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What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Learn how to sign in to iCloud and choose the services that you want to use.

For the best iCloud experience, make sure that your device meets the minimum system requirements.

Download iCloud for Windows

iCloud for Windows lets you access your files, photos, contacts, calendars, and more on your Apple devices and your Windows PC.

Want to access iCloud’s latest features? See the recommended system requirements. If you’re not sure which Windows system you use, find out. iCloud requires an Internet connection. iCloud might not be available in all areas and features vary. If you use a Managed Apple ID, iCloud for Windows isn’t supported.

Sign in to iCloud

After you download iCloud for Windows, sign in using the Apple ID that you use on your Apple devices.

Choose the iCloud services that you want to use

After you sign in to iCloud, select the services that you want to use and click Apply.

For example, if you turn on iCloud Photos and iCloud Drive, iCloud for Windows creates new folders for those files in File Explorer. Now, the files that you add to the iCloud folders automatically appear on your Apple devices.

If you have photos on your PC that you want to see on your iPhone or iPad, upload photos from your PC to iCloud.

Learn more

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

iCloud Photos safely stores all your photos and videos in iCloud, so they’re available on all your devices.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

iCloud Photos uploads new photos and videos from your Windows PC so you can view them in the Photos app on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and on iCloud.com. New photos that you take automatically show up on your PC, and you can download them with a double-click.

Turn on iCloud Photos

Make sure that you set up iCloud on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch or Mac, that you turned on iCloud Photos, and that you’re signed in with your Apple ID.

  1. Download iCloud for Windows.
  2. Open iCloud for Windows. Make sure you’re signed in with your Apple ID.
  3. Next to Photos, click Options.
  4. Select iCloud Photos.
    What icloud does and how to access it from windows
  5. Click Done, then click Apply.
  6. Turn on iCloud Photos on all of your Apple devices.

In iCloud for Windows 10 or later, you can also choose to use Shared Albums, and customize the location of your Shared Albums folders. If you’re using iCloud for Windows 7, you can also choose to use My Photo Stream.

When you turn on iCloud Photos on your PC in iCloud for Windows 7, My Photo Stream is turned off automatically. If you want to send new photos to your devices that don’t use iCloud Photos, you can turn My Photo Stream back on.

Upload your photos and videos to iCloud Photos

You can upload your photos and videos from your PC to iCloud Photos when you follow these steps:

In iCloud for Windows 10 or later

  1. Open a File Explorer window.
  2. In the Navigation pane, click iCloud Photos.
  3. In another window, open the folder where you currently store the photos that you want to add to iCloud Photos.
  4. Select the photos that you want to add.
  5. Drag them into the iCloud Photos folder.

You can view the photos and videos you uploaded in the Photos app on iCloud.com and on all your Apple devices.

In older versions of iCloud for Windows

  1. Open a File Explorer window.
  2. Under Favorites, click iCloud Photos.
  3. Click Upload photos and videos.
  4. Choose the photos and videos you want to upload and click Open.

You can view the photos and videos you uploaded in the Photos app on iCloud.com and on all your Apple devices.

Download your photos and videos from iCloud Photos

In iCloud for Windows 11.1 or later

New photos and videos you add to iCloud Photos are shown on your PC automatically. To download the file from iCloud when you view it, double-click its thumbnail. You can also keep your photos downloaded on your PC with these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. In the Navigation pane, click iCloud Photos.
  3. Select the images you want to keep on your PC.
  4. Right-click the selection and choose “Always keep on this device.”

If you change a photo or video on another device or on iCloud.com, it updates automatically on your PC.

In older versions of iCloud for Windows

New photos and videos you add to iCloud Photos will automatically download to your PC. You can also download older photos and videos with these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer (Windows 10) or Windows Explorer (Windows 7).
  2. Click iCloud Photos in the Navigation pane. If you don’t see iCloud Photos, click Pictures in the Navigation pane, then double-click iCloud Photos.
    • In iCloud for Windows 10, click the Notification area in the taskbar, then click Download Photos in the iCloud Photos notification. Choose the photos and videos you want to download by year.
    • In iCloud for Windows 7, click “Download photos and videos” in the Windows Explorer toolbar. Choose the photos and videos you want to download by year, then click Download.

