Use OneDrive for Business as ordinary filesystem in Office

Hi all,

I'm helping a friend changing to Office 365 for Business.

Using OneDrive seems to be a bit of a challenge. Firstly, the file name lengths seems to be a problem. We had some files moved to onedrive that couldn't be opened until we renamed them to a shorter file name (even if they were synced correctly). Also in some cases "Save a copy" couldn't create a file with the same filename length as the original file (in same folder) but had to be shortened. Afterwards the file name could be renamed to original length. Pretty annoying.

The question here is: Is it possible to make Office apps such as Word and Excel use the onedrive folders as a traditional file system? Ie. file is saved to filesystem and ODfB then syncs the file, just like all other apps use onedrive? It seems as if Office insists on talking to sharepoint directly as soon as a onedrive folder is selected, but can that be disabled somehow?

I know that this would disable the possibility of more than one working on the same document at the same time but that wouldn't be an issue here. It would make onedrive look more like a traditional file share.


 

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Last updated November 20, 2018 Views 210 Applies to:

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Hi Hunter’s,

 

As there are limits in the Office 2016 applications and Office Online, to avoid some sync issues and opening issues, I suggest you shorten the files’ paths.

For your reference: You receive error messages when you try to open an Office document

Restrictions and limitations when you sync files and folders

 

As the original question here seems to be that you want to auto-save the files stored in the local folders to the OneDrive for Business library and the site libraries in SharePoint Online, I suggest you post a new thread on our forum for expert help if you are experiencing some issues in the file path.

 

If the requirement here is what I mentioned above, I’d like to say that the AutoSave feature isn’t available for the work and school accounts’ users now. I suggest you vote here for the latest updates of the requirement as it is the direct channel to let product developers to know users’ requirements and improve our products. You can also try the workaround in the UserVoice to see the result currently.

 

If no, could you provide more detailed information about your requirement for our clarification?

 

Thanks,

Cliff


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Hi Hunter’s,

Have you referred to the information above? May I know whether further assistance is needed on this issue?

Thanks,

Cliff

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Hi Cliff,

Sorry for not getting back to you until now! Busy and warm days :-)

Well, no, but the question was quite technical and maybe a bit backwards. I found that creating a junction point (mklink) that refers to the onedrive folder, and using that within Word instead, does revert file handling to the standard "Save/Save As" in stead of Autosave / "Save a copy". However that is a not-so-pretty hack and probably will confuse the user.

The path length restrictions seems to be a bit annoying but restructuring file placement can of course solve that.

However the behavior that originally spawned my question was this: A strange problem seems to persist when using "save a copy". Example: I've got a long path with a Word document, named:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - Mycompany\Technical Recruitment Consulting Inc\External\Customers\Technical Customer Solutions Inc\Positions\Compliance Officer\Technical Computer Solutions Inc - Compliance Officer, Johnny J. Peterson, added ref.docx

This path is 251 chars long and should thus be OK. I can open and save it in Word with no problems. However if I want to save a copy of this, I can't! Even if the file name is different but of same length. The error looks like this (note that I changed ref to res):

I tried to find the longest file name that could be saved through "Save a copy" and it was 207 chars:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - Mycompany\Technical Recruitment Consulting Inc\External\Customers\Technical Customer Solutions Inc\Positions\Compliance Officer\Technical Computer Solutions Inc aaaaaa.docx

Afterwards, I can rename the file back to full length in the file explorer. This is pretty annoying and ought to be fixed!

If I set up the junction point and access the files through that, there's no problem saving with a same-length file name. But I would of course prefer not to use that solution.

Thanks,
Søren

PS! By the way sorry for switching login from my private to my company account - still OP here :-)

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Hi Søren,

 

Based on your description, the issue happens in an environment of a mklink referring to the OneDrive folder. Then you save the files as a copy with the same path in the local sync folder, an error message showing that the file name isn’t valid. If yes, could you list the steps about how you set up the mklink?

