Access your local files from BlueStacks on Windows

david

BlueStacks is a great application for Windows and Mac which brings most of your Android apps to your computer. But often, in-app activity requires access to external files, photos and videos. BlueStacks emulates the Android OS within its own environment. What if you wanted to use an app in BlueStacks to edit a photograph on your computer? This article describes different ways of accessing files from Windows to BlueStacks and also the other way round.

BlueStacks Shared folder - File Sharing

Access computer files in BlueStacks and Vice Versa

There are quite a few ways in which you can access your computer files on BlueStacks.

Bluestacks Shared folder

You can easily share files between BlueStacks and Windows using shared folders. Just place your file inside it and you can access it from both Windows and BlueStacks.

The default shared folder in Windows is located in C:\ ProgramData\ BlueStacks\ UserData\ SharedFolder (assuming C:\ is your Windows installation drive). In BlueStacks, the same folder is located in (Root)/ sdcard/ bstfolder/ BstSharedFolder.

Additionally, the default Windows Library folders are accessible from BlueStacks. They are located in /sdcard/bstfolder/ as PicturesDocuments, etc.

A file manager app is required to navigate folders inside BlueStacks. In this article, we’ll use OI File Manager. To share a file, follow the steps below:

  1. Download and install OI File Manager in BlueStacks.
  2. On Windows, navigate to BlueStacks Shared Folder [C:\ ProgramData\ BlueStacks\ UserData\ SharedFolder] and place the files you want to use in BlueStacks (like photos, videos, downloaded APK files, etc.). You can also use the Windows Library Folders for this purpose.
  3. In BlueStacks, launch OI File Manager and navigate to BlueStacks shared folder [(Root)/ sdcard/ bstfolder/ BstSharedFolder]. If you have placed files in your Windows Library, locate the respective folder from bstfolder directory in BlueStacks.

Similarly if you want to access BlueStacks files from your computer, copy the particular file to BstSharedFolder using OI File Manager and the same file will be available in Windows SharedFolder location.

BlueStacks Shared Folder location

If you are unable to find bstfolder in its default Windows location [C:\ ProgramData\ BlueStacks\ UserData\ SharedFolder], you can find their actual location from the Windows Registry.

  1. Access the Windows Registry by going to Start >> Run and type in “regedit” and hit Enter. This opens up the Registry Editor.
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ BlueStacks \ Guests \ Android \ SharedFolder. Each of the numeric folders represents a shared folder, and their location is indicated in their Path String values.

Using Drag and Drop

There is a simpler way to copy files from Windows into BlueStacks Shared Folder (Windows -> BlueStacks file sharing only). Here is how;

  1. Run BlueStacks App Player and let it initialize.
  2. When BlueStacks is fully ready and running, just drag the particular file from its Windows folder into the BlueStacks interface.
  3. If you have already installed an app which works with this type of files, BlueStacks can prompt you to open it suitable app. You can ignore this prompt and click anywhere outside the message box to dismiss it. However, this prompt only appears from the BlueStacks Home Screen.

Though BlueStacks does not indicate any file transfer operation, the file will actually be copied to the BlueStacks Shared Folder on Windows.  You can then navigate to the same folder using OI File Manager in BlueStacks.

Using Cloud Sync

Cloud storage apps like DropBox and Google Drive help you to sync your data across all your devices. For accessing Windows files in BlueStacks, simply drop the files in your DropBox or Google Drive folder and access them in BlueStacks with the respective Android app. You can similarly do it the other way round too. Just copy files into the DropBox / Google Drive app and they will automatically appear in your Windows folder for DropBox / Google Drive. You can also get the same thing done with other third party cloud sync apps and services.

The cloud sync method also works for sharing files between BlueStacks and Mac. Similarly, you can also share files among BlueStacks and other devices like iPhone, Android, etc.

Using Windows Registry

Caution: The following section involves in editing values in the Windows Registry. The Windows Registry contains values and keys that are critical to the Operating System. Modify the Windows Registry very carefully as any undesired modification may cause your system to malfunction.

  1. Decide on which directory to give access in BlueStacks. You can either choose an entire hard drive, or a particular folder of your choice.
  2. Access the Windows Registry by going to Start >> Run and type in “regedit” and hit Enter. This opens up the Registry Editor.
  3. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\BlueStacks\Guests\Android\FileSystem. Inside this folder you’ll find some predefined numeric keys and values (starting with “0“). Create a new key here by right-clicking on FileSystem and select New >> Key and rename it by the number following the previous key. Update: The newer versions of BlueStacks depends on a different Registry Key. For the newer version, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\BlueStacks\Guests\Android\ SharedFolderCreate a new key here and rename it to the number following the previous key.
  4. Inside the newly created key, right-click on the space on the right side and create a new String called “Name” by selecting New >> String. Double-click on it and enter a value. The value is the name of the folder as seen inside BlueStacks. Update: In the newer versions, additionally create a new DWORD Value by right-clicking on the blank space and selecting New >> DWORD (32 Bit) Value and rename it as Writable. Right-click on this newly created value and click Modify. Set the Value data field as 1 and select the base as Hexadecimal.
  5. Create another String called “Path” and assign a value of the full path of the directory you want to include inside BlueStacks. For example, if you want to access the Downloads folder of D drive inside BlueStacks, set the path value as “D:\Downloads” (without quotes, of course). You can include as many directories as you like by creating new keys for each of the folders. Keep the keys sequential in number.
  6. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Now you will be able to access BlueStacks files from Windows.

