Microsoft has added smart files functionality for SkyDrive users running Microsoft Windows 8.1, allowing them to save more room on their hard drives, but still retain access to documents and pictures.

Rather than storing the whole contents of the file on the drive, smart files store a smaller, placeholder file on the device with some of the key information and a thumbnail, allowing for quicker access and retrieval later. Once needed, they are then fully downloaded from SkyDrive.

Microsoft said that, based on its Windows 8.1 preview testing, most people take up as much as 80 percent less disk space than they would if they weren’t using smart files. Smart files also act like normal files, despite being smaller, so will show up in search queries carried out on the machine too.

➤ SkyDrive introduces smart files in Windows 8.1 [Microsoft Inside SkyDrive]

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