Microsoft gifts Windows Phone users with 20GB of free SkyDrive storage

Ho ho ho! Microsoft's getting into the holiday spirit -- but the gift of SkyDrive has a few strings attached

It's that time of year again: The fun-filled few weeks when family, egg nog, and -- oh boy oh boy -- presents take center stage! This weekend, Microsoft got into the spirit and slid 20GB of free SkyDrive cloud storage space into the stockings of all Windows Phone owners, regardless of whether those owners have been nice, naughty, or some in-between shade of grey.

Microsoft has built SkyDrive into the backbone of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 alike. Windows Phones lean on the cloud service to access Office docs, automatically upload photos, and more. In other words, an extra 20GB of storage space is handy-dandy indeed. (Microsoft offers 200GB of free SkyDrive storage to new Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 owners.)

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The gift does include a few strings, however. Windows Phone owners should have received an email offering the free space; you'll need to click the link inside by January 31 to activate the gratis gigs. What's more, the extra storage is only good for one year. When the timer hits, you'll likely need to snag a premium SkyDrive subscription if you've actually made use of those 20GB -- or read up on what happens when your cloud storage goes poof.

Not a Windows Phone user? Don't fret. Check out PCWorld's guide to supersizing your free cloud storage to 100GB (or more!) to find out how you can compile a vast horde of digital storage.

This story, "Microsoft gifts Windows Phone users with 20GB of free SkyDrive storage" was originally published by TechHive.