How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

intro   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows ExplorerWindows 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.

cid   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows ExplorerSo 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.

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. betaskydrive1   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

  5. Now sign in to see your SkyDrive folders. Choose one of your folders and hit Save As.
  6. betaskydrive2   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

  7. In the Save As box that appears, click on the address bar to copy the address.
  8. betaskydrive30   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

  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. betaskydriveTHISONE   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

  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.

changegood   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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:

attemptingtoconnect   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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.

greet   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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.
  • copyfrom   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

  • 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.
  • cmd   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

  • 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.

sendto   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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.

sendtochoose   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

Click Next. Name it something like SkyDrive Documents.

nameshortcut   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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

sendtofinal   How to Upload & Sync Files to SkyDrive from Windows Explorer

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

The comments were closed because the article is more than 180 days old.

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51 Comments -

0 votes

Kaushik Biswas

Thanks Jessica, this is a wonderful help. If I can use SkyDrive from Explorer then it will be of much convenience for me. I’ll have to study the Method 2 for my requirement.

0 votes

Josh Goodwin

You can do this with Gladinet or SDExplorer. I have yet to use them 100% to find the faults, but they seem to do well for me. Also with Gladinet you can set it up to work with a hosted site (FTP) to have your own dropbox but with more space. Might be worth looking into too.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Yes, Gladinet and SDExplorer have been available to do this for a while now, but they’re proprietary (though also free) third-party applications. This article discusses another way to connect to SkyDrive using Microsoft’s own application (Office 2010 Beta) and an open-source application.

0 votes

Virtual Store

Thanks Friend for Great Help. Now i can upload files easily.

0 votes

Fraser Smith

In theory, this should work on a Mac too. But it doesn’t. Anyone got any ideas how to connect to a Skydrive WebDAV share from OSX?

0 votes
0 votes

Jack Cola

Jessica, is it possible to open and edit a file using this? For example, have a Word document on SkyDrive, and open it through Windows Explorer, edit and, save it, just as you would if the file is on your Hard Drive?

If you could, then that would be great. I havn’t found a free online hosting service that does that yet. I’ve only got it to move, copy and delete, never open.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Yes, you can. I do that all the time now with .txt files. You just have to wait a little when you save the document back to SkyDrive in Windows Explorer since it’s uploading to SkyDrive.

0 votes

Jack Cola

Jessica, is it possible to open and edit a file using this? For example, have a Word document on SkyDrive, and open it through Windows Explorer, edit and, save it, just as you would if the file is on your Hard Drive?

If you could, then that would be great. I havn’t found a free online hosting service that does that yet. I’ve only got it to move, copy and delete, never open.

0 votes

Jayadrathsingh

hey you have another option too check it out here http://jdstechtips.blogspot.co

0 votes

Srivatsan Venkatesh

@_@ I got the simple viewer and copied the address into the Map Network Drive, but it keeps asking me for my username and password. Help?

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Hey Srivatsan,
Did you change the / to and delete the ‘https:’? If you did that and you’re still getting the sign-in screen, try pasting the address of another SkyDrive folder into the Map Network Drive dialog box.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Well, the original post (http://www.mikeplate.com/how-t from which I adapted into this article mentioned that this isn’t available in other OS. I tried in Ubuntu and couldn’t connect either.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Hey Srivatsan,
Did you change the / to \ and delete the ‘https:’? If you did that and you’re still getting the sign-in screen, try pasting the address of another SkyDrive folder into the Map Network Drive dialog box.

0 votes

Anonymous

Is it normal that I have to sign into my Windows Live account every time I open a document that I’ve sent to the SkyDrive Documents folder?

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

I’ve had to sign in after I restart my computer, but not every time I open a document. Maybe it has to do with your firewall?

0 votes

Anonymous

good article but to make it my dropbox replacment it has to copy a specific folder automatically. can I use symlinks or robocopy?

