How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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Windows Live Skydrive has been featured on MUO as one of the best services to come out of Microsoft for offering 25GB of online storage. Not only can you use it as a Picasa or Flickr alternative thanks to its integration with Windows Live Photos, but with a little preparation, you can also map it as a network drive (see SkyDrive in Windows Explorer) so you can use it as a file storing, syncing and sharing service.

SkyDrive could possibly even be a Dropbox alternative so you can sync files to SkyDrive. You can actually save yourself the work with either of the free Gladinet and SDExplorer tools, but this is another way to map SkyDrive using the downloadable Microsoft Office 2010 Beta or one open-source utility.


The 50MB file size limit still applies but most personal files and documents that you own don’t exceed that size, correct? However, if you have huge files, you might want to consider other storage services.

sync files to SkyDriveSo in order for you to see SkyDrive in Windows Explorer, you need to retrieve the unique location of each of your SkyDrive folders or Windows Live Photo albums which is generally something like https://abcdef.docs.live.net/yourcid/nameoffolder.

In that address, abcdef is actually a unique combination of six letters and numbers corresponding to your folder or album, while yourcid is the long ID code that appears in your URL bar after you log into SkyDrive. Nameoffolder corresponds to the name of your SkyDrive folder, of course.

So let’s go over how we can figure out the abcdef codes.

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Retrieving The WebDAV Addresses Of Your SkyDrive Folders (Method 1)

This method is for users who already have downloaded Microsoft Office 2010 Beta; otherwise, jump to Method 2.

  1. Sign into SkyDrive.live.com in your web browser.
  2. Go to the Start menu, right-click on My Computer, and select Map Network Drive.
  3. Now open Microsoft Office 2010 Beta (either Word or Excel). At the top left of your document/spreadsheet, click on File > Share >Save to SkyDrive.
  4. sync files to SkyDrive

  5. Now sign in to see your SkyDrive folders. Choose one of your folders and hit Save As.
  6. sync files to SkyDrive

  7. In the Save As box that appears, click on the address bar to copy the address.
  8. sync files

  9. Now switch to the Map Network Drive dialog box that you opened in the first step, and paste the address in the Folder text box. After this, jump to the Accessing SkyDrive Folders From Windows Explorer section.

Retrieving The WebDAV Addresses Of Your SkyDrive Folders (Method 2)

This is for users who don’t have Microsoft Office 2010 Beta.

  1. Sign into SkyDrive.live.com in your web browser.
  2. Go to the Start menu and right-click on My Computer. Select Map Network Drive.
  3. Now, download the open-source utility, SkyDrive Simple Viewer, (requires Microsoft.NET 3.5 SP1) kindly offered in a 14KB zip file by a developer that discovered that files could be uploaded to SkyDrive via WebDAV. Download it here.
  4. Unzip the files and double-click on the SkyDriveSimpleViewer.exe.
  5. Enter your Windows Live ID username (e.g. name@live.com) and password. Click on Login to my SkyDrive.
  6. sync files

  7. Choose a folder and click on the WebDAV address to copy it.
  8. Switch back to the Map Network Drive dialog box that appeared after you completed step 1 and paste the address you just copied in the box titled Folder.

Accessing SkyDrive Folders From Windows Explorer

Now that you have pasted the address into the Folder text box in the Map Network Drive dialog box, delete the “https:” part of the address and change all the forward slashes (“/”) to backslashes (“\”). Your address should now look like this : \\abcdef.docs.live.net\yourcid\nameoffolder.

sync files

If you’re satisfied with the default drive letter (usually Y:) for your SkyDrive folder, check Reconnect at logon and click on Finish. Otherwise, choose another letter drive before you hit Finish. In a few moments, you should be greeted these:

skydrive file sync

Now, just sign in with your Windows Live ID (whole email) and password and you should see your SkyDrive folder as if it were another folder in Windows Explorer.

skydrive file sync

If you want to map your other SkyDrive folders, repeat the steps, making sure you copy the right and unique abcdef code of each of your SkyDrive folders. Also, when you type in nameoffolder, beware that ^2Public and ^2Documents may work instead of Public and Documents, so try those names if you have problems connecting. Names of photo albums should work the same as long as they don’t have any spaces or special characters in their names.

If you still can’t connect, try saving your file to a different SkyDrive folder in Microsoft Office 2010 Beta (if you used Method 1), copying that address instead and repeating the previous steps. If you used Method 2, try copying the WebDAV address of another SkyDrive folder in the SkyDrive Simple Viewer and repeating the previous steps.

Alternatively, try adding @SSL\DavWWWRoot\ to the pasted addresses in the Map Network Drive dialog box (e.g. \\abcdef.docs.live.net@SSL\DavWWWRoot\yourcid\nameoffolder).