You might want to read:

>> How to Access, increase BlueStacks SD Card, Internal Memory and RAM

>> Fix BlueStacks Installation and Runtime Problems

Share your thoughts

  • Andreas Ostheimer

    Works like a charm – couldn’t access all files from within the instagram app before using OI File Manager.

  • Alejandra Quiroz

    I’m stuck on step 5, could you tell me how to get that value. Could anyone help me out?

  • pivari

    Installing OI File Manager I’ve the error:
    Apk Installation failed: INSTALL_FAILED_INSUFFICIENT_STORAGE
    How can solve the problem?

    • Zune

      @pivari

      Case 1: You are using an older version of Bluestacks app player. The latest version is 0.7.2.751. If you are not using this version, an update might fix your problem.

      Case 2: App syncing issue!! If a path name or apk file path has an Umlaut character or a Unicode character, phone sync will fail with the error about insufficient storage. To fix this problem follow these steps below.

      1) Quit BlueStacks
      2) Download and run the registry script to disable phone sync http://cdn.bluestacks.com/public/tools/disable-app-sync.reg
      3) Start BlueStacks.

      Case 3: Bluestacks comes with 2GB internal memory (Default). If you have installed too many apps or files on your SD card, this is it…

      Thanks!

  • pivari

    case 1: I’ve found the way to upgrade. Not so simple. it doesn’t seem to solve the problem
    case 2: I’ve tried but it doesn’t seem to solve the problem
    case 3: I’ve simple install instagram (the other are the default). Do you have other suggestions?

  • casey

    im also stuck on step 5, what is the value?

    • http://7labsofficial.com 7LSupport

      @Alexandra and Casey:
      The value can be anything you want, Whatever value you give, it will reflect as the name of the folder inside OI File Manager in Bluestacks.

  • Birdieguy

    I have no “File System” in the “Android” folder — (STEP 4). Now what?

    • zune

      Birdieguy,
      If you don’t have a “File System” in the “Android” folder, create one inside that “Android” folder.

      • Birdieguy

        Thanks – I should’ve thought of that. My regedit experience is negligible.

  • firoj

    could not find “File System” inside the “android” folder. :(
    @zune : how to create a new folder inside the registry?

    • zune

      @firoj,
      New folder can easily be added by creating a new key. Just right click on the Android folder, select new >> key, rename it as “File System”. That’s it :)

  • Hanna

    I have completed all the steps now, but when I get into instagram OI file manager I cant find the folder I want to, instead I see folders like – acct, cache, config, d, data, and so on. Those folders is also empty, so what did I do wrong? :(

  • Zac

    I did all of the steps and found the folder I name ‘pics’. I put it so goes to the download folder but theres nothing in there. help?

    • zune

      @zac
      Have you found your custom (“pics”) folder using OI File Manager?

  • harish

    i got same as “I have completed all the steps now, but when I get into instagram OI file manager I cant find the folder I want to, instead I see folders like – acct, cache, config, d, data, and so on. Those folders is also empty, so what did I do wrong? :(” i cant find my user defined folder !! whats wrong ??

    • zune

      @harish
      Try to scroll down the list after opening OI file manager. You will be getting a folder named windows. Open that windows folder to get your custom shared local folder. :)

      • harish

        no i cant the folder is empty .. can you say with screenshots ?? cos im so confused

        • zune

          @harish
          I’m on vacation, I’ll upload those snapshots when i get back to my 127.0.0.1 :)

  • Joyce

    @Harish,

    I was also having the same problem. But I solved it and found my photos.

    1. when you run the bluestacks app, you click the IO File Manager, then there are folders like android, autodesk, etc. you open each folder to locate those photos.

    2. For mine, i found it in the “bstfolder” file from IO File Manager..

  • Moyan

    Can I install Apk from my HD with this File manager?

    • zune

      @Moyan, Yes you can. :)

  • Edwin

    Is it possible to copy files from BlueStacks to Windows? For example, I have picture files I downloaded with Kik messenger. Can I copy those files to Windows?

  • jordaniles

    i think i messed mine up. What is the default thing for 0, 1 , 2, 3 and 4. Like what does it have in those files

    • ronx

      @jordaniles
      Re-installing the BlueStacks could solve your problem.

  • Anonymous Philippines

    how can i turn my bluestacks theme to iLauncher themes for bluestacks.? please reply. thanks :)

    • zune

      @Anonymous Philippines,
      I guess iLauncher is a paid one! So you have to buy it first and run it on BlueStacks.

