Q&A: SkyDrive alters behavior of email attachments

Q: Several members have of our organization have had trouble recently using attachments they’re received with email. It now appears that the problem is caused by Microsoft’s SkyDrive which is apparently included as part of a Windows 7 package.

As I understand it, SkyDrive is primarily intended as a means to save folders in the “cloud” on a personal, shared, or public basis. Some online storage is provided without cost. So far, so good. But SkyDrive also adds an App to Word which has a dramatic effect on attachments received with email.

If you click on the name of the file when viewing an email message that contains attachments, the attachment is copied to the cloud and you have to click on Edit in Browser if you want to work with it. If you want the attachment on your own computer, you have to click on Download to get it. Apparently there is no way to avoid this App or to remove it if you use Windows 7.

There seems to be a lot of ignorance about the use and effects of SkyDrive among our Windows 7 users. I think a knowledgeable explanation in layman’s terms would be a great help.

A: While I’m not a SkyDrive user myself, I use Gmail which has similar functionality with Google Docs. If I click “View” on an attachment, it opens in Google Docs (in the cloud). If I click “Download” it saves to my computer and I can edit/open with whatever software I want.

So I guess my recommendation is this. Either get used to using the Download function from here forward or configure the Windows Essentials to uninstall SkyDrive. Here’s a quick link that tells you how you can uninstall one (or more) of the Windows Essentials programs:

Windows Live Essentials Help Center: How do I uninstall one or more Essentials programs?