How to Allow Windows 8 Apps to Access Files on External Drives

When you are running Windows 8 modern apps, you will find that the Windows 8 apps have no access to files on external drives. It is unclear why Microsoft impose such limitation to their apps, but you can easily get around this issue by tricking Windows 8 into thinking your external drive is actually a Windows library.

Plug in your external drive. It can be a SD card, USB drive or even a portable hard disk. Open Windows Explorer and access the external drive through My Computer.

creating-folders-to-mimic-libraries-on-removable-device

You can create folders that mimic the type of data you would normally store in a library. This can be music, photos, videos or any type of folder you want.

You can create as many folders as you need to organize your data as well. They’ll all be imported into your Windows libraries in later steps.

The trick to using your removable media in Windows 8 apps is to reroute the path your computer sees the device coming from.

Open the “Win + X” Menu and click “Disk Management.”

Opening Win + X Menu to open Disk Management

You’ll want to right-click your external device and click “Change Drive Letter and Paths….”

using-the-disk-management-window

Your computer has already assigned a drive letter to your external device, and we’ll leave that alone.

changing-drive-letter-and-paths

We want to add a new path for your device, so click “Add….”

adding-drive-letter-or-path

Click “Mount in the following empty NTFS folder:” and click “Browse.”

Browse for drive path

Browse to where you want the new path to lead, create a folder and name it whatever you want, setting that as the path. Click “OK” to save the settings.

Now head back to your Windows libraries. Click on a primary folder, like My Documents, My Photos or My Videos, then click “Manage library” in the top left of the “Manage” tab.

managing-library-in-windows

This will show you all the folders that are linked to that library on your PC. Click on “Add.”

adding-removable-device-to-windows-library

Migrate back to where you created the drive path for your removable device, click on it and then click “Include folder.”

including-folder

You’ll now see that the location has been added to the Library.

removable-device-now-part-of-windows-libraries

You can now drag and drop whatever you need into those folders on your external drive. Once you plug it into your PC and it’s recognized, you can access those files in Windows 8 apps that rely on your libraries for storing data.

You’ll also be able to save data within apps that allow you access to these locations for use on the go.

Why Microsoft insists on making things more difficult for Windows users, we’ll never know. But with the above steps, you can easily access and store files on external drive when you use Windows 8 apps.