Access OneDrive (Consumer) – Or Any Hosted Location With Windows Explorer

Microsoft evidently missed the obvious irony when they decided to reuse the “OneDrive” name for the revamped Office 365 mysite document library – OneDrive For Business – thereby giving the world:
Not ONE but TWO…. ONE Drives!

Despite their confusingly similar names, the original, consumer OneDrive and Office 365’s OneDrive For Business are very different animals. Users familar with the consumer OneDrive are befuddled by the complexity and difficulties they encounter when trying to use ODFB. I guess Microsoft was trying to leverage the popularity of the “OneDrive” brand – but that popularity is based on OneDrive being “born in the cloud”, and simple and intuitive to use. The other, troubled OneDrive (ForBusiness) looks more like a botched attempt to marry the convenience of cloud access to the complexity of a server born service like Sharepoint.
A Different Approach

For those seeking the simplicity of OneDrive and some of the functionality of ODFB, it’s worth considering a different approach:
Rather than trying to get ODFB to behave like OneDrive, get OneDrive to function more like ODFB.
One way to do that is to create an access point for your consumer OneDrive storage space in Windows Explorer. That will allow you to easily drag files directly from a device like a digital camera, transfer things from OneDrive to an Office 365 library or an ftp account etc without the hassle of downloading and uploading. In effect, it makes OneDrive an extension of your local hard drive – without the risk of a hard drive failure. It also makes a OneDrive account available to other users who can access your network.

To Sync Or Swim….

Microsoft does offer a OneDrive sync client you can use, but if you don’t want to take up local real estate with duplicate file copies or deal with syncing issues, you can add OneDrive as a network place/location. It will appear just like any other folder in Windows Explorer and can be used the same way.

How To Get The Right Url.

The trick is figuring out HOW to add a OneDrive url that network places will recognize. The url you see in the browser will look like this: If you try to add that, the location will be rejected. Microsoft isn’t forthcoming about how to do this either. I don’t know how I figured it out but I was able to add my original SkyDrive account many years ago with a url that looked like this:

Breaking that down: is the server address
/xxxxxxx/ is the account id.

To get the account id, open up your OneDrive account and look at the number that follows ?cid= at the end of the url:

So join those 2 bits together and you have the correct url.

Creating A Web Folder

Next, click “add a network place” or “location” or whatever your os supports.
Click “next” and enter the url you created above


Give it a name, say “One Drive”, which will appear in Explorer
Click finish.

When you open up Explorer, you’ll see a One Drive folder from which you can access all your OD files!


If it doesn’t work for you, you can try to use in place of I’m not sure if newer accounts still use the old server address – both work for me.


Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Access hidden Office 365 Sharepoint Online site locations with windows explorer.

When you open a site in windows explorer, you’re actually exposing the root of the site which can be useful if you need to add a file to the root or view your sitemap etc. Frustratingly though, Msft has hidden various directories from view. The _catalogs directory, for example, which contains all the critical stylesheets, master pages etc can’t be accessed this way. If you don’t want to struggle with Sharepoint Designer, here’s a trick to reveal all user accessible files in explorer:Open network places (or location or whatever your os calls it) and click “add a network place”
TIP: if you get an access denied error, make sure you’re logged in via IE.

To access the root of the site:


For a specific directory:
For a 2013 site you’ll then need to open the master page directory and select the folder for your region (eg en-us)
Once you’ve established a network place you can navigate to it and open the css files in notepad.
After making your changes, you will have to save the file locally, open 2 explorer instances and drag it over to the appropriate sharepoint directory because you can’t save directly to sp (for some reason).
Now you can work directly with critical site files without having to deal with the perennial browser glitches and slowness of the user interface.

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!