Your photos and videos download to the location you set in iCloud Photos Options.

In iCloud for Windows 10 or later, if you change a photo or video on another device or on iCloud.com, it updates automatically on your PC. In iCloud for Windows version 7, you need to re-download the photos to see any updates.

Find your photos on your PC

To find your photos, follow the steps for the version of Windows you use on your PC.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click iCloud Photos from the Navigation pane.
  1. Go to the Start screen. If you use Windows 8.1, click the down arrow in the bottom-left corner.
  2. Select iCloud Photos.
  1. Click the Windows Start button, then click Pictures.
  2. Click iCloud Photos or Photo Stream under the Favorites menu in the panel on the left.
  3. Double-click My Photo Stream to view your photos. This also shows up as a folder in the window that appears.

My Photo Stream isn’t available in iCloud for Windows 10 or later.

Learn more

  • If your iCloud Photos aren’t loading on your PC, learn what to do.
  • Learn more about iCloud system requirements.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Want to access iCloud Drive files from Windows? Do you use iCloud to store your documents and other files from your iPhone, iPad and Mac? If so, you’ll be happy to know that you can easily access iCloud Drive data from a Windows PC as well as through the standard Apple ecosystem devices.

Although Apple prefers to keep their products with their own ecosystem, they acknowledge the sheer number of Windows PCs across the globe and do offer apps and services for Windows too. Accordingly, there’s a dedicated iCloud desktop app that’s available for Windows users who take advantage of this cloud service. Apart from that native software, iCloud is also accessible on any device that has a web browser. Therefore, regardless of what platform you’re on, you should have no trouble accessing your files.

So, are you an Apple iCloud user who owns a Windows PC? Interested in learning how you can access your iCloud documents on the PC? Then read on, as we’ll be discussing how you can access iCloud Drive Files from Windows PC.

How to Access iCloud Drive Files from Windows PC Using Desktop App

We’ll be discussing not one, but two ways to access your iCloud Drive files on your Windows PC. This method is for people who don’t mind installing additional software on to their computer for quick access to their files and better overall integration. You need to make sure you’ve downloaded and set up iCloud desktop app on your PC before you go ahead with the procedure.

    Once you’ve installed iCloud, type “iCloud” in the search bar located at the bottom of the screen and click on the app to open it.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows
You’ll be asked to log in to your Apple account, if it’s your first time using it. Once you’re in the iCloud window, make sure the box for iCloud Drive is checked. If not, click on it and then hit “Apply” as shown below.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows
Now, you need to head over to “My Computer”. Simply type “This PC” in the search bar and click on the Computer app as shown in the screenshot below.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows
Here, click on the “iCloud Drive” option under the Quick access menu located in the left pane. You’ll now be able to access all the documents and files stored on Apple’s cloud servers right from your Windows machine.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

So that’s the method that allows for native iCloud Drive file access right from Windows Explorer. It’s convenient and works well.

But that’s not the only way you can access iCloud Drive files and data from a PC, as you can also use the iCloud web app.

How to Access iCloud Drive Files from Windows PC Using iCloud.com

If you aren’t interested in installing any additional software on your computer, you’ll still be able to access your files from iCloud.com website. All you need is a web browser and you’re good to go.

    Open any web browser that’s installed on your PC and head over to iCloud.com. Type in your Apple ID details and click on the arrow to log into your iCloud account.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows
You’ll now be taken to the iCloud dashboard. Simply click on the iCloud Drive icon as shown in the screenshot below.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows
As you can see here, all the documents and other files are easy available for you to access.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Whichever method you followed, you now know how to successfully access your iCloud Drive documents, data, and files right from your Windows PC.

Although this procedure is targeted towards Windows PC users, this method can also come in handy for Mac users who have installed Windows 10 in Boot Camp, but still want to retain their iCloud content.

