is on your own. It’s for Professionals. SkyDrive Pro is just a fancy name for the Documents library in your MySite. That’s the short story, SkyDrive Pro just a marketing name, nothing more.

Now, let’s look at where SkyDrive Pro shows up in SharePoint 2013. If you’re using SharePoint Server (as opposed to Foundation) and the User Profile Service is installed, configured, and working (that can be a stretch sometimes) you’ll see a link to SkyDrive Pro at the top of the ribbon, like this:

2-5-2013 3-44-00 PM

This is a screenshot from an on-premises SharePoint 2013 installation. For maximum confusion, the link to SkyDrive Pro is in the upper right is SkyDrive ,no Pro. Grrr! If you click the SkyDrive link, it doesn’t take you to SkyDrive, but it takes you to Documents library in your MySite, as that’s all SkyDrive Pro is.

We’ve covered (three times now) that SkyDrive Pro is just a fancy name for your MySites Documents folder. Like SkyDrive you can sync the contents to your local file system. If you have the Office 2013 clients installed you’ll see a “Sync” button underneath your name in the upper right. When you click it the sync process is started. SkyDrive Pro, while being your MySite Documents library, is also the name of the technology that syncs SharePoint 2013 to your desktop. You’ll see this when it asks you to verify which library you want to sync.

2-5-2013 3-46-06 PM


You can tell if it’s working by looking for the SkyDrive Pro icon in the System Tray, like below.

2-5-2013 3-45-34 PM

If you look under your Favorites in Explorer, you should see a SkyDrive Pro shortcut with all your files.

2-5-2013 3-47-31 PM

Since it’s a true sync, if you create or drag a file over to the SkyDrive Pro folder, it will be synced up to SharePoint, to your MySite Document library. Here’s how it looks all synced up.

2-5-2013 3-50-27 PM

That’s all pretty cool, but we don’t always keep a lot of documents in our MySite Docs, err, I mean SkyDrive Pro. Wouldn’t it be great if we could sync every library in SharePoint?

We can!!!

The SkyDrive Pro sync technology works for all (at least all the ones I’ve tested) libraries in SharePoint 2013. If you have a compatible client on your system, the Sync button will appear and it will work the same as it did with SkyDrive Pro. The non-SkyDrive Pro locations show up under Favorites under the SharePoint heading, like this:

2-5-2013 4-03-45 PM

You can edit files from Explorer just like you can in SharePoint. Use whichever way is easiest for you. The SkyDrive Pro technology will keep them all synced in the background. If you delete a file via Explorer it appears to actually Delete the file instead of Recycle it, so it will skip the 1st stage of the Recycle Bin and jump right to the 2nd Stage, or Site Collection Admin Recycle Bin.

When I was working on this blog post I was asked if you can sync to both SkyDrive Pro and SkyDrive on the same machine. Indeed you can. Here is photographic proof:

2-5-2013 10-46-03 PM

Again, the vein of maximum confusion, the SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro icons are the same.

Hopefully this has demystified SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, and why we should wash our hands before we eat. If I missed anything, leave me a comment below and let me know.




Q) What file types can I sync?
A) You can sync any file types that you can upload to SharePoint. You can sync a DOCX file, but you cannot sync an .EXE file unless your SharePoint administrator has foolishly allowed it. In that case you should upload "You should be fired immediately.EXE." You also cannot upload any files that are larger than the maximum upload size for the web app you're syncing to. Finally, you cannot sync files to a document library you don't have access to. That would be cheating, wouldn't it?


Q) When I sync to multiple locations I get weird names like "SkyDrive Pro @ Contoso" and "SkyDrive Pro @ YourMama" and I don't like them. Short of using White Out on my screen, how can I rename them?
A) If you click the offending name in the Favorites list and push the F2 key you can rename the shortcut to whatever you want. I recommend, "SkyDrive Pro Rocks" or "Todd is my hero."


