How to map OneDrive as a network drive letter

One nice feature with Microsoft OneDrive over many other folder sync services such as Dropbox is that it can be mapped as a network drive letter, much like a NAS drive on a home network. The free OneDrive service provides 15GB of space and this is doubled to 30GB for those who use the mobile app to sync the phone’s photos.

The main advantage with accessing OneDrive as a network drive is that no files are stored on the computer. This is particularly useful for laptop or Windows tablet users with a small SSD or someone with several hundred gigabytes of data on OneDrive (e.g. with the Office 365 Home subscription). The obvious catch is that files take longer to open and save and that it totally depends on an Internet connection, unlike the sync app where synced files can be accessed and edited offline. Of course a workaround is to copy & paste the files you need to a local folder to use in an location without connectivity, then copy the changed files back later on. :slight_smile:

Microsoft has a support article showing how to map OneDrive as a network drive letter using a loophole in the ‘Save to Web’ feature in Word 2010, but for those looking for a quicker way or don’t have Word 2010, the following guide should work. The Microsoft guide also talks about setting up a Windows Live ID online provider in Windows, but so far I haven’t had any issues across several computers without doing that.

  1. Go to the OneDrive website www.onedrive.com and sign in.

  2. Right-click on ‘Files’ at the top-left and copy the link (“Copy shortcut” in Internet Explorer, “Copy Link Location” in Firefox or “Copy Link Address” in Chrome):

  3. Open up Notepad and paste the link. Copy the CID code similar to as shown below:

  4. Go into Windows Explorer and click on ‘Map Network Drive’:

  5. Choose a drive letter to use, then type in the address “https://d.docs.live.net/”, followed by the CID code you got in step 3, so it looks like the following:

  6. Tick the option “Connect using different credentials”.

  7. If you would like this network dive to be remembered, tick “Reconnect at logon”. Note that doing so can make Windows Explorer take several seconds to appear (including ‘Save As’, ‘Open’, etc. screens).

  8. Click on Finish. After a few seconds, it will ask you to log in, so type in your Windows live e-mail address and password. If you chose “Reconnect at logon” for step 7 and don’t wish to keep typing in your logon details each time the PC boots, tick “Remember my credentials”.

  9. Click on ‘OK’. If all goes well, the drive network drive should appear:

Thanks…

I just tried doing this and couldn’t get it to work. Then I realized that I had typed “http:” for the folder location instead of “http[B]s[/B]:”. When I corrected that it worked. Maybe someone can learn from my mistake.

AWESOME TUTORIAL!

I mounted my own account pretty easily, but when I tried to mount a OneDrive shared folder, it couldn’t connect.

Are shared folders mountable?

THANKS!

Is anyone here currently using this method and getting decent speeds?

I just tried it again, and while download speeds are unimpressive, upload speeds are ridiculously slow at <1 Mbps on a line that supports >50 Mbps.

I haven’t actually tried any file transfers since I posted the above and that time I just had 4.3Mb / 0.3Mb up, which itself was a snail’s pace for file transfers.

From a quick check, it is indeed extremely slow with file transfers. Windows explorer hung while trying to transfer a 50MB video clip and I killed its process 30 minutes later with it still showing what I think was the calculating transfer time screen. Unsurprisingly, the clip did not upload. When I tried again with a 5.7MB JPEG file, it took 2 minutes to complete, i.e. 0.38Mbps compared to my actual uplink of 8.62Mbps according to TestMy.

Even the OneDrive for Business has gone to a snail’s pace recently when accessed through Windows Explorer (not its sync client) and I know it use to be a lot faster in the past.

I suspect Microsoft increasing the OneDrive capacity to 1TB for Office365 home & business subscribers is severely overloading its servers.

I did some further testing with OneDrive and it appears to be very slow regardless of the method I use to access it, so a pretty clear sign of Microsoft’s OneDrive servers being overloaded.

For example, the following is a direct download from its web interface:

For comparison, the following is a download of a dummy file put on my host:

As there are various commercial products providing network drive mapping capability, I gave a quick test run of commercial product ExpanDrive trial version. It appears to work with the API rather than using the above method as I had to give permission for it to access my OneDrive files for it to map the drive.

Performance-wise, it’s about the same for OneDrive:

ExpanDrive does support other services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) and has a nice upload feature where it caches the uploads, so it doesn’t hang the Windows Explorer window during uploads like the map a network drive feature. On the other hand, it’s a rather expensive product for a home user ($50), the price of an annual 200GB OneDrive subscription or even a 1TB USB HDD. Personally I’d buy a handful of 32GB USB sticks which also would be much quicker. :slight_smile:




I’ve been trying NetDrive, which is similar to ExpanDrive, and I’m getting better performance than with the above method or browser uploads. It’s also fairly expensive at $45 for a single license with 1-year support, but they claim that after the trial expires (30 days) you will still be able to use it for a single cloud drive connection, so maybe it will be useful even if you don’t purchase it:

Even after the trial period, you can continue using NetDrive
but you will be limited to one network drive only.

