Uploading folders to SkyDrive


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 29 Nov 2011: Help may be on its way. See my post SkyDrive improvements announced and SkyDrive improvements coming?

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


About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
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52 Responses to Uploading folders to SkyDrive

  1. Johnny says:

    This is one of the most useful How-to. This opens up a lot of new uses for SkyDrive. With the mapped drive, I can use Sync Toy and Task Scheduler to backup some important files automatically to SkyDrive. Thanks

  2. Ludwig J. says:

    No name: Send me a private message, I will work with you. Ludwig

  3. Kenn says:

    does anyone know how to achieve similar results using Ubuntu Linux please?

  4. 建民 says:

    good job!

  5. Abby says:

    Does mapped Skydrive apply to XP or only to Vista and Windows 7I have XP Pro

  6. Ludwig J. says:

    Unfortunately I have not found a way to map a SkyDrive folder when using a computer with XP.

  7. Jim says:

    A hack, a damn hack to achieve such a minimal level of functionality. The whole SkyDrive and all sub-folders should automatically show up for complete use by any moron at all, and not just the crafty few who understand such Operating System Foo. It\’s 2010 people, and Microsoft expects us to go back to command line voodoo to hack together a bootstrapped workaround for their own incompetence. Perhaps we should be thankful that we don\’t have to chisel the code onto moderately sized sub-50meg stone tablets, load them into the saddlebags of our donkeys and physically deliver them to SkyDrive HQ in Redmond, to have the damn files inserted into our SkyDrive.A tip of the hat to the keyboard conjurer who jury-rigged this workaround of Microsoft inadequacy, but really now such functionality, and more should be a given wouldn\’t you think?!!!

  8. Spinx says:

    Wow!!!Great work man!!

  9. Unknown says:

    If this doesn\’t work on your system (I failed), try this http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/19765-upload-windows-skydrive-desktop.htmlBenefit of using this option is you will be able to map not only SkyDrive but almost 15 more options at a time including Google docs and AmazonS3. Trust me this works! Jaimin

  10. Unknown says:

    Sorry forgot to mention that this works on 7 and Vista (Not sure about XP).

  11. Al says:

    This does not work with XP. Too Bad! Thanks for the info. I will use it when I upgrade. Unless Microsoft does it first.

  12. Unknown says:

    Doesn\’t work for me on Vista 64bit. Tried 2 different computers. Will not log in.

  13. Brett says:

    so that fact that this is absolutely ridiculously impractical doesn\’t mean anything to anyone? i installed dropbox recently and all i had to do was create and account and sign in to it\’s desktop application and there\’s a folder right there that i can drag and drop to and from. why should i have to use this tutorial to get windows live sync to work with windows explorer. it should JUST WORK! the only leverage skydrive has on dropbox is the amount of storage space and that is IT!

  14. MS says:

    i get the error that file size is too large? only thing i can upload are text docs.. even 200kb file size images get the too large error

  15. Nancy says:

    This also is not working with my Windows 7 32-bit OS. I have Kaspersky internet security and have disabled the firewall on that and Window\’s firewall. It says I don\’t have permissions to upload files but I am on an admin account.

  16. Nancy says:

    (I would\’ve sent you a private message but it says your privacy settings don\’t allow me to.)

  17. Ludwig J. says:

    With Wave 4 there are so many changes. I will update the process in a new post as soon as the dust has settled and I figure out what all has changed. Privacy settings also are changed – I added a link for sending a message to me on the This\’nThat page (bottom).

  18. Sriram says:

    Thanks a zillion for the tip, Ludwig!!! ( i guess i dont need gladinet/skydrive explorer any more)Yay! Confirmed it works as of now (Windows 7 Ultimate-x64). Will update as-and-when the Live 4 updates are rolled out and Ludwig updates this post :)Will also try sync toy on this approach (hopefully it works!!)

  19. Sriram says:

    update:: synctoy does not work.. will have to resort to other tools..

  20. Petter says:

    Ye, I get the "file size to large" error using synctoy too.. 😦

  21. Andrew says:

    I managed to map the Skydrive folder but am also getting \’file size too large\’, Is there a way around this?