Q) I have the worst luck. I broke a mirror a couple of years ago and now I'm stuck with SharePoint 2010. I don't know when I'll be able to enjoy the glory that is SharePoint 2013. Can I still use SkyDrive Pro? Pretty please?
A) Your luck is starting to turn around. SkyDrive Pro will sync with SharePoint 2010 libraries as well as it does SharePoint 2013.
A) Sadly your luck is back to being crap. I recently sawa Microsoft article that very clearly says SkyDrive Pro will not work with SharePoint 2010. Now, I've seen it work myself, and I quit drinking a long time ago, so I trust what I'm seeing. But Microsoft says it won't work, so I suppose you shouldn't do it.


Q) I have bad luck too, even worse than that last guy. Not only am I not using SharePoint 2013, but I don't even have Office 2013. I'm stuck with Office 2010. Can I still use SkyDrive Pro?
A) You sure can. You can download the SkyDrive Pro client separately and it will run along side Office 2007 or Office 2010. It's truly magic.

Q) You keep mentioning SharePoint Server. Does SkyDrive Pro work with SharePoint Foundation?
A) Sadly, no. Well, it might work for you with Foundation, but Microsoft doesn't test for it. If you got it working with Foundation and then it quit working don't go crying to Microsoft. They told you it wouldn't work.



Edit 5/21/2013: Added FAQs from the comments.

Edit 10/17/2013: Added bad news about SharePoint 2010 support and Foundation support. It was a sad day.

Edit 2/10/2014: Added note about SkyDrive's secret identity, OneDrive


File types

Thanks for this clear up. The question now is can you sync any type of file?
 on 2/10/2013 1:58 AM

multiple SkyDrive Pro sites

Great post Todd! 

I've seen other posts mention that you can have multiple SkyDrive Pro connections on your desktop and they will be differentiated using an at sign followed by a qualifier like this:

SkyDrive Pro @ ACME
SkyDrive Pro @ Contoso
SkyDrive Pro @ ThirdM

Have you had a chance to test this aspect? I wonder if the qualifier is user customizable.
 on 2/10/2013 2:35 AM


Hi Todd, Skydrive Pro looks great if you have office 2013 installed, but not so much when you have office 07/10, sp workspace is used.

Can you find a way to access docs from explorer in the above example?

 on 2/10/2013 3:58 AM

Re: What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013 and how does it relate to SkyDrive?

Alan, Colligo tools are great for Sharepoint off-line and in Explorer.
 on 2/10/2013 5:12 AM

Sp 2010

So, to confirm Skydrive Pro only works with SP2013?

Oh, and you're sure it has nothing to do with Skydrive?
 on 2/10/2013 7:04 AM

Re: What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013 and how does it relate to SkyDrive?

No, Skydrive Pro works with SP2010 as well.  And yes, nothing to do with Skydrive which only looks at (Hotmail space).
 on 2/10/2013 7:18 AM

Re: File types

I haven't poked this too much, but I would assume you can put any kind of file you want in Explorer, but only files that are acceptable to SharePoint will be synced up. This could be because of an extension that is not allowed, because the file is too large, or because you don't have permission to add files to that library. If I remember, I'll test this some. I know if you don't have permissions to add files to a library that just won't sync up. I might have tested that by accident when I was writing this blog post. :)

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 2/10/2013 10:11 AM

Re: multiple SkyDrive Pro sites

I didn't think to test this with multiple SkyDrive Pro accounts. It's just never enough for you people! I kid, I kid. :) It looks like you can rename the entry under Favorites by clicking on it and hitting F2. I was able to rename one that way. I don't think it had any impact on the syncing, but keep an eye on it.

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 2/10/2013 10:33 AM

Re: Office

I don't have any suggestions for that scenario. I haven't played with it any.

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 2/10/2013 11:09 AM

Re: What is SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint 2013 and how does it relate to SkyDrive?

I have seen demos of Colligo's stuff, but I haven't used it enough to vouch for it.

Todd O. KlindtNo presence information on 2/10/2013 11:10 AM
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