How To Add External Folders To SkyDrive

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 24, 2012
Updated • Apr 25, 2012

If you have installed Microsoft's new SkyDrive app for Windows (or Mac) yesterday, you have noticed that only the contents of the selected root folder are being synchronized with the cloud and other devices. This is similar to how Dropbox is handling the file synchronization. While you could now move some of the external folders that you want synced into the root folder, you could alternatively use so called symbolic links or junction points to achieve the same.

The advantage of symbolic links is that you do not have to configure the software to use a different folder for its data, something that not every application may offer in first place. (Dropbox users can use Dropboxifier for that). Symbolic links basically merge two different folders into one, so that files stored inside are accessible in both locations.

The idea here is to create a symbolic link that points to the SkyDrive folder. SkyDrive believes that the new folder is inside the Skydrive folder even if its files are stored in another location. The effect is that the folder and its contents get synchronized by SkyDrive's file synchronization app.

Windows Vista, Windows 7 and newer users can make use of the mklink program to create the symbolic links from the command line, while XP users can make use of Junction Points instead.

Most Windows users are probably more interested in a program that can do the configuration for them.  The free application Junction Link Magic is such a program. It is compatible with all recent versions of the Windows operating systems. Users who want to use the program need to do the following to add external local folders to their SkyDrive folder:

  • Create a blank folder in your SkyDrive folder
  • Start Junction Link Magic with administrative privileges, and click on the Create button afterwards.
  • Select the SkyDrive folder that you have just created in the left folder menu, and as the destination the folder that you want to synchronize with the SkyDrive storage

skydrive sync external folders

  • The program indicates if everything is all right with check marks next to NTFS5 and Empty. Click on create to create the new link, and accept the confirmation dialog.

The very same process works for other services as well, including Dropbox. Have a better way of adding external folders to your Skydrive storage? Let everyone know about alternatives in the comments. (via Caschy)

Update: Vista and newer users who could not get the above to work properly, can use the mklink program instead. For that, an elevated command line prompt needs to be launched. Click on the start ob, enter cmd.exe, right-click the first result and select Run as administrator.

Now use the following command to create the link:

mklink /d "path to non-existing Skydrive folder" "folder that you want synchronized"


mklink /d "c:\users\martin\skydrive\newfolder\" "d:\otherfolder"


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  1. ChrisTheNinjaPirate said on August 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Garrr, All I want to do is be able to mount my skydrive on a a ‘removable disk’ – one that will never be removed. I was hoping this would be the answer but for me, it isn’t – I have 9Gb of existing data in the cloud which I wanted to back synchronise to a second device but to the removable disk. I create a symbolic link on C of skydrive to the removable disk but Skydrive won’t let me use this as the install location. So short of creating a symlinked Documents folder under Skydrive and manually moving everything into this folder is there any way of achieving this, or am I being dumb?

  2. RayInLV said on July 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    I have used SkyShellEx for the 2 major directories I put into Skydrive. Google it and you will be able to get to the download. It’s free.

    It adds an option when you RTclick on a directory in Windows Explorer to SycnToSkyDrive.

    I put 2 folders up, both (with all subfolders which went automatically) have worked flawlessly. Much easier than other options I have read about.

    Keep in mind to exclude those shared Skydrive folders from your backups or you may windup with lots of duplication.

    1. RayInLV said on July 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      As a PS, upload speeds are quite a bit slower than download speeds. We have 10mb DSL, but uploads only hit 650k, so it can take some time for initial sync to take place

  3. Rob said on May 3, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I tried this (Junction Link Magic) out on my windows 7 machine but i must have done something wrong. Skydrive started acting all funny when i tried to make it sync the my documents folder. It started adding my photos, my music and my videos too (although they did not show up on the skydrive folder on the computer) which would have taken me way over the 25GB limit. For now I’ve just manually copied it all over and am using a sync program on my computer to sync over any changes to the skydrive folder.

  4. Twinsen said on April 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

    George: Skydrive sync external folder with mklink only at once and then no with REAL TIME – if I make changes with local external folder, nothing happen in skydrive folder – I must logout from Skydrive on PC to make changes (then skydrive “rescann” file system) ..

  5. George said on April 27, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Skydrive finally synchronized the changes in my external folder the next day ….
    I have now a fully synced external folder (including some changes after the first-time sync).

  6. Jared said on April 26, 2012 at 4:38 am

    Shouldn’t it be /J instead of /D? /D is for soft links, and we would want hard links.

  7. John said on April 25, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Unfortunately the sync with a Directory Junction is a one-time sync. Any deletions, changes or additions you make to the directory that contains your files are not synced to Skydrive, although the changes are reflected in the junctioned directory

  8. George said on April 25, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Seems I was a bit hasty… Skydrive started synchronizing after about 5 minutes.
    Thanks for a great tip !!

  9. George said on April 25, 2012 at 7:56 am

    It doesn’t work for me…. I have a win7 pc and I followed your directions. Skydrive synchronized the empty folder but not the linked my documents folder.

  10. Lee said on April 25, 2012 at 6:51 am

    This does not seem to work with external drives – can junction links be created to sync folders on external drives with the skydrive sync file on your PC?

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