Uploading Files To Your SkyDrive Folders

Now that you have your SkyDrive folders mapped in Windows Explorer, you’ll notice that it can be a little slow to even open the newly mapped folder. That’s because Windows Explorer is downloading files and folders to your location. Dragging and dropping files through Windows Explorer to your SkyDrive folders may also take a while or even choke Windows Explorer into showing you “(Not Responding)” since Windows Explorer is actually uploading each file to SkyDrive.

So if you have tried moving folders and Windows Explorer gets stuck, try copying files through the command prompt. Let’s say that you mapped your SkyDrive Documents folder in Windows Explorer using the drive letter T, and you want to copy the contents of your Documents folder in your PC to the SkyDrive Documents folder.

  • Copy the path of your non-SkyDrive Documents folder.
  • skydrive file sync

  • Press the Windows key and R at the same time to bring up the Run command.
  • Type cmd and in the command prompt that appears, type “cd “ (command to change directories) without the quotes. Don’t forget the space after cd.
  • Right-click on the title bar of the command prompt, select Edit > Paste. Press Enter.
  • Now that you are in the directory whose contents you want to copy, type “copy *.* T:\” without the quotes. This just says to copy everything inside this directory to “T:\”.
  • Wait till the command prompt shows you X file(s) copied.

After you have uploaded files to SkyDrive, map your SkyDrive folders in your other PCs and you’ll be able to sync files! Of course, you’ll see most changes reflected online at skydrive.live.com in seconds (deleting photos in Windows Explorer doesn’t seem to work because you can still see them on the website).

At the website, you can also download your files and share folders. Just upload them to your Public SkyDrive folder or edit the permissions for any other folder so that either a few people or the entire world can view your files. This is great if you want to share photos with family and friends because they don’t even need to sign in with a Windows Live ID. Just check Don’t require recipients to sign in with Windows Live ID when you’re on the Send a link page.

Right-Click On A File To Send To SkyDrive

In Windows Vista, the drive you mapped for a SkyDrive folder appears on the Send To menu after you right-click on a file, but if you don’t see it, press the Windows key and R at the same time to summon the Run command. Type in shell:sendto and in the box that appears, right-click on the white space > New > Shortcut.

Now click on the Browse… button to find the drive to which you mapped your SkyDrive folder. In my case, I chose T: for my SkyDrive Documents folder. Click OK.

Click Next. Name it something like SkyDrive Documents.

And there you go, right-click on any file and send to your SkyDrive Documents folder right in Windows Explorer!

Do you use Windows Live SkyDrive? If not, which storage services do you use?

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Comments (51)
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  • Jessica Cam W.

    Do you mean, how do you sync a file in two different computers (you would
    just need to connect to the other computer in the same manner that you did
    your first computer, assuming they’re both Windows machines) or how do you
    sync a file in SkyDrive and in your MyDocuments folder/library in Windows?
    If you’re asking the second question, I think a backup program could help. A
    very popular one is SyncBack, which you can read about at
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/b… Pure
    Sync (
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/p
    is another such backup tool.

    Let me know if that helps, and if you wish to share your syncing experience,
    please do! You’ve given me the idea to try syncing Dropbox (which I use to
    store, sync and backup everything) and Skydrive with Syncback, which would
    make Skydrive a second virtual hard drive.

  • Bh27uk

    Hey I’ve done all of what you said and that’s great as it’s showing the new drive in my computer. How do I sync that documents file with the documents file on my laptop or does that happen automatically now (sorry if I’m being slow). I want it to update automatically when I save things to my documents on my laptop.

    • Jessica Cam W.

      Do you mean, how do you sync a file in two different computers (you would
      just need to connect to the other computer in the same manner that you did
      your first computer, assuming they’re both Windows machines) or how do you
      sync a file in SkyDrive and in your MyDocuments folder/library in Windows?
      If you’re asking the second question, I think a backup program could help. A
      very popular one is SyncBack, which you can read about at
      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/backup-your-hard-drive-with-syncback/. Pure
      Sync (
      http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/pure-sync-backup-and-file-synchronization-made-easy/)
      is another such backup tool.

      Let me know if that helps, and if you wish to share your syncing experience,
      please do! You’ve given me the idea to try syncing Dropbox (which I use to
      store, sync and backup everything) and Skydrive with Syncback, which would
      make Skydrive a second virtual hard drive.

  • Jessica Cam W.

    You can attach photos and email them to your SkyDrive (read
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/email-photos-free-
    to find out how).

  • Mark Vozzo

    Does anyone know if there’s a way for me to email a file attachments and it get uploaded to my SkyDrive?

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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.