Get started with Storage Explorer (Preview)

Overview

Azure Storage Explorer (Preview) is a standalone app that enables you to easily work with Azure Storage data on Windows, macOS, and Linux. In this article, you learn the various ways of connecting to and managing your Azure storage accounts.

Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer (Preview)

Prerequisites

Connect to a storage account or service

Storage Explorer (Preview) provides several ways to connect to storage accounts. For example, you can:

  • Connect to storage accounts associated with your Azure subscriptions.
  • Connect to storage accounts and services that are shared from other Azure subscriptions.
  • Connect to and manage local storage by using the Azure Storage Emulator.

In addition, you can work with storage accounts in global and national Azure:

Connect to an Azure subscription

Note

If you don't have an Azure account, you can sign up for a free trial or activate your Visual Studio subscriber benefits.

  1. In Storage Explorer (Preview), select Azure Account settings.

    Azure account settings

  2. The left pane displays all the Microsoft accounts you've signed in to. To connect to another account, select Add an account, and then follow the instructions to sign in with a Microsoft account that is associated with at least one active Azure subscription.

    Note

    Connecting to national Azure (such as Azure Germany, Azure Government, and Azure China via sign-in) is currently not supported. See the "Attach or detach an external storage account" section for how to connect to national Azure storage accounts.

  3. After you successfully sign in with a Microsoft account, the left pane is populated with the Azure subscriptions associated with that account. Select the Azure subscriptions that you want to work with, and then select Apply. (Selecting All subscriptions toggles selecting all or none of the listed Azure subscriptions.)

    Select Azure subscriptions
    The left pane displays the storage accounts associated with the selected Azure subscriptions.

    Selected Azure subscriptions

Connect to an Azure Stack subscription

You need a VPN connection for Storage Explorer to access the Azure Stack subscription remotely. To learn how to set up a VPN connection to Azure Stack, see Connect to Azure Stack with VPN.

For Azure Stack Proof of Concept (POC), you need to export the Azure Stack authority root certificate. To do so:

  1. Open mmc.exe on MAS-CON01, an Azure Stack host machine, or a local machine with a VPN connection to Azure Stack.

  2. In File, select Add/Remove Snap-in, and then add Certificates to manage Computer account of Local Computer.

    Load the Azure Stack root certificate through mmc.exe

  3. Find AzureStackCertificationAuthority under Console Root\Certificated (Local Computer)\Trusted Root Certification Authorities\Certificates.

  4. Right-click the item, select All Tasks > Export, and then follow the instructions to export the certificate with Base-64 encoded X.509 (.CER).

    The exported certificate will be used in the next step.

    Export the root Azure Stack authority root certificate

  5. In Storage Explorer (Preview), on the Edit menu, point to SSL Certificates, and then select Import Certificates. Use the file picker dialog box to find and open the certificate that you exported in the previous step.

    After importing, you are prompted to restart Storage Explorer.

    Import the certificate into Storage Explorer (Preview)

  6. After Storage Explorer (Preview) restarts, select the Edit menu, and then ensure that Target Azure Stack is selected. If it is not selected, select it, and then restart Storage Explorer for the change to take effect. This configuration is required for compatibility with your Azure Stack environment.

    Ensure Target Azure Stack is selected

  7. In the left pane, select Manage Accounts.
    All the Microsoft accounts that you are signed in to are displayed.

  8. To connect to the Azure Stack account, select Add an account.

    Add an Azure Stack account

  9. In the Add new account dialog box, under Azure environment, select Create Custom Environment, and then click Next.

  10. Enter all required information for the Azure Stack custom environment, and then click Sign in.

  11. To sign in with the Azure Stack account that's associated with at least one active Azure Stack subscription, fill in the Sign in to a Custom Cloud environment dialog box.

    The details for each field are as follows:

    • Environment name: The field can be customized by user.
    • Authority: The value should be https://login.windows.net. For Azure China, use https://login.chinacloudapi.cn.
    • Sign in resource id: Retrieve the value by executing one of the following PowerShell scripts:

      If you are a cloud administrator:

      PowerShell (Invoke-RestMethod -Uri https://adminmanagement.local.azurestack.external/metadata/endpoints?api-version=1.0 -Method Get).authentication.audiences[0]
      

      If you are a tenant:

      PowerShell (Invoke-RestMethod -Uri https://management.local.azurestack.external/metadata/endpoints?api-version=1.0 -Method Get).authentication.audiences[0]
      
    • Graph endpoint: The value should be https://graph.windows.net. For Azure China, use https://graph.chinacloudapi.cn.

    • ARM resource id: Use the same value as Sign in resource id.
    • ARM resource endpoint: The samples of Azure Resource Manager resource endpoints:

    • Tenant Ids: Optional. The value is given only when the directory must be specified.

  12. After you successfully sign in with an Azure Stack account, the left pane is populated with the Azure Stack subscriptions associated with that account. Select the Azure Stack subscriptions that you want to work with, and then select Apply. (Selecting or clearing the All subscriptions check box toggles selecting all or none of the listed Azure Stack subscriptions.)

    Select the Azure Stack subscriptions after filling out the Custom Cloud Environment dialog box
    The left pane displays the storage accounts associated with the selected Azure Stack subscriptions.

    List of storage accounts including Azure Stack subscription accounts

Work with local development storage

With Storage Explorer (Preview), you can work against local storage by using the Azure Storage Emulator. This approach lets you write code against and test storage without necessarily having a storage account deployed on Azure, because the storage account is being emulated by the Azure Storage Emulator.

Note

The Azure Storage Emulator is currently supported only for Windows.