Each of the methods we discussed here has its own benefits. The desktop app is suited for regular iCloud users who want the service to be integrated into their computer, in order to make file sharing a lot easier. However, the iCloud website should be good enough for most people who simply want to access their files, regardless of the device they’re using.

Having trouble getting iCloud Drive to show up on the file explorer? Make sure you’ve properly set up iCloud on your Windows machine after installation. It’s also necessary if you want to use other features like iCloud Photos, contacts sync, bookmarks sync, etc.

By the way if you also use iCloud Drive on a Mac, a handy tip for quicker access is to put iCloud Drive in the Mac Dock so you can jump to it from anywhere at anytime.

We hope you managed to access all your iCloud documents on your Windows computer without any issues. Which method did you use to view your files? How do you feel about iCloud’s integration in Windows? Do let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section down below.

iCloud is the cloud storage and cloud computing service for Apple users. Because it’s built into every Apple device, any photos, files, notes, emails, or more that you save on one device like your Mac is safely and securely available wherever you and your other devices, such as your iPhone, are.

But what if you’re not an Apple die-hard and you’ve opted for a PC over a Mac? No need to worry as it’s now possible for PC users to access iCloud on their computer, and you can do it in two ways.

You can open iCloud in a web browser to access all iCloud services from your desktop or use Apple’s iCloud desktop app. You’ll need to install the app before you can use it, but you can use the app to turn various iCloud features on or off once you do.

Here’s how to access iCloud on your PC.

How to access iCloud on a PC using the iCloud app

1. Download and install iCloud for Windows 10 from the Microsoft Store. If you are using an older version of Windows, get the iCloud app from Apple.com.

2. Restart your computer.

3. iCloud may start automatically. If it does not, click the Start button.

4. Then select start iCloud from the Start menu.

5. Sign in using your Apple ID.

6. Choose the features you want to back up and synchronize across your devices.

7. Click “Apply.”

How to access iCloud on a PC using the iCloud website

1. Open iCloud.com in a web browser.

2. Sign in with your Apple ID if necessary.

3. Choose the app or service you want to use on your PC. You can read your iCloud mail, review calendar and contracts, or see your backed up photos from your phone or iPad, among other options.

4. To change your iCloud settings or check on your remaining iCloud storage space, click “Account Settings” under your account avatar.

If you own an iPhone and use Apple’s email service, you can easily access those emails on a Windows PC. This guide shows you how to set up iCloud email and calendar access in Windows 10.

Apple provides iCloud software developed specifically for Windows. Once installed, you can access files stored on your iCloud Drive, synchronize your Chrome/Firefox/Internet Explorer bookmarks with Safari, synchronize iCloud Mail, and more.

But you don’t need Apple’s software to access iCloud-based emails and calendar events on Windows 10. Tools to access both are built into the operating system. All you need to do is add an iCloud account in the Mail app, and you’re good to go.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to take an additional step if your iCloud account uses two-factor authentication. This essentially prevents hackers from accessing your account if they obtain your password. But it also requires you to create app-specific passwords. Without these passwords, you can’t access your iCloud email account using base Apple ID credentials.

If you don’t have two-factor authentication enabled, skip to the next section.

Create an App-Specific Password (Two-Factor only)

Open a browser on your Windows PC and sign in to your Apple ID account page. Once the page loads, scroll down to the “Security” section and click the “Generate Password” link located under “App-Specific Passwords.”

Enter a password label in the pop-up windows and then click the blue “Create” button.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Take a screenshot of this password or write it down. You cannot retrieve this password at a later date.

If you need to delete the password later, return to the “Security” section and click the “Edit” button. You’ll see a “View History” link to the right of “App-Specific Passwords.” Click on the “X” listed to the right of the password you want to delete, followed by the “Done” button.

Add Your iCloud Account to Mail

Once you add an iCloud account to the Mail app, everything stored in the account’s email, calendar, and contacts synchronizes to Windows 10 by default. You do not need to enter multiple iCloud credentials.