  22. Krishna Chaithanya says:

    me too getting file size large even if i upload 200kb image file is there any way to get rid of this error ?I\’m using NIS 2010 if i upload 1kb or 2 kb files then it is uploading

    • Ben Cai says:

      same problem here

      • Ludwig says:

        You will get the “file size too large” error even for small files if they are not accepted by SkyDrive. There have been many recent changes and improvements. For additional assistance, please use “Send a message to Ludwig” on the About page.

  23. Andrew says:

    Just found SDExplorer and it works with no problems. Just drag over the files and it starts copying. Using W7 x64 Pro Edition.

  24. Ludwig J. says:

    Tested the procedure described in the blog post on Vista and on Windows 7. Worked without problems. Allowed mapping of own folders and of other user\’s folders that is shared with me. Could not map unshared folders (works as it should). I will post another entry after some additional testing, now that Wave 4 has settled down.

  25. sanku says:

    Only problem I am facing with Sync Toy 2.1 Application… when Sync My local drive with Skydrive … giving folder creation error and files are not uploaded….

  26. hemaanjana says:

    "Error 0x80070057 : The parameter is incorrect". i\’m getting this eror what should i do.. please give me a solution

  27. Ludwig J. says:

    There are many circumstances that cause that error. You might try http://support.microsoft.com/ to guide you through to a solution. Sorry I can\’t be of more help.

  28. Richard says:

    is there a solution to "file too large" problem yet? my drive is working, but i cant upload anything but office docs.

  29. Anish says:

    Hey, your tutorial has been very useful, but there\’s one glitch whenever I try it. Whenever I try to copy a folder on to the mapped drive, it gives me the error that I don\’t have permission to copy files. But I can delete the files already present without a problem. Is there a way around this hitch?

  30. Eric says:

    I have the same issue as Richard. Can some one recommend a way to get around the "file too large" issue? I thought the file size limit was set at 50mb?

  31. Peter Parslow says:

    In Windows XP & Windows Home Server (WS 2003), the procedure to map a drive which requires login details is slightly different – you have to choose “Connect using a different user name” before you tell the wizard to connect. From the text above, it looks as though Windows XP / 7 tries, and then comes back to you if it needs login details.

    (I guess if you were in an environment where you’re logging on to your local PC with the same credentials as you use for SkyDrive, this wouldn’t matter – but I can’t imagine such an environment!)

    Then the way it wants the path name entered differs too; it works for me with \\>.docs.live.net\\ I understand the six letter code (presumably the server within docs.live.net that your stuff is on) is stable. A microsoft developer has provided “SkyDrive Simple Viewer” which (amongst other things) helps you find it out.

    It does seem rather round about though, and SyncToy is only slowly crawling through the newly mapped drive just now.

  32. Peter Parslow says:

    Accessing the mapped drive using Windows Explorer is excruciatingly slow, and even leaving an Explorer window open on it slows everything else down. Seems OK to SyncToy
    A slight oddity, though. My drive-mapped SkyDrive interprets some folder names differently, so “Rostock, Germany” appears as “Rostok^J Germany”, whilst “Boys & Family” appears as “Boys^O Family”. SyncToy doesn’t spot these as the same, so wants to copy all the files again – I wonder whether it would make a new folder?

  33. MasT says:

    I tried with Windows 7 from command line its work fine…..

  34. dan says:

    hmm .. the whole skydrive thing seems like a waste of effort.

    After painfully/slowly copying 1000 files to skydrive, i discover that skydrive changes my files. That is, the “date modified” of each file has been modified to the date that the file was updated to skydrive.
    The whole idea of backup is to maintain an EXACT copy of the original so that later the backup file is available in the EXACT same condition as the original. It is not acceptable that the backup method modify the file. If skydrive modifies the date, how are you sure that something else is not modified? How will you know that your backup is the same as the original once the files are not longer the same?

    I’ve searched the net and have not found a work-around. Has anyone else?