 

As you said that the affected file path contains 251 characters, what do you mean about “I tried to find the longest file name that could be saved through "Save a copy" and it was 207 chars:”? Does the longest file path in the local sync folder contain 207 characters? Please check if the issue happens in some specific files.

 

Thanks,

Cliff

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Hi Cliff,

Let's forget all about mklink and junction points for now and revert to the original file name length problem. The "mklink" thing was a workaround trying to solve the problem.

So looking at "vanilla" OneDrive for Business:

See the example paths. I have a file (total path length 251) named:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - Mycompany\Technical Recruitment Consulting Inc\External\Customers\Technical Customer Solutions Inc\Positions\Compliance Officer\Technical Computer Solutions Inc - Compliance Officer, Johnny J. Peterson, added ref.docx


I can open and save it in Word - no problem. But if I try "save a copy" within Word, just changing filename slightly, "ref" to "res", the error occurs. I.e. same path, total path length, but slightly changed file name:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - Mycompany\Technical Recruitment Consulting Inc\External\Customers\Technical Customer Solutions Inc\Positions\Compliance Officer\Technical Computer Solutions Inc - Compliance Officer, Johnny J. Peterson, added res.docx


I get the error:

I then tried to reduce the file name length one character at a time, still within "save a copy", still same directory path. I.e.: Save, got error, removed last char, save, got error, repeat until file could finally be saved. I ended up having reduced the file name to 46 chars, total path length 207, before I could save the file next to the original one:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - Mycompany\Technical Recruitment Consulting Inc\External\Customers\Technical Customer Solutions Inc\Positions\Compliance Officer\Technical Computer Solutions Inc - Comp.docx

Afterwards, I could open the path in file explorer and rename the file to what was originally desired:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - Mycompany\Technical Recruitment Consulting Inc\External\Customers\Technical Customer Solutions Inc\Positions\Compliance Officer\Technical Computer Solutions Inc - Compliance Officer, Johnny J. Peterson, added res.docx


And now, I can open and save the file copy in Word. But why couldn't I "save a copy" to that file name directly?

Thanks,

Søren

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Hi Søren,

 

Thanks for your updates.

 

Id like to confirm whether the issue only happens in the file you mentioned. Meanwhile, please upload a full screenshot showing the version information of the OneDrive sync client you are using. If you don’t use the latest version of the sync client, I suggest you update it first.

 

Thanks,

Cliff

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Hi Søren,

May I know whether you need further assistance on this issue?

Thanks,

Cliff

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Version:

Yes, other file names give similar problems. The example above is based on problems encountered on numerous occasions.

Did you try replicating the error?

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Here's another example as you requested:

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - MyCompany\Folder number one\Folder number two\Folder number three\Folder number four\Folder number five\Folder number six\Folder number seven\Folder number eight\Folder number nine\Folder number ten\Heres a word document.docx

Total path length of file+filename: 259 chars. This file has the longest name I can create within file explorer. The file can be opened in Word and saved.

But again, if I open the document in Word and select Save a copy, I can't save to a file name (replacing "word" with "text") with the same length within the same folder: I.e. I cant "save a copy" to the file name below (same error as above, "this is not a valid file name"):

‪C:\Users\xx.MYCOMPANY\OneDrive - MyCompany\Folder number one\Folder number two\Folder number three\Folder number four\Folder number five\Folder number six\Folder number seven\Folder number eight\Folder number nine\Folder number ten\Heres a text document.docx

In fact, I cannot "save as a copy" under any name in that folder, not even "a.docx". The error repeats. Why?

I can see why so many people get confused over this. Please try it yourself to see how counterintuitive it is.

How do we get this escalated into a bug report so it can be fixed ASAP?

Thanks,

Søren


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Hi Søren,

 

Thanks for your updates.

 

After doing a test in my environment, I can’t see such issues in my environment.

 

For further troubleshooting, I’d like to collect some information and some logs from your side. You can provide them in the private message I sent to you.

 

Thanks,

Cliff 

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