Map Sharepoint to Windows Explorer directly, avoid OneDrive sync issues

There are a large number is issues syncing Sharepoint Online libraries via OneDrive - least of all having to have a copy of all those files on your PC. This can fill your hard disk very easily with newer devices having faster, yest smaller Solid Sate Drives (SSD's) instead of the slower Hard Disks Drives (HDD's) which have more capacity but are slower.

OneDrive for Business has a hard limit of 20,000 files to be synced to your machine, so if you have more than this you are out of luck. There is also a limit of 5,000 files per library synced which many people also find a big limitation.

To get around this, we should be mapping the Sharepoint Library as a network location in Windows Explorer.

PLEASE NOTE: This procedure requires a 32-bit version of Internet Explorer, either version 10 or 11. No other browsers will work. If you attempt this in a 64-bit Internet Explorer session it will fail. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or the new Microsoft Edge browser do not support this at all.

 

Initial steps:

  1. Add the following to Trusted sites in Internet Explorer:
    • https://*.sharepoint.com
    • https://*.microsoftonline.com
  2. Go to Internet Explorer settings – Tools, Options, Connections, LAN Settings, uncheck 'Automatically detect Settings' – this will significantly improve the connection to SharePoint.
  3. Before you map a drive, login to Office 365 at https://portal.office.com via Internet Explorer and tick 'Remember my credentials'. Once completed, close the Internet Explorer session.
  4. To test the saved credential, open the Sharepoint Online site in Internet Explorer again and make sure it does not prompt for credentials.
  5. Open services.msc (or via Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services) and make sure WebClient service is set to Automatic.

 

Mapping Sharepoint on Windows 10:

  1. Open your Sharepoint site in Internet Explorer and navigate to the folder you wish to map. Usually this will be a Shared Documents folder.
  2. From the tool bar ribbon select Library and then select Open with Explorer (this will open the Library as a standard File Explorer folder).
  3. Highlight the address from the address bar in the Windows Explorer and copy to clipboard (Ctrl-C).
  4. Go to File Explorer and right click on "This PC" and select 'Map Network Drive'.
  5. In the Map Network Drive window, do not set a drive letter but tick the boxes marked 'Reconnect sign-in' and 'Connect using different credentials'. Then select the link below marked 'Connect to a Web site that you can store your documents and pictures'. Click through and paste the address you copied from the clipboard in step 3 and proceed.
  6. Enter your Office 365 credentials (username and password) and check the box marked 'Remember Credentials'. You will be prompted twice for the username and password, make sure you fill it in twice and twice select remember credentials.
  7. It will give you a folder win File Explorer listed under 'This PC' (or 'My Computer' if running Windows 7/8/8.1) like below:

CAUTION: If you do wish to map Sharepoint to a drive letter, be aware that the drive mapping will drop out after 8 hours. As this is problematic for some people, our recommendation is to create a network location which adds a folder under 'This Computer' in File Explorer.