Tip: Skip Skydrive Initial Sync when Installing It on a New PC

Did you buy a new PC recently? Perhaps you are hopping on the Windows 8 bandwagon and have got yourself a new touchscreen PC? Do you use SkyDrive, and more specifically the SkyDrive (desktop) application? Do you have a PC with sync-ed SkyDrive application and a USB drive? Read on for a tip that may save you time and money.

Ed: I explain the following for a Windows PC, but it should be applicable for Macs as well.

If you use the SkyDrive service and have a lot of data stored there, you will notice it will take a lot of time to complete the initial sync when you install it on a new PC. Not just that, if you have 10-15GB of data stored there like I do, it will also chew up your data quota very quickly which would be a problem on networks with data caps.

I was recently in that position and I did the following to bypass the initial sync. Hope this helps.

Install the SkyDrive desktop app on the new PC: As usual, just go to and get the desktop app and installed it. Make a note of the designated SkyDrive folder. This is usually C:\Users\<username>\SkyDrive.

SkyDrive folder
SkyDrive folder


As soon as the installation completes, go to the system tray and exit the SkyDrive app by right-clicking and clicking Exit.

Exit SkyDrive application
Exit SkyDrive application


Then, on the other PC/Mac with sync-ed SkyDrive app, insert the USB drive and copy the contents of the entire folder except the “.lock” file to the USB drive.

After the copy task completes, attach the USB drive to the new PC and copy the entire contents from the USB drive to the newly installed SkyDrive folder location.

Once that copy task is done, you can restart SkyDrive app on the new PC by going to Start and entering “SkyDrive”. The application will take a few seconds to sync up and will notify you that it is up to date.

That’s it. Time as well as precious bandwidth saved.


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Romit Mehta

Romit writes about mobile news and gadgets, and is currently a Windows Phone owner (Nokia Lumia 920). Find him on twitter @TheRomit. Personal site is