How To Sync Any Folder To SkyDrive, And How To Use SkyDrive On Windows XP

Ads by Google

sync to skydrive

Microsoft’s new SkyDrive is a great entry in the cloud storage wars — it competes toe-to-toe with Dropbox, Google Drive, and the rest. However, it has some limitations – like many cloud storage services, SkyDrive doesn’t allow you to synchronize any folder on your computer, only folders inside a special SkyDrive folder. It also doesn’t run on Windows XP, leaving a lot of users out in the cold. We’ll show you how to overcome these limitations and use SkyDrive the way you want to.

The tricks here aren’t officially supported, so they may stop working in the future. However, we tested them ourselves and they work well today.

Sync Any Folder to SkyDrive

Perhaps the easiest way to synchronize any folder with SkyDrive is with the third-party SkyShellEx utility. It adds a special right-click option to folders that allows you to quickly synchronize that folder with SkyDrive. Download the x64 version if you’re using a 64-bit version of Windows or the x86 version if you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows. (See our post here for instructions on determining which version of Windows you’re using.)

After installing SkyShellEx, right-click any folder and select Sync to SkyDrive. A special link to that folder will appear in your SkyDrive folder and SkyDrive will begin to sync it. To stop syncing the folder, right-click the special link folder inside your SkyDrive folder and click Stop Sync to SkyDrive.

sync to skydrive

You don’t need a third-party utility, though. You can do the dirty work yourself with a single command from the Windows Command Prompt. The SkyShellEx utility creates a “directory junction” on the Windows NTFS file system – the junction points to a directory elsewhere on the system. From SkyDrive’s point of view, the directory itself appears in the SkyDrive directory, so SkyDrive syncs it normally.

Ads by Google

For example, to sync the folder located at D:\Folder with SkyDrive, you’d run the following command in a Command Prompt window:

mklink /J  “C:\Users\USERNAME\SkyDrive\Folder” “D:\Folder”

Remember to replace USERNAME in the command above with your Windows username.

sync to skydrive windows

Set up directory junctions on all your computers and SkyDrive will sync files between those folders – for example, if you have some files in C:\YourDocuments, it will keep the files in sync between the C:\YourDocuments directories on each of your computers. If you don’t set up directory junctions on each computer, you’ll still find your files available in the SkyDrive folder – a good backup solution.

Use SkyDrive on Windows XP

Microsoft won’t allow you to install the official SkyDrive application on Windows XP, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use SkyDrive anyway. We recommend using SDExplorer, a third-party program. The free version doesn’t have all the additional features offered in the paid version, known as SDExplorer Advanced, but it should still serve you fine. After you install SDExplorer, double-click its icon in the My Computer window – SDExplorer exposes your SkyDrive as an actual drive on your system.

sync to skydrive windows

After you double-click it, you’ll be prompted to log in with your Windows Live ID (soon to be known as a “Microsoft account”). After you do, you’ll see the contents of your SkyDrive in SDExplorer.

sync to skydrive

If you’d prefer an officially supported solution, you may want to try one of SkyDrive’s competitors – both Dropbox and Google Drive work on Windows XP, as do many other cloud storage solutions. Microsoft is uniquely invested in pushing you to upgrade from Windows XP.

Do you know any other tips and tricks for SkyDrive? Leave a comment and share them!

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Windows Troubleshooting
Windows Troubleshooting
31 Members
Windows_10
Windows_10
39 Members
Windows Hacks & Customization
Windows Hacks & Customization
50 Members
Best Windows Software
Best Windows Software
33 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (42)
  • Sam

    I just downloaded SkyShellEx 64 bit on my computer (running Windows 8), and used it to sync My Documents folder with the Skydrive folder. However, after adding a new file to My Documents it doesn’t automatically start processing changes and uploading the file to my SkyDrive account. How can I fix this problem?

  • yarasa GR67

    i am still use XP so thank you very much for the SDExplorer app.

  • Robert Hockenhull

    Looks like it does not work in Windows 8…or, I don’t know what i’m doing.

  • Svetlana Shevchenko

    You can try syncDriver for SkyDrive from here http://syncdriver.com. It’s working fine on Windows XP.

  • Daniel Bohry

    Very nice!! Thanks!

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.