How to create a link to a file stored in internet / cloud but appears as a 'local file' in Windows Explorer? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Similar to OneDrive's "Files On-Demand" as well as DropBox's "Smart Sync" functionality, I am curious how to create a file that appears to be on local disk normally but is actually linked / stored in the internet or cloud.

    I think this is different from .lnk or .url files as they retain the following even if they are stored on the cloud:

    • filetype (.pdf, .xlsx, etc.)
    • location on disk (e.g. folder path)
    • size (original file size though size on disk is 0)
    • file icon

    Is there another type of file or any metadata that tells Explorer that a particular file should be retrieved from the internet when it is accessed?

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 2:06 PM

All replies

  • To implement something like that you have to implement a shell extension which converts the information to a file-like structure. Implementing a shell extension isn't trivial and requires that you have experience with COM. Using .NET as of v4 is technically supported now but there is still a lot of COM interop. There are plenty of examples online on how to do it in C++. You'll have to convert the logic to C#.

    But that is just what it takes to get it to show up in Windows Explorer as a "file system". I believe the OneDrive implementation goes even further and possibly uses a file moniker to allow paths to include OneDrive anywhere. This is more work.

    Michael Taylor

    Wednesday, January 10, 2018 3:03 PM
  • Hello OCS,

    Is there any update or any other assistance I could provide? You could mark the helpful reply as answer if the issue has been solved. And if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know.

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    Neil Hu

    MSDN Community Support
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    Sunday, January 28, 2018 1:00 PM