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What's new for Windows 8 integration with SharePoint?

Does Windows 8 offer any sort of integration with SharePoint?

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Organizations that heavily depend on SharePoint may wonder if Windows 8 offers any sort of integration with SharePoint. On the surface, native SharePoint support within Microsoft's latest desktop operating system appears to be nonexistent. However, there is more than first meets the eye.

You may have heard that Microsoft made some changes to the File Explorer in Windows 8.1. Libraries are hidden by default and a link to SkyDrive appears in its place. If you choose to unhide the Libraries, you'll notice that the Libraries folder contains two Documents folders. One of these folders corresponds to the local PC while the other points to SkyDrive.

The point behind all of this is that Microsoft is trying to encourage end users to save documents on SkyDrive rather than on their local computer. Of course, SkyDrive is a consumer-oriented option for cloud storage.

Microsoft's enterprise alternative to SkyDrive is SkyDrive Pro, which is based around the use of SharePoint document libraries. These libraries can exist on-premises or through Office 365. There are several ways to get Windows to use SkyDrive Pro, including Group Policy settings and a SkyDrive Pro app that's available in the Windows Store (for apps).

Speaking of the Windows store, Microsoft recently created a SharePoint Newsfeed app for Windows 8. This app allows Windows 8 end users to connect to their SharePoint 2013 or to their Office 365 social network on the go. The app will allow end users to view posts and comments from other end users, create new posts, respond to existing posts and even upload pictures.

The interesting thing about the SharePoint Newsfeed app is that it does not provide full integration with SharePoint or full SharePoint functionality. Time will tell whether the app will prove useful since end users could just as easily connect to SharePoint from their browser and get the full SharePoint experience. Microsoft envisions the app being used on the go and snapped to the side of the screen so end users can watch SharePoint social networking feeds while working on other things.

About the author:
Brien Posey is an eight-time Microsoft MVP for his work with Windows Server, IIS, Exchange Server and file system storage technologies. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities and was once responsible for IT operations at Fort Knox. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the nation's largest insurance companies.

This was first published in January 2014

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