Get started with Storage Explorer

Overview

Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer is a standalone app that makes it easy to work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

In this article, you'll learn several ways of connecting to and managing your Azure storage accounts.

Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer

Prerequisites

The following versions of Windows support Storage Explorer:

  • Windows 10 (recommended)
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 7

For all versions of Windows, Storage Explorer requires .NET Framework 4.7.2 at a minimum.

Download and install

To download and install Storage Explorer, see Azure Storage Explorer.

Connect to a storage account or service

Storage Explorer provides several ways to connect to Azure resources:

Sign in to Azure

Note

To fully access resources after you sign in, Storage Explorer requires both management (Azure Resource Manager) and data layer permissions. This means that you need Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) permissions to access your storage account, the containers in the account, and the data in the containers. If you have permissions only at the data layer, consider choosing the Sign in using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) option when attaching to a resource. For more information about the specific permissions Storage Explorer requires, see the Azure Storage Explorer troubleshooting guide.

  1. In Storage Explorer, select View > Account Management or select the Manage Accounts button.

    Manage Accounts

  2. ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT now displays all the Azure accounts you're signed in to. To connect to another account, select Add an account....

  3. The Connect to Azure Storage dialog opens. In the Select Resource panel, select Subscription.

    Connect dialog

  4. In the Select Azure Environment panel, select an Azure environment to sign in to. You can sign in to global Azure, a national cloud or an Azure Stack instance. Then select Next.

    Option to sign in

    Tip

    For more information about Azure Stack, see Connect Storage Explorer to an Azure Stack subscription or storage account.

  5. Storage Explorer will open a webpage for you to sign in.

  6. After you successfully sign in with an Azure account, the account and the Azure subscriptions associated with that account appear under ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT. Select the Azure subscriptions that you want to work with, and then select Apply.

    Select Azure subscriptions

  7. EXPLORER displays the storage accounts associated with the selected Azure subscriptions.

    Selected Azure subscriptions

Attach to an individual resource

Storage Explorer lets you connect to individual resources, such as an Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 container, using various authentication methods. Some authentication methods are only supported for certain resource types.

Resource type Azure AD Account Name and Key Shared Access Signature (SAS) Public (anonymous)
Storage accounts Yes Yes Yes (connection string or URL) No
Blob containers Yes No Yes (URL) Yes
Gen2 containers Yes No Yes (URL) Yes
Gen2 directories Yes No Yes (URL) Yes
File shares No No Yes (URL) No
Queues Yes No Yes (URL) No
Tables No No Yes (URL) No

Storage Explorer can also connect to a local storage emulator using the emulator's configured ports.

To connect to an individual resource, select the Connect button in the left-hand toolbar. Then follow the instructions for the resource type you want to connect to.

Connect to Azure storage option

When a connection to a storage account is successfully added, a new tree node will appear under Local & Attached > Storage Accounts.

For other resource types, a new node is added under Local & Attached > Storage Accounts > (Attached Containers). The node will appear under a group node matching its type. For example, a new connection to an Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 container will appear under Blob Containers.

If Storage Explorer couldn't add your connection, or if you can't access your data after successfully adding the connection, see the Azure Storage Explorer troubleshooting guide.

The following sections describe the different authentication methods you can use to connect to individual resources.

Azure AD

Storage Explorer can use your Azure account to connect to the following resource types:

  • Blob containers
  • Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 containers
  • Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 directories
  • Queues

Azure AD is the preferred option if you have data layer access to your resource but no management layer access.

  1. Sign in to at least one Azure account using the steps described above.
  2. In the Select Resource panel of the Connect to Azure Storage dialog, select Blob container, ADLS Gen2 container, or Queue.
  3. Select Sign in using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and select Next.
  4. Select an Azure account and tenant. The account and tenant must have access to the Storage resource you want to attach to. Select Next.
  5. Enter a display name for your connection and the URL of the resource. Select Next.
  6. Review your connection information in the Summary panel. If the connection information is correct, select Connect.

Account name and key

Storage Explorer can connect to a storage account using the storage account's name and key.

You can find your account keys in the Azure portal. Open your storage account page and select Settings > Access keys.

  1. In the Select Resource panel of the Connect to Azure Storage dialog, select Storage account.
  2. Select Account name and key and select Next.
  3. Enter a display name for your connection, the name of the account, and one of the account keys. Select the appropriate Azure environment. Select Next.
  4. Review your connection information in the Summary panel. If the connection information is correct, select Connect.

