For last couple of years there has been lots of buzz about Cloud Computing. Most of the organisation you talk to about their data and they will tell you that they have moved to "Cloud"! According to Wikipedia - "Cloud computing describes a new supplement, consumption, and delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves over-the-Internet provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources." In simple term it means your computing needs are met using remote computers over the Internet. Instead of having physical devices at your end - your data is stored and processed over the Internet in remote locations. You have been using Cloud service for along time! Your Hotmail, Yahoo or Gmail Emails are nothing but cloud service. Over the last couple of years we have seen how Microsoft, Yahoo and Google has worked hard to offer general public that services through their new services like Microsoft Live or Google Apps.
Now if you login to your Hotmail - which is now been branded with Windows Live Mail - you not only get Email service but hosts of other services including Microsoft Office Web Express. With this version of Office you can create and edit your office document over the Internet without having Microsoft Office installed on your own PC. Although features are limited - but now making changes or creating a document is possible from anywhere as long as you have a PC and access to Internet.
Cloud service has also given birth to data security to a newer level. Now you can store your files to Windows Live data service which is called "SkyDrive" and can access it from anywhere provided you have PC and Internet access. Microsoft has provided huge disk space - 25 Giga Bytes of space for free. You can also increase it several Tera Bytes by paying a very minimum yearly subscription fee.
Since now you can backup your valuable files, music, video and photos in SkyDrive - I have been often asked whether it is possible to make it part of My Computer or Computer and access it as like a Physical or Network Drive e.g. Drive D: or Drive S:. Good News is it is possible. You can either create a mapping of the drive or use a free tool called SD Explorer. SD Explorer has both free and paid (Pro) version. Free version has all the features which a general user will require. But here I want to discuss how to map your SkyDrive as a virtual disk drive in your PC.
Before we start let's first understand about SkyDrive;
When would I want to use Windows Live SkyDrive?
You can use software like DropBox (http://www.dropbox.com) or Gladinet (http://www.gladinet.com) to setup access from your desktop or My Computer to directly access Skydrive instead of going through the web
Remember to backup regularly - specially your priceless photos. If you are on Social Network like Facebook or Orkut and many others - you can connect your Windows Live service to those and update status and post photos from Live service.