Using more than one cloud service

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Can you install more than one cloud service: Skydrive and Google Drive and Dropbox and so on?

A few readers have asked if they can run more than one cloud storage service at the same time. The questions are in two forms:



  • Using the same service with different accounts

  • Using different services on the same computer

Why do this?

A common split is between home and work needs. This could be achieved with different folders ‘Home’ ‘Work’ with sub-folders from that. But a more distinct separation is sometimes preferable for more storage and separate security. That’s where multiple accounts or cloud services comes in.

Other readers want multiple services simply because they are running out of online storage space. Rather than pay for more storage, you can have multiple free services.


Same cloud – different accounts.

Using a web interface you can have more than one account with the same cloud provider. Each login drops a cookie so you need to separate those cookies on your computer.

Do that by opening each cloud browser window in a different browser. Alternatively open the second or more cloud pages using the ‘InPrivate’ mode in IE, ‘Private Browsing’ in Firefox or ‘Incognito’ in Chrome.

It’s difficult to operate the same cloud service’s synchronization software for different accounts. Not only would you switch cloud logins but you also need a different path to the local storage.

None of the cloud sync software has a simple way to switch accounts and the local path to storage at the same time.

A workaround would be different cloud logins for different Windows logins and switch between those Windows accounts. Or use virtual machines like Windows XP mode (in some Windows 7 packs) , Virtual PC or VMware to run the additional cloud sync instances.


Different clouds

With all the different services out there, it’s simpler to run different cloud sync software on the same computer.

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As you can see, our test computer has Skydrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. That’s just the Explorer favorites! The same computer also has iCloud, SugarSync, Evernote and LiveMesh. They all co-habit quite nicely.

You’d probably choose Skydrive for your Office documents, since the Microsoft service comes with online editing of the documents. Use one of the other services for images and videos which usually take up a lot of space. DropBox has the most convenient Public folder access for sharing large files with others.


Pay for more

Here’s a radical idea … pay for additional storage . The small cost of extra cloud storage could save you a lot of hassle and switching between accounts.

DropBox is more expensive than either Google Drive or Skydrive but has the widest support across operating systems and devices. Microsoft’s Skydrive is easily the cheapest on a cost per GB basis.

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