  • Hanna

    The funny thing is that I did’nt even do all the steps.. =) Incidentally, I am one of those who did all the steps and had some problems to solve where I get stuck – to find my picture files. Anyway, so I removed the bluestacks program and then download it again. My only thing I did was to download IO File Manager, and then I followed the one who wrote this above. -

    @Joyce

    1. when you run the bluestacks app, you click the IO File Manager, then there are folders like android, autodesk, etc. you open each folder to locate those photos.

    2. For mine, i found it in the “bstfolder” file from IO File Manager

    • zune

      @Hanna
      Actually you did follow the instruction. But you haven’t read the last update mentioning about “bstfolder”…

  • Klara

    I can’t even thank you enough. I don’t understand programming at all an had no idea what I was doing the whole time! :D But your explanation was so precise that I went step by step and made it work!

    THANK YOU!! :-*

  • raj

    thank you so much :)
    bt how to get these files in gallery?? if i hav to upload photos or videos, to choose tos, itz showing options, either from camera or gallery,

  • wathmal

    yup,, thanks!!! works like a charm!!! :)
    now i can upload to instagram using pc!!!!

  • Haleema

    how do I access the pictures i edited through instagram on my pc? where would they be saved?

  • Marisa Schutz

    Im stuck on step 6. How do you set that value for the Path key?

  • nic

    im stuck at step 4 i cant find folder guest please help

  • help

    i dont have file system folder, is it equivalent to shared folder coz there is folder ther from 0 to 4

  • Ashwin

    Wow it’s amaging experience with bluestacks.
    Thanx.

  • Cassie

    everything’s been working fine with this for a few months, but now when i go to instagram > photo gallery > OI file manager nothing comes up. i don’t know what happened. what could this be and how can I fix it?

    • JonyX

      @Cassie
      Check the current path of your IO file manager. If you are trying to find the bstfolder on root, you won’t… Cause the actual location is /mnt/sdcard/bstfolder.

      I was searching for this to access my computer’s files inside BlueStacks. Works great for me.

      • Cassie

        How exactly do you check the path? I’m not very computer savvy, my apologies. It also says “SD card is not present or unmounted.”

  • YeanQuz

    ..every step… so perfect and well guided.
    Thumbs up for you the team in Labsofficial.

  • Paul

    You can install Astro File Manager alone and achieve the same in a simpler fashion…

  • Laika

    6. Create another String called “Path” and assign a value of the full path of the directory you want to include inside BlueStacks. For example, if you want to access the Downloads folder of D drive inside BlueStacks, set the path value as “D:\Downloads” (without quotes, of course). You can include as many directories as you like by creating new keys for each of the folders. Keep the keys sequential in number.

    How can I create a string? Do I have to create a key again? Please reply asap.. Thanks.

  • bee

    Everything’s been working great yesterday and today morning. I didn’t change anything but suddenly everything I want to upload to instagram comes of as ‘fail’ :( Any ideas?! What should I do?

  • http://www.facebook.com/debua.s De Bua

    So cool !! It’s Workkkk
    Thank you so much

  • Thomas

    Much more easy way: Create a symbolic link to your local disc drives in the SharedFolder folder of BlueStacks.

    1. Open command line.
    2. “cd C:\ProgramData\BlueStacks\UserData\SharedFolder”
    3. “mklink /d volume_c c:\”

    You can now access your local drive by opening the “volume_c” folder from within BlueStacks.

  • saeed

    Just THANK YOU!!!
    It WORKS! :-*

  • vinyak

    works fine..
    Thanks a lot !!

  • Alex

    I am immensely frustrated. I followed all the steps and as soon as I finally found the folder on my computer to transfer pictures to my “sdcard/bsdfolder” is no longer working on the OI File Manager….it just has a constant spinning wheel and will not even show me what’s in the folder…HELP!

    • Joe flex

      @0e06b306898c74dc63bb259d09dcb5b6:disqus,
      Try to re-install OI File Manager, or you can try ES File Explorer instead.

  • David

    Here’s what I did:

    1. Download “ES File Explorer” in your Bluestacks.
    2. Open “ES File Explorer” you’ll see “Local /sdcard/ in the upper left of your Bluestacks.
    3. Just scroll down until you see “Windows” folder
    4. Then you’ll see “PublicPictures” “Win-XPDocuments” “Win-XPPictures”
    5. Open any of the folders and you’ll see your pc files there, you can also drag and drop your files here and see it in your Bluestacks. No need to install other apps beside the one I mentioned in step 1.

  • JYOTHI SAKRE

    how to install bluestacks on pc..??
    while installing it is showing as no free space
    but in my pc there is free memory up to 7gb

  • http://www.compilr.org/ Sumit Kumar Sharma

    Thanks. I really need this one

  • Ben

    thanks.. it helps..

  • Jatin

    Thanks.. it works..!!