Online Backup with Windows Live Mesh

January 5, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Windows Live Essentials users have access to not only 25GB of free cloud storage but also one of Microsoft’s best free applications, Windows Live Mesh.

This tool is a method of arranging an automated live sync with your online storage and is a great way of preventing data loss in future. Images, documents and other personal files can be synchronized to your 25GB SkyDrive – and you can even create a desktop shortcut to manually drag and drop files to your online storage.

You can install Windows Live Mesh via the Windows Live Essentials installer which can be downloaded from X. Once running, click Choose the programs you want to explore option to select Windows Live Mesh to install the utility on its own – otherwise, select Install all of Windows Live Essentials.

Managing online backups with Windows Live Mesh

Using Windows Live Mesh

Once installed on your PC, Windows Live Mesh will be ready and waiting for you to configure it. You can launch the software from Start > All Programs > Windows Live Essentials > Windows Live Mesh, where the Sync a folder link should be your first stop.

In order to sync a folder of images, browse to suitable location, such as the Pictures library in Windows 7. You could select the entire folder or a sub-folder, but not that individual files cannot be synced; in order to do this you must place your intended files in a dedicated folder.

With your folder selected, click the Sync button. You will then be asked where you want to sync the folder, so select SkyDrive synced storage and click OK. You will then be returned to the main Windows Live Mesh screen where you can then expand the synced folder to check its status.

In addition to syncing your files, Windows Live Mesh can also sync your Internet Explorer favourites so that you never have to lose them again as well as your Microsoft Office email signatures, styles, templates and custom dictionary.

Creating a Desktop Link for SkyDrive

Although your SkyDrive is easily accessed via your Windows Live account and you have now setup Windows Live Mesh to quietly sync your folders to your remote storage, you might prefer some direct access to the 25GB of storage that is sitting in the Microsoft cloud.

While there is no way of doing this within Windows Live Mesh, you can add this using software called Gladinet. Visit www.gladinet.com/p/download_starter_direct.htm to download a suitable version of the tool for your Windows version (Gladinet is available in 32-bit and 64-bit versions).

Once the 12.5MB download is complete, run the MSI file to install the Gladinet Cloud Desktop free version on your PC. Note that it requires the latest version of Microsoft .NET Framework to run. After installation, click through the configuration screens until you come to the Mount Cloud Storage screen. Click the Add My Cloud Storage Account button and then in the Mounting Virtual Directory wizard select Windows Live SkyDrive from the Storage Provider: drop-down menu.

You can specify your own Virtual Directory Name or use the default, and when you’re happy with it click Next to enter your Windows Live ID (which takes the form of an email address, such as device@live.com or device@hotmail.com). Enter your password and click Next – the virtual directory will be created over the course of a few minutes, and will be accessible from My Computer as a standard network drive!

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