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:
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.
You can tell if it’s working by looking for the SkyDrive Pro icon in the System Tray, like below.
If you look under your Favorites in Explorer, you should see a SkyDrive Pro shortcut with all your files.
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.
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?
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:
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:
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.
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.