    • LudwigKeck says:

      Yes, the ways of Microsoft are strange. You get new date stamps on uploading to SkyDrive, and again when downloading. SkyDrive is not promoted as a backup system, in fact the fine print in the agreement that you accepted when you set up your Windows Live account says that file security is not guaranteed and that you are responsible for backing up your files (see link at end of comment). Changing the date stamps does not affect the contents of your files and that remains unchanged. I assume that if you compress files (ZIP) that only the zip-file date stamps would be affected. I have not explored that – so please do not take my word on that.
      The Windows Live Service Agreement: http://explore.live.com/microsoft-service-agreement

  35. Ricky says:

    Is there a solution to “file too large” problem yet? my drive is working, but i cant upload anything but office docs. A 95kb .png file gives me the file too large error.

    • LudwigKeck says:

      Sorry, not yet, that I know of. You will get the “file too large” error for any file that is not an Office file type when attempting to copy or move such a file into a mapped SkyDrive folder.
      Do remember that you can upload most any file type (but not a folder) to a SkyDrive folder when you are signed in to your Live account. You have to do it from the SkyDrive folder, click “Add files” in the folder menu. You can add sub-folders there and add files to them.
      I am hoping that Microsoft will improve the mapping feature, but I have no information about that.

  36. Siobhan says:

    Hi. I’ve been reading your page. It’s very useful! But I’m kinda stupid and need the “computers for dummies” kinda talk sometimes.

    I’m slightly confused. If I store files on SkyDrive, does that mean no matter what computer I’m on, I’ll be able to upload the pictures I’ve stored on SkyDrive?..

    The reason I’ve been using SkyDrive is because I wanted something safe, something I can’t lose, to keep my pictures in case my computer breaks or something…

    If SkyDrive is not that type of website, Is there another site i can use?.. Hope you can help!

    Thanks. Siobhan

    • Ludwig says:

      Hello Siobhan,
      First and always, remember: The lack of knowledge is not the same as stupidity! Not asking for information and help is stupid. You asked: So you are not stupid!
      Can you access your SkyDrive from anywhere and any computer: Yes, that is the charm and usefulness of SkyDrive. If you have Internet access your Live ID credentials will let you connect to SkyDrive. The connection will be secure, note the “s” in “https:…” although the computer you are using might not be secure.
      As with any service and any provider, you should not count on permanent safe storage. SkyDrive is not about to get discontinued, in fact improvements are on the way, but many things can go wrong. If you do not sign in for a long time (several months) your account might be closed. Your ID might be compromised and misused. So my advise is to not rely on just one place for archiving your photos. Use several methods. I like to keep copies of my photos on DVDs in a bank safe deposit box. That too, is not a permanent way. DVDs might not be readable after a few years, and not paying the bank rent … well, you get the picture.
      SkyDrive works well, but it is not meant to work as an online backup service. You can’t upload folders and you can’t treat SkyDrive like a drive on your computer. There are online backup services – just search “online backup” – although they all cost money.
      If you need more help on this, or anything else about computing, I will try to assist, just send me a message at cafeludwig.com you can find a “Send message to Ludwig” link there. Thank you for asking!

    • Max Mast says:

      Use http://www.dropbox.com
      its very easy to use.

  37. braun says:

    yeh…no comparison in the ease of use with dropbox…sadly…
    we all don’t know how MS implemented the skydrive concept. Trying to figure out “how to”…seems to be a waste of time. MS does not do things “till the end”…

  38. Joel says:

    Thank you very much!

  39. Al says:

    Why can’t I upload to sky drive….mapped the drive can’t upload …..file name to long….can’t upload pictures……files too big 4-6 meg in size. I thought file size was 50 meg? Any help would be great. Thank you in Advance

    • Ludwig says:

      At present the best way to upload to SkyDrive is to go to the SkyDrive folder in a browser, that is log in to your account and open the SkyDrive folder, click “Add files” and drag and drop files into the dialog window. You can upload large files this way, but be sure that they are JPG files. You can upload to SkyDrive albums using Windows Live Photo Gallery which also does resizing and changing to JPG files automatically.
      Using the mapped drive route does not work very well, but new changes to SkyDrive are coming very soon (May 2012), maybe that feature will be added.

  40. Al says:

    I have lots of files/folders wont let me drag an drop folders.

    • Ludwig says:

      That is true at present. You can only drag and drop files, not folders. So you must manually create the sub-folders, drag the files into them. If they have sub-folders you need to set up the next level of sub-folder and so on. It is a pain for now.

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