First, open the “Mail” app and then click on the “Accounts” heading listed on the pane to the left. This opens the “Manage Accounts” panel on the right.

You can also click the “gear” icon located at the bottom of the Accounts pane on the left. This opens the Mail app’s settings.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Once the “Settings” rollout menu appears on the right, select the “Manage Accounts” option at the top of the list.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Click the “+ Add Account” option on the following menu.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

A popup window appears. Select the “iCloud” entry on the list.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

On the following screen, enter the email address and password used to access your iCloud account. If your account uses two-step authentication, enter the app-specific password you created in the previous section.

Click the “Sign In” button, followed by the “Done” button on the next screen to complete.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

If you need to delete the account or change the synchronization settings at a later date, head back to the “Manage Accounts” panel and click on the iCloud account.

On the following “Account Settings” pop-up window, click the “Remove This Account from Your Device” link to delete your iCloud account from Windows 10.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

To change the synchronization settings, click the “Options for Syncing Your Content” link. On the following screen, you can change how and when the Mail app synchronizes with this account. You can also toggle on and off synchronization for iCloud-based email, calendar, and contacts.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Customizable options for this account include:

  • When to download new mail
  • When to sync contacts and calendars
  • Download emails from the last # days/weeks/months
  • Send your email using this name

Click “Done,” followed by the “Save” button when finished.

If you want to set up iCloud email and calendar access on Android, read our detailed guide!

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

While iCloud is used primarily by iPhones, iPads, and Macs, but did you know that it can also be accessed on Windows computers? That’s right, you can explore your iCloud on your PC.

Other cloud storage services allow you to upload any type of file, however, Apple decided to place your data into different places depending on the type. It will store documents indefinitely but delete pictures over time. This can be somewhat off-putting at first but it can all be managed through the Keychain.

What is the iCloud Keychain?

The Keychain new feature that works as a syncing password manager for Safari on iOS and Macs. It doesn’t function with third-party applications unless the apps were designed with iCloud keychain support in mind, which is a lot easier said than done because the iOS makes it hard to copy-paste passwords into apps. You might want a dedicated password manager like Cyclonis Password Manager.

Accessing your iCloud data from a Windows computer

There are two primary ways to access synced iCloud data on Windows. Either you use the iCloud Control Panel desktop app or you go straight to the iCloud website.

Let’s start with the iCloud Control Panel, which can be downloaded from Apple’s website, it offers features such as Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Tasks Sync. The iCloud Control Panel can sync this data with Outlook 2007 and newer versions. And even if you don’t have Outlook you can access that information on the iCloud website. Note that Tasks here are the same as Reminders on the iCloud website. Also, your Safari bookmarks can be synced with Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome. The reason Apple supports so many other browsers than Safari on Windows because Safari for Windows is no longer supported. The iCloud Control Panel can automatically download photos from your iCloud Photo Stream to your Windows computer if you want it to. This is crucial if you want to have a local back up of your photos, as photos in your Photo Stream will be automatically deleted after a certain time.
Another thing you can do is manage your iCloud Storage. This feature lets you see what’s using disk space on your iCloud storage such as device backups and settings backups from apps you’ve used. This way you could delete anything that’s not necessary and only uses up your iCloud memory.

That’s the gist of it for the iCloud Control Pane.

Now let’s look at the other option, the iCloud website itself. You can access it directly at icloud.com. Like the above option, it offers the following options: Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, and Reminders. The info from these productivity apps can be viewed and modified from the iCloud website, so you can access it from any PC, even one running Windows. Outlook does not need to be synced to it to access these features.

You’ll also see Find My iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch/Mac. This is Apple’s Find service is usable from the website, so you can sign in to iCloud on any Windows computer and track a lost device. Find My Device displays the GPS location of your lost device, or the last known location if it has been disabled. It also allows you to wipe its memory in order to protect your data. The iWork apps also have web versions you can access through the iCloud website. These apps let you view and edit your synced documents on any device.

