UPDATE: 23 April 2012: Today Microsoft releases a new app that puts SkyDrive into your Windows Explorer. See: SkyDrive updated
NEWEST UPDATE: 20 Feb 2012: At last the good news: New SkyDrive features announced . See the official announcement and video.
UPDATE 19 Feb 2012: SkyDrive improvements coming soon See my post Looks like what you are looking for may finally come to pass.
UPDATE 20 June 2011: Major revision to SkyDrive is being rolled out. For more on this see the Inside Windows Live blog post for 20 June 2011. This update should go far in making SkyDrive more useful. The procedure in this post may become unnecessary and obsolete. – Ludwig Keck
There are times when I want to upload not just a few pictures but a whole collection to my SkyDrive. Turns out that this is not as simple as I first imagined. Here is the procedure I attempted. You may have run into this yourself. I logged in to my Live account, maneuvered to SkyDrive, created the folder that I wanted for my collection. It opened up the Add files dialog. I dragged the folder from my local Pictures library. Here is what happened:
This does not work. You cannot add folders, just individual files. A short while back, Mynetx posted the solution to this dilemma. The work around is mapping the SkyDrive folder into the computer so it looks like just another drive on the system. His procedure is described in detail in the post How-to: Connect Your SkyDrive in Windows Explorer. I will recap the procedure here – this procedure is for Windows 7. It works pretty much the same in Vista.
Only an album or a primary folder in the SkyDrive can be mapped as a local drive. The entire SkyDrive cannot be mapped, subfolders cannot be mapped.
Log into your Windows Live account. Obtain the cid of the SkyDrive, that is everything after the hyphen and before the next period. See the illustration here:
Open Windows Explorer (Start – Computer) Open Map network drive. Select the drive letter you want to use. Enter this string into the Folder: box \\docs.live.net@SSL\ (see illustration here).
Paste your cid number after the string followed by a back-slash and the name of the folder on the SkyDrive you wish to map. The folder must exist, the name may contain spaces.
Click Finish. A dialog will show that a connection is being established, followed by a log in request.
Login with your Live account credentials. Moments later a Windows Explorer window open with you newly mapped drive.
It will show in Windows Explorer as illustrated here.
If you get repeated login requests or a notice that the drive could not be found, try this: Turn off your firewall, repeat the mapping, then turn your firewall back on.
Now back to copying a folder up to the SkyDrive.
Use the newly mapped drive just like any other folder on your computer. In the illustration here I show dragging a folder to the mapped drive. Since this uploads files to the SkyDrive it will be slower than normal copying. Your upload speed is determined by the type of Internet connection you have.
So, what else can you do? See this:
You can include the mapped drive in Windows Live Photo Gallery. You can work on the photos just like any other, but keep in mind that it involves down-loading and up-loading, so the process will be slow. Of, course you can use the mapped folder just like any other, copying, moving things around. Files operate just like any other (except in Properties there is no Security tab) – all the file properties are there:
Note of caution. Some folks, like me, have pathological computer setups. I have two operating systems installed on my machine in dual-boot configuration. I use different user names in the systems. Some drives are commonly available. Some files on those drives will be created by one user, some by the other. The ownership of files from the other system (which is, of course, not operating) will show up as “Account unknown” – uploading such a file to a public folder on the SkyDrive could be a security breach. Windows 7 is smarter than that and will not upload such files (you do get a warning).
One other note of caution: I have had problems with mapped SkyDrive folder being marked for “reconnect at logon” mostly on my Windows 7 machine where security is tighter.
Mapping several SkyDrive folders is no problem. I have mapped SkyDrive folders belonging to different users (Connect using different credentials) without problems. The firewall remembers not to interfere on subsequent mappings.
Mapping SkyDrive folders has been very useful to me, makes many chores very easy. A tip of the hat to Mynetx.
UPDATE – October 2010: Windows Live Services is in a state of flux. Recent tests show that the procedure described in this post works inconsistently. Sometimes very well, other times not at all – on the same computer! I will continue to test and will report on results as things settle down. Ludwig J.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck