Copying files directly to OneDrive

If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription that includes 1Tb of storage per user, or even if you just use the free 5Gb plan, OneDrive is an excellent backup and collaboration platform.

Recently, I was asked if it would be possible to copy files directly to OneDrive from a USB storage device without storing the files on a laptop during the process. Why? Well, a number of old family photos were on the USB stick and when I say ‘a number’, I mean thousands. My customer’s laptop didn’t have the space to save them all but my customer’s 1Tb OneDrive storage did.

The question was, “Could we copy the photos to OneDrive without storing them on the laptop?” The answer was “yes“, using the Windows 10 laptop. By the way, this only works using a Windows 10 laptop. It doesn’t work with a Mac.

We did this using what’s called a Network Share. If you’ve ever used a computer at work, at some time you’ll have encountered an F:Drive or a Z:Drive or similar. These are network shares – usually storage on a different computer.

To set up OneDrive as a network share is really simple.

1 Log into onedrive.com and copy the Customer ID (CID) part of the web address (URL). In the example below , the CID is 3C221829B10E2234.

Then launch File Explorer, select This PC on the left hand side and then Map Network Drive in the ribbon.

Then map the drive. You can choose the drive letter, then enter the web address shown below, changing the CID to your own reference. Press Finish and then connect using your usual M365 login and password. Please ignore the example “\\server\share” on the screen below – that’s for other folders on a local network, not the Internet.

And that’s it. We create a new folder on the Y;Drive, set the new folder’s properties to be ‘Free Up Space’ using File Explorer, meaning that the photos would only be downloaded to the laptop on demand, plugged the USB device into the computer and copied the photos to the new folder on our Y:drive.

It took about four hours to copy the photos but the mission was accomplished: another challenge solved by Sussex Smarts.

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