Keep in mind that certain features are only accessible on the computer, while others are only accessible on the iCloud website. You cannot view your Photo Stream on the iCloud website, for example, and you cannot edit your iWork documents in anything but the browser.

Syncing all of your Apple data and files to devices that aren’t made by Apple isn’t the exercise in futility that it once was. T here are now several signs that Apple is ready to cautiously welcome users of other hardware to its services, including tools for Chrome, Windows, and Android. Here’s how to get your bookmarks, passwords, and all of your other iCloud data on a non-Apple device.

Chrome extensions

Apple just pushed out an iCloud Passwords extension for Chrome (and other Chromium-based browsers like Edge), which syncs your iCloud password manager to and from Safari on an iPhone, iPad or Mac. If Safari knows all your login details on your Mac, now Chrome will on Windows. It joins the existing iCloud Bookmarks extension for Chrome and Firefox , which does the same job with bookmarks.

Install either the passwords or the bookmarks extensions and you’ll see that they rely on the existing iCloud for Windows client, which you’ll need to install (if you don’t already have it) to use those browser add-ons . Once you’ve signed in with your Apple ID credentials, the syncing happens in the background automatically.

You might need to restart your browser after installing the desktop client, but your Chrome or Firefox bookmarks should then match your Safari bookmarks and vice versa, folders and all. There’s no interface to the bookmarks extensions, everything is just handled behind the scenes as if you were using Safari on Windows (or Chrome or Firefox on a Mac ).

With the passwords extension, you need to go into the iCloud for Windows desktop client and make sure the Passwords option is ticked, and that the setting is applied—you’ll get a verification code to enter in your browser, and the add-on will then pop up whenever you’re entering login credentials on a site that iCloud recognizes.

iCloud for Windows

The iCloud Passwords extension is the newest Windows tool released by Apple, but together with the bookmarks extension it’s really just a plug-in for the iCloud for Windows client that’s been around for some time. Besides bookmarks and passwords, it can handle your iCloud Drive files, your Apple Photos, and your Apple emails, contacts, calendars, and tasks (through Microsoft Outlook).

The client adds new iCloud Drive and iCloud Photos entries to File Explorer in Windows, so you can easily get at all of the images and other files you’ve got stored in iCloud. There are even some sharing options you can access right from within Windows, as well as offline syncing capabilities—right-click on a file and choose Always keep on this device to store a local copy, rather than just a shortcut to the file in iCloud.

Like the new extensions for Google Chrome, everything is designed to just work—there’s not much here in the way of customization or configuration. Any new files or folders that you drop into the iCloud folders in File Explorer will make their way to iCloud and across to your Apple devices, just as they would if you had added them on a Mac.

If you open up the main iCloud for Windows interface, you’ll see there are two Options buttons for photos and storage, covering a limited number of settings, like w hether or not shared photo albums are available on your Windows PC, for example, and which browsers your bookmarks get synced to. It’s pretty much a set it and forget it situation.

iCloud on the web

Apple’s iCloud web portal has slowly been getting better and better, and you might actually find it easier just to use this rather than installing any extra software on top of Windows. It’s also an option for getting your iCloud data on Chromebooks, including emails, contacts, calendars, photos, iCloud Drive, notes, reminders, and even lightweight versions of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

When it comes to files, for example, you can use the web interface to manually upload files from Windows, create new folders, and so on—these files then sync to all of your other devices that are also syncing with iCloud. It’s not quite the seamless syncing experience that you get with the desktop client, but it might fit your needs better.

It’s also easy enough to upload any photos and videos hanging around on your Windows computer to your Apple Photos library. F iles can be viewed right inside your browser, and while it doesn’t reach Google Photos levels of slickness, it’s not bad. If you’re doing most of your photo management on a Mac or an iPhone and just need to add the occasional file from Windows, iCloud on the web is enough.

