Jonas Stawski

Everything .NET and More

Seemingly Integrate SkyDrive or DropBox With Your Windows Libraries

The world of computers has dramatically changed; what once was an utopia, it is now a reality. Bill Gate’s vision of one computer on every home seemed like an impossibility, but now it is very common to see an average person own a computer, tablet, and smart phone. Not to mention the hard core users that have more than one computer. This accessibility of hardware has lead to a huge problem: file synching. With so many computers people don’t know where their files are, but today we have multiple solutions: SkyDrive, DropBox, iCloud, and probably many other hidden gems. SkyDrive and DropBox solve the problem by installing a mini client that synchronizes your files between the Cloud and your other computers. They do so by setting a special folder in your computer which is used as a repository. Any file you drop, create, delete, or modify into this folder is automatically synced. This solution brought another problem: if you are hardcore about your file and folder structure you are out of luck. In other words, if you like to keep your pictures under My Pictures or your Documents under My Documents, these file synchronizers abruptly changed your ways… until now.

Windows 7 introduced the concept of Libraries:

provide users with a single, coherent view of their files even when those files are stored in different locations. Libraries can be configured and organized by a user and a library can contain folders that are found on the user's computer and also folders that have been shared over a network. Libraries present a simpler view of the underlying storage system because, to the user, the files and folders in a library are displayed in single view, no matter where they are physically stored.

In simpler terms, you can now specify what folders should be included within your Documents, Pictures, Music, etc Libraries. Therefore, we can now use SkyDrive (or DropBox) with it’s default settings and add specific folders to your Libraries from the SkyDrive folder. I will illustrate how to do so using SkyDrive, but this can also be done using DropBox.

Bellow is a screen shot of my Explorer Window with my SkyDrive folder selected. Note that the default installation adds the SkyDrive folder to your Favorites menu on the left side. If you can’t find it, you can browse to C:\Users\[name]\SkyDrive, where [name] is your username. i.e. C:\Users\Jonas\SkyDrive.


As you can see I have a Documents and Pictures folder within my SkyDrive folder, if you don’t have them you can create them and it will automatically sync to your other computers and the cloud.

Next step is to right click on Document under the Libraries section and go to Properties:

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Click on the Add button on the Library locations and browse to the SkyDrive\Documents. (Remember that SkyDrive should be under Favorites). Click Include Folder and the Click OK to close the Documents Property window.


After you are all done, your Library folder should look like the picture below. If you want to seemingly integrate it without differentiating the folder location, click on the Group By and select none. Doing so will flatten the view, but the problem with that is that any file created on the root will be saved to the default Save Location, which is the local Documents folder that is not synched with SkyDrive. If you want the SkyDrive folder to be the default Save Location you can do so on the Properties Window.

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Of course, you can do the same with the rest of the Libraries: Music, Pictures, Videos.

Happy File Syncing

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