15 December 2013

How to sync the Windows Live Writer Drafts and Recent Posts folders with OneDrive (SkyDrive)

I love Windows Live Writer! This blogging program is part of Windows Essentials 2012 and I sure hope Microsoft updates continues support, for this one Essentials app at least. I also use several different computers (read: 'devices' in the mobile age) and really appreciate being able to save a draft on one device and then open it and finish it up on another. Oh sure, you can use the web interface of your blog to compose all of your blog posts and save drafts to the blog but Windows Live Writer makes so many things way easier and there are some really useful plugins to boot.

OneDrive, formerly known as SkyDrive (or any cloud storage service like Dropbox, Box, etc. for that matter), lets you easily sync files and folders on your computer to the cloud and when you sign in on multiple devices, to those devices as well.

Back in the day, syncing my Drafts and Recent Posts folders to the cloud was easy. I used to use Windows Live Mesh until that went away. Then I used SugarSync until they discontinued their free offering. Then I used SkyDrive and now Microsoft has re-branded it as OneDrive.

Well I want to have my cake and I want to eat it too and with the help of some smart people I finally figured out how.

This post is specifically about using OneDrive but you can substitute any cloud storage service that let's you sync local folders and lets you do so from multiple devices. This post also assumes that you have already installed and are using Windows Live Writer.
  • If it's open, close Windows Live Writer.
  • If you are using Windows 8 or 8.1, be sure you are logging in with your Microsoft account and then either tap/click the OneDrive app and authenticate or if you are using an older version of Windows get the OneDrive app and install it.
NOTE - if you do not have a Microsoft Account to log into OneDrive with you can use any existing email address and you do not need to create a new Hotmail, Outlook.com, etc. account.
  • Once you have Windows Live Writer installed and configured confirm that you see this folder here which contains your Drafts and Recent Posts folders:
C:\Users\<your_user_name>\Documents\My Weblog Posts
  • Once you have OneDrive installed confirm that you see this folder here:
  • Move (don't copy) your My Weblog Posts folder to the root of your SkyDrive folder.
  • Launch regedit.exe and browse to:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Live\Writer
  • Right click on the Writer folder in the left pane and select New > String Value
  • Name the value PostsDirectory and then double click it to edit the Value data field.
  • Enter the path to where you moved your My Weblog Posts folder:
C:\Users\<your_user_name>\OneDrive\My Weblog Posts
  • Close regedit and reboot.
Now when you open Windows Live Writer you should be able to access all of your drafts and recent posts and they will be getting synced to OneDrive (or the cloud service of your choice). Finally, connect the cloud service of your choice to another computer, perform the same registry hack on that other computer and all your Windows Live Writer content will always be available on each device.

Thanks to Larry Henry Jr. for the registry hack.

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