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Windows 7: What is "The Cloud" and does Windows 7 have it?

29 Jan 2014   #1
Marty McFly

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
What is "The Cloud" and does Windows 7 have it?

I've been looking into Windows 8 recently to see if I like the look of it, and I keep hearing people talking about "The Cloud". Apparently Windows 8 is powered by "The Cloud".

I find this all quite disturbing because everyone is talking about "The Cloud" as though it's a familiar Windows feature, but I have honestly never heard of it before.

So first of all… what is it? And does Windows 7 have it? And if it's brand new to Windows 8, why do all the official "Welcome to Windows 8" videos not even bother to explain what it is?

(By the way, my opinion of Windows 8 is that frankly I hate the look of it. And are they seriously embracing touch screen monitors? Why!? I mean is there anything you can do with a touch screen that isn't 100 times easier with a mouse?)

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit

It enables you to back up all your data to a server incase something happens to your PC:)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #3

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Marty,

"The Cloud" is for SkyDrive, soon to be called OneDrive instead.

It's basically just a network hard drive on the internet (Microsoft servers) that you could use for file sharing, save files to, and be able to download them from the SkyDrive on any computer. The links below can help give you more information about SkyDrive.

SkyDrive/OneDrive is just another option to use or not use. It's not required. If you would like to use it, then you would need a Microsoft account to sign in to SkyDrive with.

In Windows 8.1, SkyDrive is fully integrated by default.

In Windows 7 and Windows 8, you could use SkyDrive online at, or use the SkyDrive Desktop app.

Please let me know if you have any further questions about it. :)

My System SpecsSystem Spec

29 Jan 2014   #4

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit

The cloud is basically File sharing servers that you upload files to manually or automatically using SkyDrive/ OneDrive desktop,
Microsoft rechristens 'SkyDrive' as 'OneDrive'
With the "Cloud" you can access any files you choose to upload to OneDrive,

Touch screen apply to mostly tablets and cell phones which do not have a mouse option for the most part,
I'm sure others will have other resources for you to look at,

A good example of a way to use Skydrive/ Onedrive,
I uploaded this file to skydrive,
I view the Original file,
I right click it and click on Copy,
And Paste it here,

I can do this on just about any website forum or email message,
The links stay until a website administrator removes it,
If I move the file in Skydrive the link will be broken and the Image will not appear here or anywhere I pasted it,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 10 Pro x64

Additional info...

Cloud computing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cloud computing is a phrase used to describe a variety of computing concepts that involve a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network such as the Internet.[1] In science, cloud computing is a synonym for distributed computing over a network, and means the ability to run a program or application on many connected computers at the same time.
The phrase also more commonly refers to network-based services, which appear to be provided by real server hardware, and are in fact served up by virtual hardware, simulated by software running on one or more real machines. Such virtual servers do not physically exist and can therefore be moved around and scaled up or down on the fly without affecting the end user, somewhat like a cloud.
In common usage, the term "the cloud" is essentially a metaphor for the Internet.[2] Marketers have further popularized the phrase "in the cloud" to refer to software, platforms and infrastructure that are sold "as a service", i.e. remotely through the Internet.
Typically, the seller has actual energy-consuming servers which host products and services from a remote location, so end-users don't have to; they can simply log on to the network without installing anything. The major models of cloud computing service are known as software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service. These cloud services may be offered in a public, private or hybrid network.[3] Google, Inc. is one of the most well-known cloud vendors.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

What is commonly referred to as "the cloud" is simply storage and programs that are not directly connected to your computer but instead are typically accessible by internet. There are advantages and disadvantages to this. If you lose a PC, you lose everything that is on it (until you can get a backup running anyway). If you have a file on your pc, but you don't have the pc with you, you can't usually get to that file. If you have data in the cloud, (for example, on a commercial cloud storage service) you can typically get to it using any compatible computer from anywhere with internet access. Or if you use cloud software to create documents, you can do that from anywhere. The downside of this is that large amounts of data are very slow to upload and download to the cloud (unless you have much better than average internet service), you also trust that the cloud service is going to always be there so your things are accessible, and you also trust that your files are safe from being seen by others while in the cloud.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #7
Marty McFly

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Thank you to everyone for the (very comprehensive and detailed) answers! :)

Well I am certainly familiar with this kind of service, and it isn't a new thing at all. What I find confusing is why I have never heard the expression "cloud" before now? It must be a fairly recent term because up until a few years ago I was working in professional web development and IT and used plenty of hosting servers and never once came across the term "cloud".

So why does Microsoft presume "the cloud" is a familiar term even to lay people who don't know about servers? I mean Windows 7 never makes reference to online servers. And none of the big websites ever make reference to their servers (I have seen a few "server down for maintenance" errors but never one "cloud down for maintenance" error.)

So I can only presume "the cloud" has just somehow become common knowledge via word of mouth and the media and I was the last to know?

So, to clarify, when they say "Windows 8 is powered by The Cloud". What they mean is "Windows 8 will not work unless you have Internet access."
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #8

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Yeah, while SkyDrive has been around for awhile, the term cloud hasn't really taken off or known as well until Windows 8 was introduced, and especially after 8.1.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Yes, it has become common marketing hype. While it may have been around for a while, it has just recently become quite popular with the mainstream, and just recently there are now a million places offering cloud service. This may be because upload speeds for most have been too slow until now (and in my opinion, still are WAY too slow for things such as full system backups). Also, Apple has helped to make it popular with its icloud, and Google with their services, so it isn't just a Microsoft thing. The proliferation of tablets and smart phones has also made it more popular.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2014   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 10 Pro x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Marty McFly View Post

So, to clarify, when they say "Windows 8 is powered by The Cloud". What they mean is "Windows 8 will not work unless you have Internet access."
Not exactly, you can still use windows 8 the same way you can use windows 7 without internet access.

"Powered by the Cloud" is marketing talk, basically anything using a "Cloud" service is meant to give you access to what you put in the cloud from just about any other device that can access the cloud.

Chromebooks rely on internet access a lot more than windows 8 does.

Chromebook - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Chromebook is a personal computer running Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are designed to be used while connected to the Internet, though there are a variety of apps that can be run offline. All the data is stored in the "cloud" accessed by an internet connection. A Chromebook is an example of a thin client
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 What is "The Cloud" and does Windows 7 have it?

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