How to Map SkyDrive As Your Network Drive in Windows 7

Lots of people anticipate Windows 8 because of its integration with SkyDrive, but do you really need to upgrade in order to feel the power of having a cloud storage accessory? We’re going to teach you how to make SkyDrive into your own personal network storage, allowing you to put backups of your website, important family photos, and other things inside of it from  Windows Explorer.

For those who have no idea what a mapped drive is, let’s first explain the concept. When you map a network drive, you give all the computers in your network the ability to use that drive remotely. So let’s say that I map a network drive on computer A, and computer B is connected to computer A through the same HomeGroup and network. Well, with drive mapping, computer B can now use computer A’s hard drive as if though it were physically installed on computer B.

The added benefit to this is that you can easily back up files from computer B in computer A whenever you want to reinstall an operating system or make any other major change.

With a SkyDrive, you don’t map a drive from any computer. You directly have access to 25 GB of Microsoft’s storage real estate, without any catches so far. We don’t know about the future of this service, but it certainly looks good so far.

Let’s get started with mapping your drive! Assuming you are using Windows 7:

  • Go to your computer’s control panel and click “User Accounts and Family Safety.”

skydrive-accounts

  • Click “User Accounts” near the top.
  • Now, click “Link Online IDs” on the left-hand side. You’ll find it here:

skydrive-useraccounts

  • Click on “Add an online ID provider.” This will take you to a page on Microsoft’s website where you can download the Windows Live ID Sign-In Assistant.

skydrive-wliveidassistantdl

  • Click the “Download” button and install the Sign-In Assistant. You do not need to restart your computer. Just close the installer once it’s finished. Go back to your “Link Online IDs” window. You should now see something like this:

skydrive-windowsliveid

  • Click on “Link online ID” inside your new online ID provider button. Note: Windows might have a bug in which this doesn’t work after freshly installing the Windows Live ID Sign-In Assistant. If this is the case, just close the window and repeat the steps you took to get to the “Link Online IDs” window. It’ll re-open everything, making it functional once again. You should now be at a window like this:

skydrive-windowsliveidsignin

  • Once you have signed in, you should see the online ID provider update itself to something like this:

skydrive-refresh

  • Now, we need your SkyDrive URL. Log in to SkyDrive and go to your “Public” folder or any other folder that isn’t private. You can make the folder “not private” temporarily while doing this, and revert the changes after you’re done. Be sure to make the folder public.
  • Go to the folder and, on the right-side of the page – under “Sharing,” click “Share folder.”
  • Click “Get a Link” and create a link for viewing and editing.
  • Within the URL, copy the string after “cid-” and before “&” and erase the rest of the URL. You don’t need it for this. For example, if your URL was “https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=cd682326f5242fd4&resid=Cd682326F5242FD4!216&parid=root,” all you need is “cd682326f5242fd4.”
  • Now, format the string so that it turns into the internally accessible URL for your SkyDrive folder like so: \\docs.live.net@SSL\cd682326f5242fd4\^2Documents. Note: Don’t forget to replace the CID in the URL with your own CID string. Also, replace “DOCUMENTS” with the name of the folder you’re trying to map. Don’t map folders that are public. Or, at least, don’t put anything you don’t want shared in a public folder.
  • Go to “Computer” on your Start menu and click “Map Network Drive.”

skydrive-mapdrive

  • Under “Drive,” select whatever letter you want. Under “Folder,” paste the URL you created earlier.
  • Once you click “Finish,” you should be all set!

Once you succeed, you’ll be able to use this drive like any other normal drive, copying files to and from it without a hitch! Your computer will have an extra 25 GB in an off-site location, a perfect solution for when you want to back up any amount of data. Remember not to make any folder where you store personal data public.

Note: For alternative method of accessing SkyDrive on your desktop, here is one software that you can use to mount your SkyDrive account.

The instructions here don’t work for every single computer user in every single situation. If you have any trouble getting acquainted with this method of using your SkyDrive, just leave a comment in the comments section below and we’ll try to answer your inquiry as soon as possible. We are familiar with multiple work-arounds for several different situations, so let us know if anything is wrong.

If you have anything to add to this, or any other cooler and simpler methods of making this work (perhaps a way to do this in Linux?), we’re more than happy to hear this. Just pitch it to us at the comments section, as usual! We’re more than happy to lend you an ear and discuss the method.

You’re also more than welcome to discuss the current method, adding constructive things to the dialogue!