Mount Azure File Share in Windows

Microsoft Azure File Storage

Azure file storage can mainly be used if we want to have a shared drive between two servers or across users. In that case, we will go for Azure file storage. We can take advantage of fully managed file shares in the cloud that are accessible via the industry-standard Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Mount file shares concurrently in the cloud or on-premises on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Instead of managing the overhead of a physical server, device, or appliance, we could manage our files in the cloud using Azure File shares at a cheap cost.

Advantages of Azure Files

  • Replaces or supplement on-premises file servers
  • "Lift and shift" applications
  • Simplify cloud development
    • Shared application settings
    • Diagnostic share
    • Dev/Test/Debug 
  • Azure account
  • Azure storage account 
Before we can work on Azure file share, we need an Azure storage account. Once the Azure storage account is created, go into file storage service and create a file share.
Mount Azure File Share in Windows

Data Access Method

  • Direct Access Method
  • Azure File Sync 

What is the Direct Access Method?

In Windows or any platform, we could mount an Azure file share with SMB protocol by assigning it a drive letter.
In Azure file share, there is one interesting option that exists called Snapshot, that captures the share state at that point. It will backup a read-only copy of your data. If any files are deleted accidentally, we can restore files from this Snapshot.
When to user-share snapshots:
  • Protection against accidental deletions or unintended changes
  • General backup purposes
  • To recover share
Azure File Storage usage scenarios:
  • Migrate existing applications to the cloud
  • Share server data across on-premises and cloud
  • Integrate modern applications with Azure File Storage
  • Simplify hosting High Availability (HA) workload data 

What is Azure File Sync?

You can use Azure File Sync to centralize your organization's file shares in Azure Files while keeping the flexibility, performance, and compatibility of an on-premises file server. Azure File Sync transforms your Windows Server machines into a quick cache of your Azure file share. You can use any protocol that's available on Windows Server to access your data locally, including SMB, Network File System (NFS), and File Transfer Protocol Service (FTPS). You can have as many caches as you need across the world.
By using SMB, you can mount an Azure file share directly on Windows, Linux, or macOS, either on-premises or in cloud VMs, without writing any code or attaching any special drivers to the file system. You also can cache Azure file shares on on-premises file servers by using Azure File Sync for quick access, close to where the data is used.
In this article, we will see how to mount files on windows.
Step 1
Create an Azure file share.
Mount Azure File Share in Windows
Mount Azure File Share in Windows 
Step 2
Upload any type of files or images anything you need.
Mount Azure File Share in Windows 
Step 3
Now let's try to mount Azure file share in Windows Explorer. For that, right-click on ‘This PC’ in windows explorer then click on ‘Map network drive..’.
Mount Azure File Share in Windows
Step 4
We could assign a drive name for the file share. For the folder path, we need the URL of the file share. We can copy it from the properties of the file share past it in the specified 'Folder path'. Then click ‘Finish’.
 Mount Azure File Share in Windows
 Mount Azure File Share in Windows
Mount Azure File Share in Windows
Step 5: It will ask credentials for Azure storage. The username will be the storage account name and the password will be the storage account’s access key. Finally, click ‘Ok’.
Mount Azure File Share in Windows
 Mount Azure File Share in Windows
 Mount Azure File Share in Windows
Now, we have mounted Azure file share into Windows Explorer. We could handle files here directly, which means we could edit, add and delete files in Windows Explorer.