A Windows desktop is like a view into a user's computing soul. There are users who like to keep their desktop clean and ready as a primary workspace, with little, if any, clutter or color. Then there are users who use their desktop as a repository of everything they do, see, or need from their computer.
Today's How-To is directed at the users who feel lost when moving from one PC to another because their links and digital life has to move and adjust each time they do. Now, with just a little planning and fore-thought, a desktop packrat can sync their digital life through the cloud and feel at home on any configured PC.
In order to make this work, you will need a Windows PC with either Windows 8.1 or any version of XP, Vista, or Windows 7 along with a cloud-syncing service like SkyDrive, Google Drive, or others.
Desktop syncing setup
For the purposes of the primary example, we will use Microsoft's SkyDrive as it is available on most Microsoft operating systems and is easily available to anyone who has a PC.
- First, locate your SkyDrive folder and create a new folder inside. You can name the folder anything that is easily identified as your new synced desktop.
- Now, access File Explorer. In Windows 8.1, open the This PC and find your desktop folder or on other Windows OS versions follow the file tree of Computer > Users > [your PC username] > Desktop.
- Open up the Properties menu for the Desktop folder by right-clicking.
- Select the Locations tab.
- From the locations tab, select Move..., which will open a new menu.
- In the new menu, select the folder that was recently created in your SkyDrive folder.
- Click Apply and allow Windows to move everything to the new folder.
Once this is complete, your desktop files should now be located within the new folder on your SkyDrive and available to other PCs through the cloud.
Desktops in the cloud
Now that you have located your primary desktop on your SkyDrive or cloud account, you have the ability to connect to these files from any cloud-enabled PC. The process is simple to add new PC by simply repeating the steps used to create the primary cloud desktop and making sure to point each new PC to the same cloud-drive desktop folder.
In order to make sure all of your links and programs are compatible with this new change, you will have to make sure that programs and files are located or installed in the same locations on each PC. In most cases, this will not be an issue, but be aware that cloud-saved shortcuts will use the same file pathway across all PCs and will not work if programs or files are not where they should be.