Author’s Note: This post was created before the release of Windows 8.1 and the new management of SkyDrive (OneDrive) online/offline files. If you are running Windows 8.1, please see articles here and here for information on how you can much more easily accomplish this goal. If you are running Windows 8 or a previous Windows version, read on!
Most Microsoft followers know now that you can install the SkyDrive App and get your SkyDrive storage synchronized across multiple PCs/devices. This is a really cool thing as it basically means you can slap something in your SkyDrive folder in Explorer while at work, and have it there on your PC at home. Pretty cool.
But what about the downsides:
- You have to wait for the file to be uploaded to SkyDrive from the initial PC where it was added
- Then wait for it to be downloaded from SkyDrive on all other PCs.
- Since it’s copied to the local machine, your 7GB of storage on SkyDrive is now chewing up 7GB of storage on your hard drive.
1 & 2 are problems if you use you SkyDrive like I do and store downloadables on it so that you can get to them from other PCs when you need to install software you commonly use. #3 is a problem on computers that have limited disk space, such as the netbooks that were so popular in the past few years.
So what to do?
Simple. You map your SkyDrive directly to a folder in Windows Explorer using “Network Location” mapping. I know this works on Windows 7 and higher, can’t speak for predecessors. Check it out.
- Hit Win+E to pop open Explorer. Should land you at the ‘Computer’ area. If it doesn’t, go there.
- Right click in an empty space, choose ‘Add a network location’
- Step thru the wizard choosing to Create a custom network location. When you get to the part where you’re entering a network address, head over to your SkyDrive site.
- Now, pick any item in your SkyDrive site, choose “Share” on the right-hand side, then Get a link, then View only. In the resulting window, grab the text from ‘resid=’ to the ! character. For example:
would result in text of
- Go back to your Add Network Location wizard, and enter the following in the network address:
(the trailing / is important)
- Finish the wizard, naming your SkyDrive location whatever you want. Bam. You now have a Shortcut that shows up in your drives list that is a direct access to SkyDrive, not a mirror, not a synchronized copy of the data chewing up hard drive space.
You can open Office docs from there, like OneNote notebooks, and they’ll recognized they’re being opened from SkyDrive and provide all the cool synchronization functionality.
And in case you’re wondering, yes, whatever file you used to get the unique ID to put at in the URL is now shared. But only via the link that was generated (no need for panic). So head back to your SkyDrive and unshare it at your leisure.