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

I’ve used Robocopy and it works really well. You could make a batch file with the code:

@echo off
robocopy [source] [destination] /e /eta
exit

where destination could be the mapped SkyDrive letter (like, T:/), “/e” is everything and “/eta” will give you an estimated time for the copying. Then if you schedule it to run with Task Scheduler, you could have your own backup system!

I haven’t tried using symlinks because I’ve had bad experiences with them accidentally deleting my source folders!

0 votes

Jen

Has anyone noticed some strange renaming behavior? Both folders and files seem to have “^” inserted into filenames.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

“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.”

I have noticed that too. For example, when my file has a name like “picture (1).jpg”, it will look like “picture^51^6.jpg” as if ( equals ^5 and ) is ^6. Also, “.Public” folders may also be “^2Public”. I think this renaming is generally harmless.

0 votes

Anonymous

yes. any file or folder which has “_” seems to be changed to “^_”.
this is really annoying and can cause backup software to have a problem becae the original filename and the copied file name appear different.

whats interesting is that if you go to skydrive web page, the file names are correct!

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

I’ve used Robocopy and it works really well. You could make a batch file with the code:

@echo off
robocopy [source] [destination] /e /eta
exit

where destination could be the mapped SkyDrive letter (like, T:/), “/e” is everything and “/eta” will give you an estimated time for the copying. Then if you schedule it to run with Task Scheduler, you could have your own backup system!

I haven’t tried using symlinks because I’ve had bad experiences with them accidentally deleting my source folders!

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

“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.”

I have noticed that too. For example, when my file has a name like “picture (1).jpg”, it will look like “picture^51^6.jpg” as if ( equals ^5 and ) is ^6. Also, “.Public” folders may also be “^2Public”. I think this renaming is generally harmless.

0 votes

digideth

Should I ignore what “my computer” says about the “free space” & “total size” for the skydrive mapped folder/drive.

Because for me it shows 60GB for a “total size” and 15.5GB for “free space”?

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Yes, feel free to ignore that information since it’s actually only true for your computer’s hard drive. I don’t know why mapping SkyDrive leads to the new drive’s “borrowing” information from your own hard drive, but the total space you have in SkyDrive is 25GB.

0 votes

digideth

thats what I thought, thanks for the confirmation!

0 votes

digideth

Should I ignore what “my computer” says about the “free space” & “total size” for the skydrive mapped folder/drive.

Because for me it shows 60GB for a “total size” and 15.5GB for “free space”?

0 votes

Fred

I keep getting an error after “attempting to connect” of the map network drive saying “the map could not be mapped because no network was found”
can anyone help me with this? I’m sure I followed the instructions correctly..

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Do you get that error message after trying with all of your SkyDrive folders’ addresses? I’ve gotten that message after trying with one folder’s address, but after I try with other addresses, I can access SkyDrive with no problems.

0 votes

Fred

I keep getting an error after “attempting to connect” of the map network drive saying “the map could not be mapped because no network was found”
can anyone help me with this? I’m sure I followed the instructions correctly..

0 votes

Dave

Not a Sky Drive question, but a different Windows Live storage question…

Is it possible to map Office Live workspaces as network drives? A colleague and I have just started using Office Live and finding it really useful, but we’d like to sync files from the workspace to a local drive (to provide a backup / offline copy) – one thing it’s lacking.

Any advice is gratefully received!

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

That’s a good question, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. I know you
can map Box.net which offers similar real-time collaboration in documents by
mapping “\www.box.net/dav” without the quotes. Box.net offers 1GB of online
storage (for a free account) and document editing on their website.

Alternatively, you could ask your question in MakeUseOf Answers!
http://www.makeuseof.com/answers/

0 votes

Dave

Not a Sky Drive question, but a different Windows Live storage question…

Is it possible to map Office Live workspaces as network drives? A colleague and I have just started using Office Live and finding it really useful, but we’d like to sync files from the workspace to a local drive (to provide a backup / offline copy) – one thing it’s lacking.

