Editor's Note: The following MVP Monday post is by Windows Expert - Consumer MVP Arun Kumar
SkyDrive Privacy Settings at a Glance
Microsoft SkyDrive is not just a cloud storage and collaboration service. You can use SkyDrive integrated with Office Web Applications to create and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets. You do not need a local copy of Microsoft Office to create, view or edit the above file types.
With some cloud service providers, there are ambiguities as to who owns your files when you upload it to the storage space they offer. This doubt is there because they say they get the rights automatically and that they can modify and distribute the content you use via their cloud services.
Coming to SkyDrive, Microsoft does not claim ownership of the content (files) you upload to the cloud. You are the owner and you get to decide what to do with the files you upload.
If you choose to share content in the public area (with everyone) you acknowledge that anyone can use the content. If you chose to decide that you want to share the content with only few known people, you get to share only with those people. You need to know that the people with whom you share your data (files) may reuse the content. Microsoft also provides for sharing content with none – that is, you get to share the content only with you and none else.
Microsoft stores your personal data like login information. It says it needs the data for providing better service, which in this case, is offering a secure service. In its own words, “You understand that Microsoft may need, and you hereby grant Microsoft the right, to use, modify, adapt, reproduce, distribute, and display content posted on the service solely to the extent necessary to provide the service.” This means Microsoft may sometimes access your files and if it does, it will notify you about the same. Microsoft will access your data only on certain occasions and only to the extent required to provide you with the service. In other words, when you click open a file, Microsoft applications will access it to display the file contents to you and to the people with whom you share the content.
Privacy Settings in Microsoft SkyDrive
When you create a new account with Microsoft SkyDrive, you get three folders already there – Documents, Shared Documents and Photos. By default, the privacy setting for Shared Documents is “Share with everyone”. The privacy setting for “Document” is “Just Me”. This means the content in Shared Documents folder can be viewed (not edited) by everyone and the contents in Documents folder can be viewed (and edited) only by you – the owner of the account.
You can view the share settings of any folder by clicking on the folder name. When the folder loads, you can view the share settings towards the right corner of the screen.
Fig: View Privacy Settings Under Sharing
Inheritance of Privacy Settings in SkyDrive
When you create a file or sub-folder in any folder on the SkyDrive, the file or folder created automatically inherits the share settings of the parent folder. For example, if you create a file in “Shared Documents”, the file’s privacy settings will be “Share with everyone”. Similarly, when you create a folder inside “Documents”, the privacy settings will be “Just Me”.
For each file and folder, you can get two types of links:
1. Link to View only
2. Link to View and Edit
In addition to the privacy setting of the files and folders you wish to share, you can use these links and share via email or social media.
Changing the Privacy Settings in SkyDrive
For any file or folder that you create in the root directory of SkyDrive, the default privacy setting is “Just Me”. To change the privacy setting, click the checkbox preceding the file or folder name. Go to the right corner and under “Sharing”, click “Share”. You will get a dialog box that allows you to:
1. Email links to people (with an option to let them edit the file)
2. Share using social media sites (with an option to let them edit the file)
3. Create a link to let others view OR edit OR share the file with “Everyone” (view only).
Fig: Creating a Link to Let People View and Edit
To send an email, use the first option “Send Email” and enter the recipients’ address in the space provided. Optionally, you can select “Allow Editing” to let the recipients edit the file.
To share using a link to view only, click “Get a Link”. Towards the right side of the box, click “Create” under “View Only”. A text box appears with a link that you can copy to clipboard for sharing. Click the Create under “View and Edit” to get a link that allows people to view and edit the file. The last option is “Make Public”. Click the button to “Share with Everyone”. Note that the “Make Public” allows only viewing and not editing. If you want people to edit your file, you need to share the link you created under “View and Edit”.
Arun Kumar loves writing on Microsoft products and small business. He is Microsoft MVP for Windows Expert–Consumer. He runs a SEO consultancy based in Hyderabad. You can contact him at www.powercutmedia.in
About MVP Mondays
The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.