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Sync Any Folder to Your SkyDrive Account

If you don't want to upset your existing folder structure, here's a simple way to add folders to SkyDrive without moving them first.

Microsoft's newly updated SkyDrive is pretty cool, offering cloud-based storage that's comparable to Dropbox. In fact, some would argue that SkyDrive is even better than Dropbox.

But there's one thing about it I don't like: Any desktop folder you want to synchronized must be moved to the SkyDrive folder, and that can cause problems.

For example, for years I've kept all my music in a folder called MP3s. iTunes, Carbonite, and a couple other programs are linked to that folder, meaning if I relocate it to SkyDrive, I'll have to redirect those programs, rebuild libraries, redo backups, and so on.

Those are hassles I don't need. Fortunately, a clever coder by the name of Jan Hannemann has come up with a solution for syncing folders to SkyDrive -- without moving them first. (FYI, this presumes you have the new SkyDrive app already installed on your PC.)

All you need to do is download his "shell extension," which adds a sync option to Windows' right-click menu. There's a 64-bit version of SkyShellEx and a 32-bit version of SkyShellEx -- make sure you choose the right one. (Confused? Here's how to tell which version of Windows you have.)

Once installed, you can right-click any folder and then choose Sync to SkyDrive. That will effectively add to SkyDrive a shortcut to that folder. And in short order, the files therein should start uploading.

I've just started monkeying with SkyShellEx, and so far it's working perfectly. The only downside is that you can't tell at-a-glance which folders have been marked for synchronization or whether the files have been synced.

Still, this solves a big problem with SkyDrive, and I'm hoping Microsoft will incorporate this important (and obvious) functionality into the next release.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at [email protected], or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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