Any advice is gratefully received!

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

That’s a good question, but I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. I know you
can map Box.net which offers similar real-time collaboration in documents by
mapping “\http://www.box.net/dav” without the quotes. Box.net offers 1GB of online
storage (for a free account) and document editing on their website.

Alternatively, you could ask your question in MakeUseOf Answers!
http://www.makeuseof.com/answe

0 votes

derekwallace

yes. any file or folder which has “_” seems to be changed to “^_”.
this is really annoying and can cause backup software to have a problem becae the original filename and the copied file name appear different.

whats interesting is that if you go to skydrive web page, the file names are correct!

0 votes

Anonymous

yes noticed this. seems that files/folders with “_” are changed to “^_”. However if you look at the files on skydrive they look correct.

this causes problems for backup software that copies files to skydrive. its sees the files as having different names and wants to keep copying them.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

That’s true so manually deleting duplicate files could be a solution, but since we all get 25GB, I don’t see that as a big problem.

I’m curious though – What backup software are you using?

0 votes

Anonymous

the problem is that any backup software will try and do incremental backup and therefore try and copy only the files that have changed since the last time you ran your backup. this speeds up backup by a massive amount.
Since the name of the file has changed on skydrive (as seen by explorer) the backup s/w tries to copy every file again.

copying 25GB of data in explorer to Skydrive will be v. slow.

i uses Microsoft SyncToy. its an old XP power toy. simple, reliable and does all i need in terms of copying files from one location to another in a fast reliable way.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Oh, I see. The only workaround I can think of is using Robocopy (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy) to copy all the files once and then
creating hard links to point to the SkyDrive, er, drive so you’ll save your
files to SkyDrive directly. Soft links could work too if you don’t plan to
save your files in your regular My Pictures/Music/etc folders.

0 votes

derekwallace

yes noticed this. seems that files/folders with “_” are changed to “^_”. However if you look at the files on skydrive they look correct.

this causes problems for backup software that copies files to skydrive. its sees the files as having different names and wants to keep copying them.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

That’s true so manually deleting duplicate files could be a solution, but since we all get 25GB, I don’t see that as a big problem.

I’m curious though – What backup software are you using?

0 votes

derekwallace

the problem is that any backup software will try and do incremental backup and therefore try and copy only the files that have changed since the last time you ran your backup. this speeds up backup by a massive amount.
Since the name of the file has changed on skydrive (as seen by explorer) the backup s/w tries to copy every file again.

copying 25GB of data in explorer to Skydrive will be v. slow.

i uses Microsoft SyncToy. its an old XP power toy. simple, reliable and does all i need in terms of copying files from one location to another in a fast reliable way.

0 votes

Jessica Cam W.

Oh, I see. The only workaround I can think of is using Robocopy (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R… to copy all the files once and then
creating hard links to point to the SkyDrive, er, drive so you’ll save your
files to SkyDrive directly. Soft links could work too if you don’t plan to
save your files in your regular My Pictures/Music/etc folders.

0 votes

Rill

I won’t even begin with how ecstatic I am on finding this, so let’s just move to the next piece of critical info: You’re most probably taken, aren’t you :(

0 votes

Mark Vozzo

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

0 votes
0 votes

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).

0 votes

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.

0 votes

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.

0 votes

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.

0 votes

FireBall

@ All Parties

All of SSuite’s free communication apps are server-less and don’t need any internet connection to work. They primarely run on LAN/Wi-Fi only and if you have port-forwarding enabled on your router, even the internet.

As for the mobile platform compatibility, that is a no-go. Their software doesn’t use or run on Java, so it won’t run on mobiles.

They also just released a portable video/voip phone for better mobility:
http://www.ssuitesoft.com/dualviewlanvideochat.htm

Their apps run natively on Windows and through any LAN or Wi-Fi connection connected to your computer.

Really great stuff if you need such apps…