Microsoft Bob

Just a short, simple blog for Bob to share some tips and tricks.

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Using the WebDAV Redirector with OneDrive Part 2 - Two-Step Verification

This blog is Part 2 of a series about mapping a drive letter to your OneDrive account. In Part 1 of this series, I showed you how to map a drive letter to your OneDrive account when you are using standard security, and in this blog I will show you how to map a drive letter to your OneDrive account after you have enabled two-step verification for your account security. The process is largely similar, with the notable exception that you need to generate an application password which you will use when you are mapping the drive letter with the WebDAV Redirector.

A quick note about two-step verification: enabling this security feature adds an additional requirement so that you will need to use a secondary method to verify your identity when you are logging in. (For example, you can use a phone app, text message, or second email account.) However, you cannot use a secondary login method when you are using the WebDAV Redirector, so you will need to create an application password. (Note: More information about two-step verification for your Microsoft is available in the Two-step verification: FAQ.)

Step 1 - Log Into Your OneDrive Account

The first thing that you need to do is to browse to https://onedrive.live.com/ and sign in with your Windows account.

Step 2 - Determine Your OneDrive Customer ID

Once you have logged in to your OneDrive account, hover your mouse over the Files link on the left part of your browser window – this will show your customer number in the status bar on the bottom of your browser window. If you have the status bar disabled, you can right-click the Files link and click Copy Shortcut in the pop-up menu. (Note: Those instructions are for Internet Explorer, but the method should be similar in Chrome or Firefox.)

Your Customer ID is the value that is specified after the "cid=" in the URL; for example: "https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=426f62526f636b73". You will need this value when you map a drive letter.

Step 3 - Generate an Application Password

To map a WebDAV drive to your OneDrive account after you have enabled two-step account verification, you will need to generate an application password which you will use when you enter your credentials. (Note: More information about two-step verification can be found in the App passwords and two-step verification article.)

To generate an application password, you first need to log into your Microsoft account settings at https://account.live.com/:

Once you have logged in, click on Security & password and then Create a new app password:

When the app password page is displayed, copy the password for later:

Step 4 - Map the Drive Letter

Your next step is to map the drive letter, and there are a few ways to do this. I have documented several methods in my Using the WebDAV Redirector article on the IIS.net website, but I will show a few ways in this blog.

Method #1 - Using the Windows User Interface and Wizards

On most of my systems I have the Network and This PC or My Computer icons on my desktop, which makes it easy to simply right-click one of those icons and select Map network drive:

An alternate method on Windows 8 is to open This PC and Map network drive will be listed as an icon on the Windows Explorer ribbon:

Once the Map Network Drive Wizard appears, enter "https://d.docs.live.net/" followed by your Customer ID from Step 2. For example: "https://d.docs.live.net/426f62526f636b73/"

When the Windows Security dialog box appears, enter your email address that you used to log into your OneDrive account in Step 1 and the application password that you created in Step 3.

Once the mapping has been completed, you will be able to view your OneDrive files in Windows Explorer via the mapped drive:

Method #2 - Using the Windows Command Line

You can also map a WebDAV drive letter to your OneDrive account from a command line. The general syntax is listed below:

 
C:\>net use * https://d.docs.live.net/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/ /user:"user@example.com" "password"

 

For example:

C:\>net use * https://d.docs.live.net/426f62526f636b73/ /user:"bob@contoso.com" "426f62526f636b73"

C:\>dir
 Volume in drive Z has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 0000-0000

 Directory of Z:\

09/02/2014 10:38 PM <DIR> Applications
09/27/2014 08:43 AM <DIR> Blog Photos
09/29/2014 10:50 PM <DIR> Documents
08/17/2014 03:44 AM <DIR> Pictures
09/22/2014 05:58 PM <DIR> Public
09/29/2014 10:43 AM <DIR> SkyDrive camera roll

C:\>

That wraps it up for Part 2 of this blog series - I hope this helps!

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Sep 29 2014, 18:21 by Bob | Comments (0)
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Using the WebDAV Redirector with OneDrive Part 1 - Standard Security

If you have read some of my previous blog posts and IIS.NET articles about WebDAV, you will see that I often use the WebDAV Redirector that is built-in to Windows in order to connect to various WebDAV websites. This allows me to access my files via a mapped drive letter, which also enables me to use WebDAV with applications that do not have native WebDAV support. (Like Visual Studio.) I'm also a big fan of OneDrive, but sometimes I'm on a legacy system where I don't have OneDrive installed. With that in mind, I thought that I would put together a quick blog series to show you how to map a drive letter to your OneDrive files.