I must say that Google Drive is much more responsive and uploads/downloads at wire-speed on my internet connection, using either the browser or NetDrive, so if I were to purchase additional space I would definitely choose Google Drive over OneDrive, but I guess that’s a separate discussion.

That’s a nice feature. :cool:

The ExpanDrive trial only lasts 7 days and unless I overlooked something, it stops working once the trial ends.

From a quick check on my workplace PC, NetDrive does seem to perform better with OneDrive. I’ll need to try installing it on my laptop later to do a side-by-side comparison back at home. What I suspect is that NetDrive does multi-threaded connections to achieve the higher data rate.

One rather odd issue I ran into with both applications is how they handle case sensitivity from the command line.

The first screen here shows how to map the network drive in the command line without any third party tool and also that there is no sign of case sensitivity in directly listing and switching directory:

The following is with a network drive mapped in ExpanDrive. It is not case sensitive when using wildcards, but is case sensitive to specific file/directory names:

It’s the reverse for NetDrive. It is case sensitive in when using wildcards, making it rather awkward to look for files that you don’t know whether they contain upper-case characters:

I’ll try it out with Google Drive and Dropbox later. I did notice ExpanDrive performed a lot faster with Google Drive, so am curious to try NetDrive for comparison.





I did some further testing at home between various cloud providers and between NetDrive and ExpanDrive using 22 JPEG files totalling 107MB.

NetDrive performs a lot better than ExpanDrive, particularly with multi-threaded transfers (e.g. robocopy /mt) where it’s over double the transfer speed with Google Drive, at least going over my ISP.

The OneDrive API seems to be suffering API issues today as both products kept giving I/O errors when trying to copy from OneDrive. The Windows built-in method still worked.

Dropbox was the slowest. Even with multi-threaded transfers, the total throughput was about 0.55MB/s with NetDrive and half this speed again using ExpanDrive. With linear file transfers, it only went about 0.37MB/s in NetDrive, not much better than OneDrive the last day it worked.

Amazon Cloud Drive did not fare much better with 0.62MB/s for the same test. With linear file transfers, it only went about 0.46MB/s.

Google Drive was the quickest in NetDrive. With the same file set, the throughput was about 1.81MB/s. I’m sure my ISP is somewhat limiting this.

OneDrive for Business was a bit of a surprise. Despite having by far the worst sync product I’ve come across, both its API and Windows bulit-in method perform quite well with file transfers. With NetDrive, I got 1.45MB/s with multi-threaded transfers of the same file set. With Windows Explorer built-in network drive mapping, I got about 1.73MB/s.

Surprisingly, NetDrive did not seem to perform much better with multi-threaded FTP transfers and certainly nowhere near the performance of a dedicated FTP client on my home ISP. With a linear transfer, I got 1.2MB/s, only increasing to 1.39MB/s with a multi-threaded transfer.

With FileZilla, I got 2.33MB/s in a linear transfer and 2.55MB/s with a multi-threaded transfer, which I’m sure was the limit of my ISP at the time as 20Mbps would be what I typically get in a speed test during the day.

My workplace is expected to get VDSL in two weeks time, so I’ll wait until then to do more in-depth testing between the cloud providers. Although my ExpanDrive trial will end then, it’s pretty clear at this point which one performed better. :slight_smile:

Nice work testing there, Seán! :flower:

My testing in a Windows 10 Preview virtual machine confirms that NetDrive is faster than ExpanDrive with OneDrive cloud service as well as with Google Drive. I also think the user interface of NetDrive is better.

Unfortunately, right now NetDrive is unable to mount my drives while ExpanDrive is working fine. :doh:

When the ExpanDrive trial ends, it displays the following:

After this time lapses, it then automatically shuts down its process and opens its purchase page in the browser.

I haven’t heard any feedback to a few issues I reported on the day I installed it, so I’ve decided to uninstall it.

So far NetDrive didn’t respond to my feedback either. Its trial still runs on for another few weeks, but I’ll unlikely keep it with two command line issues I ran into. The case sensitive wildcard usage is one and OneDrive for Business files being marked as “Offline” is another as this Offline attribute gets copied when I use Robocopy. For example, the binary compare utility ‘fc’ refuses to work on such files unless I add the parameter ‘/off’ and there is no simple way of clearing that attribute on affected files.


Great tutorial - Thanks

If you are like me, and in the CID number have a # symbol at the end - do NOT use the # as part of the CID