With Apple Music now on Android and Apple TV+ accessible in any browser , you can use iCloud and Apple’s services from more devices than ever before—though Apple would of course prefer you to be using iPhones, iPads, and Macs . iTunes for Windows still lags behind the separate Music, TV, and Podcasts applications for macOS at the time of writing, but fingers crossed an update will make that software much more usable in the near future.

iCloud Drive is simply not syncing with my PC.

When I open iCloud Drive in Windows, and then open it at icloud.com (OR on e.g. my iPhone) there are SEVERAL folders and files which I created in Windows but which simply don’t exist at icloud.com (OR on e.g. my iPhone).

There are SOME files which I created MONTHS ago, which simply are not there.

When I check out iCloud for Windows, it DOES NOT say that there are currently any files being uploaded.

It says “Updated at 4/27/16, 12:15pm (i.e. THREE days ago).

Is it beyond the wit of Apple to simply have a “refresh from PC” option within the iCloud for Windows program?

iPhone 6, iOS 9.3.1, iCloud for Windows

Posted on Apr 30, 2016 2:52 AM

Helpful answers

  • Helpful answers
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i found the apple software update and changed it to daily. still not syncing between platforms. whats the use of cloud service if files ddont sync immediately.

Feb 16, 2017 3:39 AM

We ran into this issue with a user who had already established GB’s worth of data in iCloud drive. After setting him up on a new Windows 10 laptop he’d installed and began syncing his iCloud account. His photos came down just fine but the data in his iCloud drive never populated for him. I tried various tricks (deselecting iCloud drive and turning it back on, changing the Auto Software update to daily) but ultimately ended up in the task manager looking at the iCloud drive process using 10% of the CPU and a consistent 2 Mbps of the disk. It turns out there’s some sort of database file (ckcachedatabase.db) that was being built at an incredibly slow pace. I told him to keep an eye on that folder and eventually once the file stopped growing his data began to come down into his iCloud drive folder.

The ckcachedatabase.db file was located in C:\Users\(username)\AppData\Local\Apple Inc\CloudKit\iCloudDrive.

I hope this helps anybody else struggling with the lack of a sufficient UI with the iCloud software.

Jul 7, 2017 7:34 AM

I have had this same very frustrating issue for a long time and I finally got it to work on my Windows 7 PC! I simply changed the updates from weekly to daily.

To fix this open Apple Software Update, hit cancel when it says checking for updates, select Edit Preferences, set to Daily and hit apply. If you are lucky this will fix the problem.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Want to access and view your iCloud Photos quickly on a Windows PC? We will show you how to do just that in a few simple steps.

You Can View Your iCloud Photos Straight on a Windows PC Using Your Web Browser, Here’s How it Works

The ability to access and view iCloud Photo Library is something that is not only reserved for iPhone, iPad and Mac users. If you have a Windows PC, you can easily access all your photos in iCloud using a web browser.

It’s actually quite simple.

But before you go ahead, yes, it requires you to have iCloud Photo Library enabled on your iPhone, iPad or even your Mac in order to view your snaps on Windows. It’s free, and you get 5GB for storing your photos initially, which you can expand by paying Apple you cold, hard-earned money.

Tutorial

Step 1. Open iCloud.com using your web browser in Windows.

Step 2. Log in with your Apple ID which you use on your iPhone, iPad or Mac for iCloud Photo Library. You may be required to enter your two-factor code, so please do so.

Step 3. Once signed in you will have the dashboard in view with a lot of icons. Click on Photos.

What icloud does and how to access it from windows

Step 4. You’ll see all your photos here in a few seconds including your Recently Deleted photos if you have any.

You can follow the same steps on any PC in fact to view your iCloud photos. Even if you are using a Mac that does not belong to you, these steps still apply.

The cool thing here is that if you want to download photos from your iCloud Photos Library, you can do so. Need to upload something? Sure, you can do that too. But there is one thing you have to know – the upload feature only supports JPEG, so if you were hoping to upload some PNG images, then you are out of luck here. But hey, we’re sure most you of shoot all those dinner photos in the JPEG format anyway, so a good majority should not be bothered by this decision by Apple.

Looking for more tutorials? Check out the following: