Getting started with Storage Explorer (Preview)

Overview

Microsoft 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 a number of ways to connect to storage accounts. This includes connecting to storage accounts associated with your Azure subscriptions, connecting to storage accounts and services shared from other Azure subscriptions, and even connecting to and managing local storage 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 logged in to. To connect to another account, select Add an account, and follow the dialogs to sign in with a Microsoft account that is associated with at least one active Azure subscription.

    Note

    Connecting to national Azure such as Black Forest Azure, Fairfax Azure, and Mooncake Azure via sign-in is currently not supported. See Attach or detach an external storage account section for how to connect to national Azure storage accounts.

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

    Select Azure subscriptions

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

    Selected Azure subscriptions

Work with local development storage

Storage Explorer (Preview) enables you to work against local storage using the Azure Storage Emulator. This allows you to write code against and test storage without necessarily having a storage account deployed on Azure (since 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 install the emulator.

    Download Azure Storage Emulator prompt

  3. Once the emulator is installed, you have the ability to create and work with local blobs, queues, and tables. To learn how to work with each storage account type, select one of the following links:

    • 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

Storage Explorer (Preview) provides the ability to 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 wanting to attach to that (external) account. Obtaining the storage account credentials can be done via the Azure portal by following these steps:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select Browse.
  3. Select Storage Accounts.
  4. In the Storage Accounts blade, select the desired storage account.
  5. In the Settings blade for the selected storage account, select Access keys.

    Access Keys option

  6. In the Access keys blade, copy the STORAGE ACCOUNT NAME and KEY 1 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 section Get the storage account credentials explains how to obtain these values from the Azure portal. However, note that in the portal, the account key is called "key 1" so where the Storage Explorer (Preview) asks for an account key, you'll enter (or paste) the "key 1" value.

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

    Connect to Azure storage option

  2. On the Connect to Azure Storage dialog, specify the account key ("key 1" value from the Azure portal), and then select Next.

    Note

    You can enter Storage Connection string from a storage account on national Azure. For example, enter connection strings similar to the following to connect to Azure Black Forest storage accounts: DefaultEndpointsProtocol=https;AccountName=cawatest03;AccountKey=;EndpointSuffix=core.cloudapi.de; You can get the connection string from Azure portal in the same way as described in the Get the storage account credentials section

    Connect to Azure storage dialog

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

    Attach external storage dialog

  4. In the Connection Summary dialog, verify the information. If you want to change anything, select Back and reenter the desired settings. Once finished, select Connect.
  5. Once connected, the external storage account is displayed with the text (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 you want to detach, and - from the context menu - select Detach.

    Detach from storage option

  2. When the confirmation message box appears, select Yes to confirm the detachment from the external storage account.

Attach storage account using SAS

A SAS (Shared Access Signature) gives the admin of an Azure subscription the ability to grant access to a storage account on a temporary basis without having to provide their Azure subscription credentials.

To illustrate this, let's say 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 a 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 wanting access to the storage account - UserB, in our example.
  3. UserB uses Storage Explorer (Preview) to attach to the account belonging to UserA using the supplied SAS.

Get a SAS for the account you want to share

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

    Get SAS context menu option

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

    Get SAS dialog

  3. A second Shared Access Signature dialog displays the SAS. Select Copy next to the Connection String to copy it to the clipboard. Select Close to dismiss the dialog.

Attach to the shared account using the SAS

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

    Connect to Azure storage option

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

    Connect to Azure storage dialog

  3. In the Connection Summary dialog, verify the information. If you want to change anything, select Back and reenter the desired settings. Once finished, select Connect.
  4. Once attached, the storage account displays with the text (SAS) appended to the account name you supplied.

    Result of attached to an account using SAS

Attach service using SAS

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

Generate a SAS for the service you want to share

In this context, a service can be a blob container, queue, or table. The following sections explain how to generate the SAS for the listed service:

Attach to the shared account service using the SAS

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

    Connect to Azure storage option

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

    Connect to Azure storage dialog

  3. In the Connection Summary dialog, verify the information. If you want to change anything, select Back and reenter the desired settings. Once finished, select Connect.
  4. Once attached, the newly attached service displays under the (Service SAS) node.

    Result of attaching to a shared service using 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 are typing into the search box, the left pane displays only the storage accounts that match the search value you've entered up to that point. The following screen shot illustrates an example where I've searched for all storage accounts where the storage account name contains the text "tarcher".

Storage account search

To clear the search, select the x button in the search box.

Next steps