In Part 1 of this series, I will show you how to map a drive letter to your OneDrive account by using standard security. In Part 2 of this series, I will show you how to map a drive letter to your OneDrive account after you have enabled two-step verification for your account security.

Step 1 - Log Into Your OneDrive Account

The first thing that you need to do is to browse to https://onedrive.live.com/ and sign in with your Windows account.

Step 2 - Determine Your OneDrive Customer ID

Once you have logged in to your OneDrive account, hover your mouse over the Files link on the left part of your browser window – this will show your customer number in the status bar on the bottom of your browser window. If you have the status bar disabled, you can right-click the Files link and click Copy Shortcut in the pop-up menu. (Note: Those instructions are for Internet Explorer, but the method should be similar in Chrome or Firefox.)

Your Customer ID is the value that is specified after the "cid=" in the URL; for example: "https://onedrive.live.com/?cid=426f62526f636b73". You will need this value when you map a drive letter.

Step 3 - Map the Drive Letter

Your next step is to map the drive letter, and there are a few ways to do this. I have documented several methods in my Using the WebDAV Redirector article on the IIS.net website, but I will show a few ways in this blog.

Method #1 - Using the Windows User Interface and Wizards

On most of my systems I have the Network and This PC or My Computer icons on my desktop, which makes it easy to simply right-click one of those icons and select Map network drive:

An alternate method on Windows 8 is to open This PC and Map network drive will be listed as an icon on the Windows Explorer ribbon:

Once the Map Network Drive Wizard appears, enter "https://d.docs.live.net/" followed by your Customer ID from Step 2. For example: "https://d.docs.live.net/426f62526f636b73/"

When the Windows Security dialog box appears, enter the email address and password that you used to log into your OneDrive account in Step 1.

Once the mapping has been completed, you will be able to view your OneDrive files in Windows Explorer via the mapped drive:

Method #2 - Using the Windows Command Line

You can also map a WebDAV drive letter to your OneDrive account from a command line. The general syntax is listed below:

 
C:\>net use * https://d.docs.live.net/xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx/ /user:"user@example.com" "password"

 

For example:

C:\>net use * https://d.docs.live.net/426f62526f636b73/ /user:"bob@contoso.com" "P@ssw0rd"

C:\>dir
 Volume in drive Z has no label.
 Volume Serial Number is 0000-0000

 Directory of Z:\

09/02/2014 10:38 PM <DIR> Applications
09/27/2014 08:43 AM <DIR> Blog Photos
09/29/2014 10:50 PM <DIR> Documents
08/17/2014 03:44 AM <DIR> Pictures
09/22/2014 05:58 PM <DIR> Public
09/29/2014 10:43 AM <DIR> SkyDrive camera roll

C:\>

That wraps it up for Part 1 of this blog series. In Part 2, I will show how to map a WebDAV drive to your OneDrive account after you have enabled two-step verification for your account security.

Note: This blog was originally posted at http://blogs.msdn.com/robert_mcmurray/
Posted: Sep 29 2014, 18:18 by Bob | Comments (0)
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SkyDrive is an Abysmal Failure in Windows 8.1

OK - I have to admit, I have used SkyDrive for several years now, and I have learned to become dependent on it because I like having several of my files easily accessible everywhere I go and on every device.

Apparently that was a big mistake on my part, because the SkyDrive team at Microsoft has slowly made SkyDrive a piece of crap. Having just set up my laptop with a brand-new installation of Windows 8.1 (which I installed from scratch), I can honestly say that SkyDrive in Windows 8.1 is now a complete failure as far as I am concerned. So unfortunately I'm probably going to have to switch to a third-party cloud storage application - and that sucks.

Before I discuss what's screwed up with SkyDrive in Windows 8.1, I should first mention that Microsoft used to make Windows Live Mesh, which was much better than SkyDrive. Mesh allowed you to choose any folder on your system and synchronize it across any machine that you specified. (In contrast, SkyDrive only synchronizes folders which are directly beneath the parent SkyDrive folder.) What's more, Mesh had a built-in remote desktop feature that was much like the built-in Windows Remote Desktop functionality - except that it actually worked. (If you've ever tried to manage a firewall and get the built-in Windows Remote Desktop functionality working over the Internet through your firewall and across a NAT, you know what I mean.) Unfortunately Microsoft's long-standing policy appears to be the following: if Microsoft has two competing technologies, choose the lesser of the two and ship that, and then deprecate the better technology. (At least that's what happened with SkyDrive and Mesh.)

