How can I see my SkyDrive photos in Windows Explorer?

You Windows Live SkyDrive photos are stored “in the cloud” on Microsoft servers. Normally you access them through a browser like Internet Explorer.

It is possible to map a SkyDrive album to a drive letter in Windows Explorer. Then you can see what photos you have stored in that album.

NOTE: This method works in Windows 7. Windows Vista also supports mapping with this procedure, other operating system do not, sorry.

Here is how:

Obtain your Windows Live account “cid” number. Once you have that you may want to save it in a file for future use.

  • Sign in to you Windows Live account by going to home.live.com.
  • Click on profile underneath your name in the upper right.

The address in the browser address window contains your “cid” number. It is the number following “cid-“ up to the next period (“.”) as shown highlighted in this example:

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Of course, the number will be your own unique number, not mine as shown here.

  • Copy this number for later use.
  • Get the name of the SkyDrive album that you wish to map.

Next proceed on your computer.

  • Click Start – Computer. Windows Explorer open showing your drives.
  • On the menu bar click Map network drive.

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A “Map network drive” dialog opens.

  • Select the drive letter you wish to use. By default the selection is the highest drive letter available, normally Z:.
  • In the Folders box enter this text (without the quotes) “\\docs.live.net@SSL\” ,followed by your cid number, followed by a back-slash, followed by the album name.

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  • Click Finish.

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You will see a “Map Network Drive” dialog. It may take a while for this process to complete.

When the “Windows Security” dialog opens enter your Windows Live ID – the complete email address and your password.

After another delay a new Windows Explorer window opens showing your SkyDrive album (as illustrated here).

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You can see thumbnails of your photos and you can see the properties of a selected photo in the properties pane.

Can you use this mapped folder like any other? Alas, at the present time (October 2010) when you drag a photo to this folder it seems to work at first. Then you get an error message.

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imageThe error message may say that the file is too large, regardless of how small it actually may be. Maybe soon Microsoft will enable the functionality that is so close to reality.

For now you will have to settle for just seeing your photos in the album. Use Windows Live Photo Gallery to upload photos to the album (see: How do I upload photos to SkyDrive using Windows Live Photo Gallery?) or upload from the SkyDrive side (see: How do I upload photos to SkyDrive?)

How do I upload photos to my SkyDrive?

There are several ways to copy pictures to Windows Live SkyDrive. They can be “pushed” up using Windows Live Photo Gallery (see: How do I upload photos to SkyDrive using Windows Live Photo Gallery?) or they can be “pulled” up form SkyDrive. This second method is the topic of this post.

Here is a step-by-step procedure:

  • Sign in to your Windows Live account. Internet Explorer likely will remember you and sign you in when you go to home.live.com.
  • On your Windows Live home page click on Photos in the menu bar at the top.

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  • imageClick on the album where you want to add photos. If the album does not show, click View all albums in the nav bar on the left.
  • Click Add photos on the menu bar.
  • The “Add photos” page provides for two ways to copy photos to the album. You can drag photos from a Windows Explorer windows, however, this method is not available on all browsers. The other way is to click “select photos from your computer”.

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  • An “Open” dialog window opens. This is actually Windows Explorer. It likely will open to a document folder, so maneuver to the correct folder where the photos are.
  • Select the photos to upload in the normal way – click the thumbnail, hold down the Ctrl key to select more. The other ways work just fine.
  • Click Open (lower right).
  • The thumbnails will start to appear on the SkyDrive page. The default size of the photos to be uploaded is “Large (1600 px)”. If you wish the photos to be scaled to another size, or to maintain their original size, select the option by clicking the size button.
  • Click Continue (it will be unavailable until the “Open “task is completed.image

You will next see a message like at right advising that you are done.

 

That’s all there is to uploading photos to an album on your SkyDrive.

 

 

How do I upload photos to SkyDrive using Windows Live Photo Gallery?

SkyDrive is your free storage and sharing location provided by Windows Live. A number of applications “know” how to upload to SkyDrive and make the process very easy. Windows Live Photo Gallery is one of those programs.image

To tell Photo Gallery about your SkyDrive, simply sign in to Photo Gallery. Over on the upper right side there is a Sign in link.

Click Sign in, then sign in with your Windows Live ID. Once signed in, Photo Gallery will remember and you need not sign in each time.

To upload photos, select them – just click the thumbnail image. If you wish to select more than one, hold down the Ctrl key while clicking on the desired thumbnails. If you have a group of photos in consecutive order you can click the first one, then hold down the Shift key and click the last one. imageTo select all the photos shown in the gallery click Select all on the Ribbon with the Home tab selected (or hold down the Ctrl key and press A ). Be careful with that. This will select thumbnails that are scrolled off the view.image

Selected thumbnails will be highlighted so you can see which ones are selected.

To upload the selected photos click on SkyDrive in the Share group on the Ribbon. If you are not signed in, you will get a sign in dialog here. Then you will see a dialog somewhat like this:

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There are a number of choices to make in this dialog. Note the Photo upload size – the default is “Large (1600 px)”. Click the down arrowhead for other size options. Note that you can also select Original to upload the photos in their full size. The option Medium (600 px) is ok for photos that are meant only for online viewing. When you select other than Original your photos will be scaled down if the horizontal or vertical picture dimension is larger that the number shown. Smaller photos will not be resized.

In the main area of the dialog you can select one of your existing albums on the SkyDrive, you may need to scroll down if you have many.

The default is to create a new album. Note the text entry box wimageith the flashing cursor. Just type the name that you want to assign to the new album. For a new album, there is also a sharing selector. You can specify sharing here. Of course, you can change that later in SkyDrive.

When you have made your choices, click the Publish button which will now be available in the lower right of the dialog.

imageA dialog will show the progress of the upload process. Remember that this may take some time depending on the number and size of the photos selected.

It really is that simple. You can upload to an existing album or create a new one right from Windows Live Photo Gallery.

 

How do I create a new SkyDrive album?

You can create a new album on your Windows Live SkyDrive a couple of ways. You can do it in your SkyDrive when you are logged in to your Windows Live account, or you can do it from Windows Live Photo Gallery. Actually there are some other ways, here I will discuss just how to create a new album on SkyDrive.

Log in to your Windows Live account: Start your browser and go to live.com. Your browser might have remembered your credentials and logs you in, otherwise you will see the log in page.image

  • Click Photos on the link bar at the top.image
  • Click Create album
  • Type the name that you wish to assign to the album. Note that “New album” is the default name, it is already selected (highlighted) so you can type right over it.
  • Pick who you want to share the album with. The default is Friends, but you can imagechange that by clicking Change.
  • Set the slider to the appropriate position for sharing. You can also share this album with people you specify in the area  below the slider. Sharing of albums and folders is described in more detail another post.

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  • Click Next. The album will be created. On the next page you have the opportunity to add photos to the album by dragging them from Windows Explorer or from Live Photo Gallery. That process is described in another post.
  • Click Continue to complete the process.

 

To see how to create a new photo album using Windows Live Photo Gallery see “How do I upload photos from Photo Gallery?”

 

How do I get to SkyDrive?

To access your Windows Live SkyDrive log in to live.com with your Windows Live ID. This gets you to your Windows Live Home page. Across the top are links including Office and Photos, these access the documents and albums sections of your SkyDrive.

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To see all of the contents of your SkyDrive, right-click on Windows Live. On the small drop-down menu click SkyDrive. This will show all the contents of your SkyDrive. Here is a typical view:

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Note that the contents is organized into sections. Shown are folders, documents (not filed in any folder), and photo albums. Also note the little symbols in the lower right corner of the icons. These indicate how that item is shared. The little padlock indicates a private item – only you have access to that. The people symbol shows that the item is shared with one or more other specific users. The small globe means that the item is public and accessible to anyone in the world.

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What is SkyDrive?

Windows Live SkyDrive is an online file store available free to all users with a Windows Live ID. The service provides currently (Oct 2010) 25 gigabytes of free storage for documents and photos. If you have a Windows Live ID you already have access to this store, just log in to live.com. I you do not have a Windows Live ID, you can get on at that same site (click Sign up). You can sign up to get a Hotmail email account or you can get a Windows Live ID without the Hotmail account and using another email address (see link at pointer in illustration below).

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For additional information see: Windows Live SkyDrive.