How do I upload a folder to SkyDrive?

UPDATE 5 June 2012: SkyDrive has been greatly improved. The SkyDrive app for the desktop now allows using SkyDrive just like any other folder on your computer. See How do I install SkyDrive in Windows Explorer?


Windows Live provides users with a large online storage area, this area is normally used for photo albums and for document storage. From SkyDrive the “Add files” option does not permit uploading folders. Folders can be uploaded by mapping a SkyDrive folder as a network drive so it can be shown in Windows Explorer.

How to map a folder is described in: How can I see my SkyDrive photos in Windows Explorer? The procedure for a document folder is the same as for an album. Keep in mind that the entire SkyDrive cannot be mapped, it has to be an individual folder.

Once mapped, the folder can be used, almost!, like any other folder on the computer.

A folder with contents, including other folders, can be copied to the SkyDrive folder by just dragging as illustrated here (or the Ctrl+CCtrl+V keyboard shortcuts can be used).


The selected folder will be copied to the SkyDrive folder – since this is an Internet upload, the time will depend on the connection speed.


Once the folder is uploaded it is accessible in Windows Explorer. It is, of course, also accessible from SkyDrive. Below is a view of the newly uploaded folder in SkyDrive by the process illustrated above. Is all the contents is there?

That depends! Windows Live and SkyDrive are in a state of flux at the time of this writing (November 2010).


The procedure described here currently works only for Office documents and plain text documents (DOCX, XLSX, PPTX, TXT). If files of another type were in the uploaded folder those files will not make it to SkyDrive at this time!

The Office documents can be inspected or edited online using Web Apps. Just click on the document title and the appropriate Web App is launched.




What is the difference between Office, Photos, and SkyDrive?

When signed in to Windows Live, the menu bar at the top provides access to Hotmail and Messenger and to the user’s SkyDrive. The individual commands provide access to the documents or photos portion.


Each of the commands also provides a drop-down menu to select the specific item or task desired. Clicking on the “Windows Live” title also presents a menu. The menus are shown here.


Under the Office command the documents and document folders can be reached. From Photos the albums can be displayed. When SkyDrive is clicked (left menu) all of the items on the SkyDrive are shown.

The different option just provide for quick access to the items of interest, there is no other difference.


How do I get to SkyDrive?

To access your Windows Live SkyDrive log in to 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.


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:


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.

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 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).


For additional information see: Windows Live SkyDrive.