Shared access signature (SAS) connection string

Storage Explorer can connect to a storage account using a connection string with a Shared Access Signature (SAS). A SAS connection string looks like this:

SharedAccessSignature=sv=2020-04-08&ss=btqf&srt=sco&st=2021-03-02T00%3A22%3A19Z&se=2020-03-03T00%3A22%3A19Z&sp=rl&sig=fFFpX%2F5tzqmmFFaL0wRffHlhfFFLn6zJuylT6yhOo%2FY%3F;
BlobEndpoint=https://contoso.blob.core.windows.net/;
FileEndpoint=https://contoso.file.core.windows.net/;
QueueEndpoint=https://contoso.queue.core.windows.net/;
TableEndpoint=https://contoso.table.core.windows.net/;
  1. In the Select Resource panel of the Connect to Azure Storage dialog, select Storage account.
  2. Select Shared access signature (SAS) and select Next.
  3. Enter a display name for your connection and the SAS connection string for the storage account. Select Next.
  4. Review your connection information in the Summary panel. If the connection information is correct, select Connect.

Shared access signature (SAS) URL

Storage Explorer can connect to the following resource types using a SAS URI:

  • Blob container
  • Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 container or directory
  • File share
  • Queue
  • Table

A SAS URI looks like this:

https://contoso.blob.core.windows.net/container01?sv=2020-04-08&st=2021-03-02T00%3A30%3A33Z&se=2020-03-03T00%3A30%3A33Z&sr=c&sp=rl&sig=z9VFdWffrV6FXU51T8b8HVfipZPOpYOFLXuQw6wfkFY%3F
  1. In the Select Resource panel of the Connect to Azure Storage dialog, select the resource you want to connect to.
  2. Select Shared access signature (SAS) and select Next.
  3. Enter a display name for your connection and the SAS URI for the resource. Select Next.
  4. Review your connection information in the Summary panel. If the connection information is correct, select Connect.

Local storage emulator

Storage Explorer can connect to an Azure Storage emulator. Currently, there are two supported emulators:

If your emulator is listening on the default ports, you can use the Local & Attached > Storage Accounts > Emulator - Default Ports node to access your emulator.

If you want to use a different name for your connection, or if your emulator isn't running on the default ports:

  1. Start your emulator.

    Important

    Storage Explorer doesn't automatically start your emulator. You must start it manually.

  2. In the Select Resource panel of the Connect to Azure Storage dialog, select Local storage emulator.

  3. Enter a display name for your connection and the port number for each emulated service you want to use. If you don't want to use to a service, leave the corresponding port blank. Select Next.

  4. Review your connection information in the Summary panel. If the connection information is correct, select Connect.

Connect to Azure Cosmos DB

Storage Explorer also supports connecting to Azure Cosmos DB resources.

Connect to an Azure Cosmos DB account by using a connection string

Instead of managing Azure Cosmos DB accounts through an Azure subscription, you can connect to Azure Cosmos DB by using a connection string. To connect, follow these steps:

  1. Under EXPLORER, expand Local & Attached, right-click Cosmos DB Accounts, and select Connect to Azure Cosmos DB.

    Connect to Azure Cosmos DB by connection string

  2. Select the Azure Cosmos DB API, enter your Connection String data, and then select OK to connect the Azure Cosmos DB account. For information about how to retrieve the connection string, see Manage an Azure Cosmos account.

    Connection string

Connect to Azure Data Lake Store by URI

You can access a resource that's not in your subscription. You need someone who has access to that resource to give you the resource URI. After you sign in, connect to Data Lake Store by using the URI. To connect, follow these steps:

  1. Under EXPLORER, expand Local & Attached.

  2. Right-click Data Lake Storage Gen1, and select Connect to Data Lake Storage Gen1.

    Connect to Data Lake Store context menu

  3. Enter the URI, and then select OK. Your Data Lake Store appears under Data Lake Storage.

    Connect to Data Lake Store result

This example uses Data Lake Storage Gen1. Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 is now available. For more information, see What is Azure Data Lake Storage Gen1.

Generate a shared access signature in Storage Explorer

Account level shared access signature

  1. Right-click the storage account you want share, and then select Get Shared Access Signature.

    Get shared access signature context menu option

  2. In Shared Access Signature, specify the time frame and permissions you want for the account, and then select Create.

    Get a shared access signature

  3. Copy either the Connection string or the raw Query string to your clipboard.

Service level shared access signature

You can get a shared access signature at the service level. For more information, see Get the SAS for a blob container.

Search for storage accounts

To find a storage resource, you can search in the EXPLORER pane.

As you enter text in the search box, Storage Explorer displays all resources that match the search value you've entered up to that point. This example shows a search for endpoints:

Storage account search

Note

To speed up your search, use Account Management to deselect any subscriptions that don't contain the item you're searching for. You can also right-click a node and select Search From Here to start searching from a specific node.

Next steps