How I finally got Skydrive to sync on Microsoft surface RT

It was the holidays, it was my birthday and I had some extra cash as gift so I decided to spent a bit on it over a want of owning a Microsoft surface RT tablet

Like a lot of other Surface owners I quickly discovered many of its flaws but those didn’t affect me as much as not being able to connect to skydrive. I’ve googled (and even binged) the net to no avail; no one had a solution that worked for me.

Skydrive is the core reason I chose a Surface over Androids and Apples (and the magnetic keyboard over other Windows 8.1 tablets/laptops. Seriously, nothing else comes close to tempting when it comes to form and design, granted, Surface 2 is much better but meh, the price is totally out of my willing-to-spent-on budget for a tablet)

Alas, I reluctantly followed on advice to restore factory settings and it worked! But that wasn’t a magical solution that worked for everyone. So here I’m going to list down what I did to make it work and hopefully some distraught owner who has been struggling over this issue for months can finally have a peace of mind.

What I have:

1. A fully configured Windows 8.1 PC (that uses Microsoft account to sign in)

Before buying the surface, I’ve already owned a Windows 8 PC and upgraded to Windows 8.1 (according to others on the net it is safe to upgrade now) and signed-in using a Microsoft account (a.k.a your hotmail, or

I’m sorry to say that Microsoft has really forced it’s users to use a Microsoft account in Windows 8.1 and if you want a solution of NOT using a Microsoft account, you won’t find it here.  

Also, I’m not going to go through all the trouble to reinstall Vista to see if it works. Alas, this is not a techie blog, I’m just sharing a solution I stumbled upon because solution for this issue is so scarce on the net.

2. A fully updated Surface with Windows 8.1 RT

The surface out of the box had so many updates it scares me (it started an innocent 26 updates and then 64 updates AFTER 26, and then the rest I’ve lost count) but once it updates to 8.1, you won’t have to go through the horror of sitting through all those updates again even if you restore factory settings.

What I did:

1. Reformat

Open up the charm bar (the annoying side bar that many people couldn’t get used to) go to change PC settings and restore factory settings.

Choose the one that wipes out everything in your drive. (I don’t know about refreshing, if you have a lot of data you might want to give refreshing a try before wiping out everything).

2. Choose the right settings

I think what I really did wrong here was to customize settings and configure it as a new PC (old habits die hard). DON’T DO THAT.

If you already have a Microsoft account AND is using it to sign-in into another Windows 8.1 device, use –

1. Express settings

2. Configure as other Windows 8.1 devices

3. Choose to sign in with Microsoft account

And it should replicate all your settings on another PC to this tablet and that is a sign that Skydrive is being connected to your PC (because all your settings on another device are stored in Skydrive). Open up Skydrive app in Metro UI and make sure the settings for ‘View files offline’ is on and it should start syncing in a while. (It’s slower in surface but it downloads everything eventually.)

Do note that it doesn’t sync in sleep mode though.


Okay Skydrive is finally working on Surface?

Awesome! But if you’re like me who chose the 32GB version, you’d find the tablet left with no more than 16GB of storage space left and if you’re frequently working with Skydrive like me, this could be a huge issue.

I’m not going to list out all the steps on how to expand your storage (it’s all over the net) but I’m just going to say –

I used a 64GB Micro XCSD card, formatted it to NTFS (default is FAT) and I could move default folder for Skydrive to the memory card and syncing works as well, for now.