  1. In the left pane of Storage Explorer (Preview), expand the (Local and Attached) > Storage Accounts > (Development) node.

    Local development node

  2. If you have not yet installed the Azure Storage Emulator, you are prompted to do so via an infobar. If the infobar is displayed, select Download the latest version, and then install the emulator.

    Download Azure Storage Emulator prompt

  3. After the emulator is installed, you can create and work with local blobs, queues, and tables. To learn how to work with each storage account type, see one of the following:

    • Manage Azure blob storage resources
    • Manage Azure file share storage resources: Coming soon
    • Manage Azure queue storage resources: Coming soon
    • Manage Azure table storage resources: Coming soon

Attach or detach an external storage account

With Storage Explorer (Preview), you can attach to external storage accounts so that storage accounts can be easily shared. This section explains how to attach to (and detach from) external storage accounts.

Get the storage account credentials

To share an external storage account, the owner of that account must first get the credentials (account name and key) for the account and then share that information with the person who wants to attach to that (external) account. You can obtain the storage account credentials via the Azure portal by doing the following:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.

  2. Select Browse.

  3. Select Storage Accounts.

  4. On the Storage Accounts blade, select the desired storage account.

  5. On the Settings blade for the selected storage account, select Access keys.

    Access Keys option

  6. On the Access keys blade, copy the Storage account name and key1 values for use when attaching to the storage account.

    Access keys

Attach to an external storage account

To attach to an external storage account, you need the account's name and key. The "Get the storage account credentials" section explains how to obtain these values from the Azure portal. However, in the portal, the account key is called key1. So where Storage Explorer (Preview) asks for an account key, you enter the key1 value.

  1. In Storage Explorer (Preview), select Connect to Azure storage.

    Connect to Azure storage option

  2. In the Connect to Azure Storage dialog box, specify the account key (the key1 value from the Azure portal), and then select Next.

    Note

    You can enter the storage connection string from a storage account on national Azure. For example, to connect to Azure Germany storage accounts, enter connection strings similar to the following:

    • DefaultEndpointsProtocol=https
    • AccountName=cawatest03
    • AccountKey=
    • EndpointSuffix=core.cloudapi.de

    You can get the connection string from the Azure portal in the same way as described in the "Get the storage account credentials" section.

    Connect to Azure storage dialog box

  3. In the Attach External Storage dialog box, in the Account name box, enter the storage account name, specify any other desired settings, and then select Next.

    Attach external storage dialog box

  4. In the Connection Summary dialog box, verify the information. If you want to change anything, select Back and reenter the desired settings.

  5. Select Connect.

  6. After it is successfully connected, the external storage account is displayed with (External) appended to the storage account name.

    Result of connecting to an external storage account

Detach from an external storage account

  1. Right-click the external storage account that you want to detach, and then select Detach.

    Detach from storage option

  2. In the confirmation message, select Yes to confirm the detachment from the external storage account.

Attach a storage account by using an SAS

An SAS lets the admin of an Azure subscription grant temporary access to a storage account without having to provide Azure subscription credentials.

To illustrate this scenario, let's say that UserA is an admin of an Azure subscription, and UserA wants to allow UserB to access a storage account for a limited time with certain permissions:

  1. UserA generates an SAS (consisting of the connection string for the storage account) for a specific time period and with the desired permissions.

  2. UserA shares the SAS with the person (UserB, in our example) who wants access to the storage account.

  3. UserB uses Storage Explorer (Preview) to attach to the account that belongs to UserA by using the supplied SAS.

Get an SAS for the account you want to share

  1. In Storage Explorer (Preview), right-click the storage account you want share, and then select Get Shared Access Signature.

    Get SAS context menu option

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

    Get SAS dialog box
    The Shared Access Signature dialog box opens and displays the SAS.

  3. Next to the Connection String, select Copy to copy it to the clipboard, and then select Close.

Attach to the shared account by using the SAS

  1. In Storage Explorer (Preview), select Connect to Azure storage.

    Connect to Azure storage option

  2. In the Connect to Azure Storage dialog box, specify the connection string, and then select Next.

    Connect to Azure storage dialog box

  3. In the Connection Summary dialog box, verify the information. To make changes, select Back, and then enter the settings you want.

  4. Select Connect.

  5. After it is attached, the storage account is displayed with (SAS) appended to the account name that you supplied.

    Result of attached to an account by using SAS

Attach a service by using an SAS

The "Attach a storage account by using an SAS" section explains how an Azure subscription admin can grant temporary access to a storage account by generating and sharing an SAS for the storage account. Similarly, an SAS can be generated for a specific service (blob container, queue, or table) within a storage account.

Generate an SAS for the service that you want to share

In this context, a service can be a blob container, queue, or table. To generate the SAS for a listed service, see:

Attach to the shared account service by using the SAS

  1. In Storage Explorer (Preview), select Connect to Azure storage.

    Connect to Azure storage option

  2. In the Connect to Azure Storage dialog box, specify the SAS URI, and then select Next.

    Connect to Azure storage dialog box

  3. In the Connection Summary dialog box, verify the information. To make changes, select Back, and then enter the settings you want.

  4. Select Connect.

  5. After it is attached, the newly attached service is displayed under the (Service SAS) node.

    Result of attaching to a shared service by using an SAS

Search for storage accounts

If you have a long list of storage accounts, a quick way to locate a particular storage account is to use the search box at the top of the left pane.

As you type in the search box, the left pane displays the storage accounts that match the search value you've entered up to that point. For example, a search for all storage accounts whose name contains tarcher is shown in the following screenshot:

Storage account search

Next steps