Anyway - here are just a few of things things that are screwed up about SkyDrive in Windows 8.1:

In Windows 7, you had to manually choose to install the SkyDrive desktop functionality, so this was an opt-in feature. Of course, I installed SkyDrive, and I used it often. Unlike Windows Live Mesh, you had to drop files in the SkyDrive folder, which was really inconvenient. But that's also the way that DropBox works, so I'm sure that's what the engineers who were designing SkyDrive were trying to emulate.

In any event, after I installed SkyDrive on several of my systems, all of my SkyDrive-based files were physically stored on each of my local systems, and they were adequately synchronized across all machines where I installed SkyDrive. If I wanted to temporarily disable SkyDrive on any system, I could right-click on the SkyDrive System Tray icon and choose to close it.

However, once I installed Windows 8.1, everything changed. First of all SkyDrive is not optional - it's just there, and it appears to be always on. What's worse, my files weren't actually on my laptop anymore; they looked like they were locally stored, but they were more like ghost files which would actually download from the Internet whenever I tried to access a file. This was a pain in the butt for the system utilities which I was storing in my SkyDrive - most of them ceased to function because the EXE would download, but none of the supplemental DLL files would. As a direct result, all of my system utilities failed to run.

After some poking around I discovered that I could right-click on the SkyDrive folder and choose to make it available offline, which worked - albeit with hours of waiting for 25GB of files to download over Wi-Fi. But I need to point out that I had to go out of my way to make SkyDrive work the way that it used to; and more importantly, I had to discover on my own how to make something work the way that it always did in the past. This is known as a "Breaking Change," although I prefer to call that "Bad Design."

But today is when everything went from bad to worse. I needed to go to an appointment, so I brought my laptop with me because I thought that I would be able to do some work while I waited for my scheduled appointment time. I had a folder in my SkyDrive with some work-related files in it, so this seemed like something that should just work.

But it didn't work. In fact, it failed miserably.

What happened is this: I arrived at my appointment and booted my laptop, but when I opened my SkyDrive folder, everything was missing. Needless to say, I was more than a little alarmed. I opened Windows Explorer and navigated to the folder for my user profile, where I saw two folders that were both named "SkyDrive." Since Windows does not allow two folders with the same name in the same directory, I knew that this was a display anomaly which was probably caused by identical desktop.ini files in the two SkyDrive directories. I opened a command prompt and changed directories to my user profile folder, and the directory listing showed two folders: "SkyDrive" and SkyDrive (2)".

So I was correct in my assumption, and I verbally expressed my exasperation on the idiocy of this situation. ("What the heck...? Those stupid sons-of-biscuits...") I could immediately tell that Windows 8.1 had screwed something up, and my life was going to suck until I sorted it out.

I will spare you the details for everything that I tried to do, but it involved a lot of copying & renaming of files & folders - and after several hours of troubleshooting I still didn't have it resolved. But just to make things worse, while I was doing my troubleshooting I discovered that I suddenly had three folders under my user profile: "SkyDrive" and SkyDrive (2)," and "SkyDrive.old". I searched the Internet, and I found out that a lot of users have seen this problem.

A... lot... of... users...

There seemed to be two common consensuses: 1) this was clearly a bug in SkyDrive on Windows 8.1, and 2) SkyDrive now sucks for this reason.

One thing became clear to me: SkyDrive was going to continue to make my life miserable until I got it out of the way long enough for me to fix things. If you do some searching on the Internet, you can find ways to disable SkyDrive through Windows group policy, but I didn't want it permanently disabled - I just wanted it out of the way long enough to sort out the problem with multiple folders. Incidentally, logging out as my user account and logging in as the local administrator account did not make this easier since SkyDrive.exe runs at the system level.

Eventually I had to resort to backing up all of my multiple SkyDrive folders to an alternate location, and then running the following batch file while I manually cleaned up the multiple folders:

@echo off
:here
for %%a in (explorer.exe skydrive.exe) do (
   wmic process where name='%%a' call terminate
)
goto :here

Note that I had to put these process termination statements in a loop because Windows would keep restarting both executables, thereby thwarting any repairs that I had managed to start.

Yes, this is a lame and prosaic approach to solving this problem, but releasing a major breaking change to a service upon which you hope everyone will depend is pretty darn lame, too. And making the new service so heinously awful that it's barely usable is unforgivably lame.

Eventually I got everything sorted out, and I would love to be able to write something definitive like, "You need to do X and Y and your system will be better." But truth-be-told, I spent so many hours trying so many things that I cannot be certain which specific steps resolved the issue. And I'm not about to attempt setting up a repro environment to test which steps to take. Sorry about that - but I simply don't want to mess with things now that I have SkyDrive working again.

Posted: Jan 29 2014, 18:24 by Bob | Comments (0)
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