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March 25, 2017

This is how OneDrive works in Windows 10

by John_A

The OneDrive cloud storage solution has become an important part of Microsoft’s platform, and in Windows 10, it’s baked directly into the operating system. You’re set up for it when you log in with your Microsoft Account, and you’ll find the storage available in File Explorer. There’s no app to open, download, or install — it’s just there from the start for you to use. Here’s what you need to know about OneDrive in Windows 10.

More: Have a file too big for email? Here’s how to share it for free

Windows 10 makes OneDrive more flexible and user-friendly

The old-style placeholders that represented actual files stored in OneDrive are replaced by a newer, “selective sync” system in Windows 10. Rather than OneDrive showing placeholders for every file that’s stored on OneDrive — and allowing users to access any file by clicking on the placeholder and downloading files as needed — the integrated OneDrive client now lets users select which files will be synced locally. This includes either all files and folders, or specific folders that you want to keep locally.

When you first set up your Windows 10 system, you will be given the choice of which folders will be downloaded and synced. To change OneDrive settings later, right-click the OneDrive icon in the notification area, select Settings, switch to the Choose folders tab, and click the Choose folders button. Then, you can either sync All files and folders on your OneDrive or Choose folders to sync, meaning they will be available locally.


OneDrive also supports remote access. Under the Settings tab, if you check Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC, you can access your files remotely. This means you can peruse your files using another computer via the OneDrive website.

When you enable this option, the connected PC will show up in the OneDrive web interface, which is accessible here. If the respective computer is turned on and connected to the internet, you can access any of its folders and files.

OneDrive integrates with Cortana and Universal Apps

Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant, is now available in Windows 10. Not only can she answer questions, but when you select Search my stuff, she can search your files — including the ones stored on OneDrive and not synced with your device. You can then access those files from the search results. Thankfully, Cortana also responds to both voice control and keyboard inputs entered into the Windows search bar.

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