Map your OneDrive to Windows without storing files locally

As cloud computing becomes more common and as users store more files in the cloud, the common solution of syncing cloud files to your computer may become untenable due to the volume of files, particularly for businesses. An obvious solution would be to mount the cloud drive to your computer without syncing it, but there isn’t an obvious way to do that.


Tinkering around with OneDrive on a Windows computer the other day I came across the following solution.

If you use Office2013 you may have noticed that you can open and save files directly to your OneDrive. Unless you are syncing your files to your computer, then except for a browser interface there is no file manager application that will permit you to drag and drop OneDrive files and folders to your local drive or apps. This is rather inconvenient, especially when you want to drag and drop of file as an attachment in Outlook. Although Word and Excel 2013 can directly access your OneDrive, Outlook can’t.
Since Office 2013 programs can access OneDrive directly, there must be some way of creating a link to OneDrive.

While playing around with a preview version of Office 2016 I noticed that Outlook does directly access OneDrive and unlike the other Office programs, it shows you the exact link you will need to mount OneDrive to your computer.

The mount should look something like this:
https://d.docs.live.net/[16_digit_alphanumeric_ID]

In order to set up a mounted OneDrive you will have to find out your ID number for Windows Live, Office 365, etc. This is the most difficult part, but also quite simple.

There is no need to go through the trouble of installing a Preview version of Office 2016 when you can find your ID through the registry editor. (Note: I assume this entry was created through the installation of Office2013)
In the registry go to the following key entry:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\AuthCookies\Live\Default\CAW
There you’ll see an entry titled, “Id” to the right of which is your 16-digit alphanumeric ID for your OneDrive.

There is another way to get your ID, which I discovered through some online instructions.
Go to your OneDrive through a browser and choose to share a file. Choose “Get a link.”
You will see something like this:
https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=[16_digit_alphanumeric_ID]&authkey=[nothing important]

The alphanumeric entry between resid= and &authkey is your ID.

The rest is just as simple. Go to Windows Explorer and right click Networks. Choose to “Map Network Drive.” In the next window you’ll select the drive number for your OneDrive and in the folder parameter enter the full URL for your drive. It should be like this:
https://d.docs.live.net/[16digitalphanumeric]
Choose reconnect at login so the drive will be there whenever you connect. After clicking Finish you will be presented with a screen requesting your credentials. This is your Microsoft Live credentials, whatever you would use to login to OneDrive or Office 365.

It is what it is!