How to manage, sync, and share files in Microsoft OneDrive
You can host your files in the cloud on a variety of online storage sites including Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, and iCloud, but only Microsoft OneDrive is built right into Windows 10.
With OneDrive, you can store documents, photos, and other files online and sync them across multiple computers and devices. You can also share any file on OneDrive with other people.
To use OneDrive, you need a Microsoft account, which you can set up through the Microsoft account website. You will also need the right kind of storage plan for your needs. A basic free plan gives you 5 GB of OneDrive space. For $ 1.99 per month, you can get 100 GB of real estate space. A Microsoft 365 Personal subscription ($ 6.99 per month or $ 69.99 per year) gives you 1TB of OneDrive space, while Microsoft 365 Family ($ 9.99 / month or $ 99.99 / year) distributes 1TB each for up to six users.
Set up OneDrive
OneDrive is automatically available and ready to use in Windows 10. In fact, when you do the Windows 10 setup, you are asked if you want to use OneDrive. If you missed this opportunity, you should still see an icon for OneDrive in the system tray. If the icon does not appear, you will have to manually trigger it from the OneDrive exe file.
To do this, open File Explorer. Make sure hidden items are enabled (click on the View menu and check the Hidden Items box). Then navigate to the following location: C: Users [YourUsername] AppData Local Microsoft OneDrive .
In that folder, double click on the OneDrive.exe file and the icon will appear in the system tray. Right click on this icon and select Settings. Click on the Settings tab and make sure that the checkbox Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows is verified.
On the Settings screen, click the Account tab and select the Add an account button. At Set up OneDrive screen, enter your Microsoft account email address, and click Sign In. Choose your OneDrive account type (personal, work, or school). Enter your password and click Connect.
Confirm the location that Microsoft has set for your OneDrive folder. You can change the location or accept the default and click Next. Go through the tutorial screens that explain how to set up OneDrive, and then click the button Open my OneDrive folder.
Add files to OneDrive
Your next task is to select the folders and files that you want to add and sync with your OneDrive storage. From File Explorer, move all the folders and files you want to sync to your OneDrive location. For example, if you are using a folder called Word Documents for your Microsoft Word files, move the entire folder to OneDrive (which is usually C: Users [username] OneDrive Word Documents).
Follow the same steps for any other folders you want to include as part of your OneDrive sync. You can also create any new folders you want to sync in OneDrive.
Sync files in OneDrive
Next, you will need to choose the folders and files that you want to sync. Right click on the system tray icon for OneDrive and select Settings. Click the Account tab, then select Choose folders. Here, you’ll see the files and folders you’ve moved to your OneDrive folder. If you want to sync everything stored in your OneDrive folder, check the box to Make all files available.
Otherwise, check the individual folders you want to sync and uncheck the folders you don’t want to sync. Unchecked folders will remain on OneDrive but will be deleted from your current PC. Click OK when you are done.
You can choose to store your synced files locally or download them only when needed. Click the Settings tab and look at the Files On Demand setting, which should be enabled by default. When this setting is enabled, your OneDrive files are stored online rather than on your computer.
Links to your online files always appear in File Explorer. When you double-click a file to access it, the file is downloaded on the fly from OneDrive to your computer. The advantage of Files-On-Demand is that you save space on your hard drive. The downside is that you have to be online to access a file.
You can leave this option disabled if you have a lot of hard drive space, but enabled if you are low on storage. You can also choose to store some folders and files online only and others both online and locally. Click the checkbox if you want to disable this option.
Back up with OneDrive
Once OneDrive is up and running, you can also use it to back up important folders. In the OneDrive program window, click the Backup tab and select Manage Backup. You can choose to back up your Desktop, Pictures folder, and Documents folder. Check the items you want to back up and click Start Backup.
You can also choose to automatically save photos and videos to OneDrive whenever you connect a camera, phone, or other shooting device. Plus, you can automatically save screenshots to OneDrive. To activate either option, check the box next to it.
Show folders and files
You can view your local OneDrive files and folders in File Explorer. Right-click on the OneDrive system tray icon and select Open Folder.
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You can also view OneDrive files and folders stored online. Again, right click on the system tray icon and select View Online. Sign in with your Microsoft account. A page displays the files and folders in your online OneDrive space.
From this page, you can open a file by clicking on it. Right-click on a folder or file to access a context menu with commands such as Download, Delete, Move to, Copy to, and Rename.
Create a photo album
You can create your own photo albums from selected photos stored in OneDrive. On your online OneDrive site, click the Photos entry in the left pane. Click the Albums heading, then click the Create New Album button in the first thumbnail. Name your album, select the photos you want to add, then click Add Album and the album is created.
You can share your OneDrive folders or files with others from File Explorer or your online OneDrive site. In File Explorer, right click on the file you want to share and select Share from the context menu. This generates a link that you can email or share with someone else, giving that person the ability to read and possibly edit that file.
To share a file from OneDrive online, right-click the file and select Share. You can then send an email with a link to the shared file or copy a link to share elsewhere.
Disable automatic synchronization
If you want to remove a PC from OneDrive, first make sure that all the files you need are synced with that PC. To do this, open the OneDrive system tray icon. To select Settings> Account > Choose folders. Check the box for Sync all files and folders in OneDrive, especially if you have unchecked folders previously.
This action will download all files from OneDrive that don’t already exist on your PC. This process will take some time, but you can check the progress by right-clicking the OneDrive System Tray icon to see how much time is left.
Once all of your files are backed up to your PC, right-click on the OneDrive system tray icon and select Settings. In the Settings tab, uncheck the box to Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows. Then click on the Account tab and click on the Unpair this PC connect. When prompted, click the Unlink the account button, and now your PC will no longer sync with OneDrive.