OneDrive Data Dump, Part 3: Using a Browser

OneDrive Data Dump, Part 3: Using a Browser

Time to put Chrome to work

With all the controversy surrounding OneDrive these days, my ongoing series about moving terabytes of data up to the cloud service over time has gotten a bit sidetracked. I was originally going to discuss my experience pumping tons of document archives into OneDrive over the past ten days or so. But let's take a quick side-trip instead and discuss a related topic that isn't impacted at all by Microsoft's announced OneDrive changes. Did you know you can copy data into the cloud with a web browser?

To recap, Microsoft recently announced that Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers will be receiving unlimited OneDrive storage in the near future (and that Office 365 for business subscribers will likewise get unlimited OneDrive for Business storage). So I've been examining the best ways to get my archived data, currently on a home server, into the cloud. It hasn't been pretty, or quick. But you can check out So What's It Like Pushing All Your Data Into OneDrive? and OneDrive Data Dump, Part 2: Photos for details about my initial test uploads.

This third part was originally going to be about my experiences uploading several hundred gigabytes of document archives, a process that took the better part of a week and resulted in all kinds of problems. I'll still write about that, but with Microsoft opting to remove smart files/placeholders in Windows 10—see Here's What's Really Happening to OneDrive in Windows 10 for the gory details—I'm going to have to change my long-term strategy and advice to others. (In addition to basic file copies, I've also been experimenting with mapping OneDrive as a network drive in File Explorer and other methods. We'll get there.)

So I'm going to jump ahead and discuss my plans for getting some of my own music up into OneDrive. My personal goals here may differ from yours, but the thing to consider is that this will work for any kind of files and folders, not just music. And for those with more reasonable amounts of data—and not the several terabytes I intend to eventually load into OneDrive—using a web browser to copy things to the cloud actually works really well.

I'm doing this for music, and I'm doing this in a very particular way for two reasons. One, I subscribe to Xbox Music Pass and will continue doing so for the foreseeable future, so I don't have much need for "local" music files; my collection is in the cloud, and consists largely of music that is in the Xbox Music Store. Two, and this is not unique to Xbox Music, not all of my music is available in Xbox Music Store. So I do want a subset of my old iTunes-based music collection to be available on my devices. And the way I'm going to do that is to copy that music into OneDrive.

(My expectation is that Microsoft will one day enable a OneDrive-based music locker feature for Xbox Music as well. If so, this means I'll be able to access my own music—that music that is not in Xbox Music Store—over the air from my devices. But for now, this does the trick.)

So I created a Music folder in the root of OneDrive, alongside Documents, Pictures and Videos, and then started looking for music to copy there. As an obvious example, I'll use my collection of remastered Beatles albums, which I bought in CD form a few years back and ripped to AAC files. I have all this music and want to copy it to the Music folder in OneDrive. So I'll use the browser.

As it turns out, you can't just use any browser, however. When you try to drag and drop folders into Internet Explorer or Firefox, you're told that OneDrive can't upload folders.

But that's not strictly true. OneDrive can in fact upload folders. You just need to use Google Chrome to do so, irony of ironies. When you do, folder uploads work just fine.

My Beatles music is only about 1.7 GB, so the upload happened pretty quickly, and then I began looking around for other music that isn't available online generally (most of Def Leppard, for example) or on Xbox Music specifically. I have some oddball French movie soundtracks and other music that is just hard to find online. I suppose almost everyone with a music collection does.

(If you're a Windows Phone user, you may be interested in knowing that I also dragged and dropped this music from my PC into the Music folder on my Lumia 735's SD card. When prompted to convert or just copy the files, I chose the latter, and everything works great: The music is all correctly organized with album art and everything.)

If you are going to use the browser to upload content into OneDrive, I recommend doing so in batches just in case, because life happens, browsers crash, and things can go wrong, and figuring out what's there and what isn't in the event of an error can be difficult through the browser. But in my admittedly limited experiments so far, this has worked pretty well. And it's something basically anyone could handle.

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