OneDrive Advanced Usage

How to upload files to OneDrive

OneDrive integrates with File Explorer, making the process of uploading files straightforward. Just follow these steps:

1. Open File Explorer(Windows key + E).

2. Click the OneDrive folder using the left pane.

Note: If you have multiple accounts configured on your device, the folders will be named accordingly: OneDrive – Personal for your regular account, and OneDrive – Family for business accounts.

3. Drag and drop or copy and paste content into the OneDrive folder.

After placing the new files and folders into OneDrive, the client will automatically sync them to your account in the background.

Quick Tip: In the future, instead of continually relocating files, remember that within the application, you can always save the files you’re working on directly to the OneDrive folder.

How to choose which folders to sync from OneDrive

If you want to specify which folders stored in the cloud should be accessible from your computer, do the following:

1. Click the cloud icon in the notification area.
2. Click the three-dotted menu button in the top-right corner.
3. Click Settings.

4. In the “Account” tab, click the Choose folders

5. Clear the Make all files available
6. Check the folders you want to make visible.
7. Click OK.

8. Click OK


Once you complete these steps, only the files and folders you specified will be visible from your device. However, you’ll be able to access the content you didn’t specify using the OneDrive experience on the web.And you can use the same instructions to add or remove content as needed.


How to understand the sync status of OneDrive files

OneDrive uses at least 10 different badges to inform users about the status of the app and file syncing.

OneDrive icon status

  • Solid white cloud icon —OneDrive is running without problems and sync is up-to-date.

  • Solid blue cloud icon —Indicates that a “OneDrive for business” account is configured. The sync is up-to-date, and there are no problems.

  • Solid gray cloud icon —OneDrive is running but isn’t connected to any account, or you’re signed out.

  • Cloud icon with arrows forming a circle —OneDrive is actively downloading or uploading files and folders to the cloud.

  • Solid red with white X icon —OneDrive is running, but there are sync problems that require your attention.

Files and folders statuses

  • White cloud with blue borders icon —Indicates that the file is only available when you’re connected to the internet, and it’s not using local storage. You’ll need to double-click the file to finish the download and open with an application.
  • White icon with green borders and check mark icon —File is available offline, you can open them without an internet connection, and they’re taking up local storage space.
  • Solid green with white check mark icon —You’ll see this status badge when using the “Always keep on this device” option to ensure important files are available offline.
  • Solid red with white X icon —Alerts you that there is a problem trying to sync a particular folder or file.
  • Cloud icon with arrows forming a circle —Indicates that a file is currently syncing.

How to use OneDrive Files On-Demand

OneDrive Files On-Demand is a feature that became available with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and it allows you to access your entire collection of files stored in the cloud using File Explorer without having to download them first to your device.

In other words, Files On-Demand will only download small pieces of information to make the content visible allowing you to quickly sync hundreds of gigabytes without using space on your computer.

However, you’ll need an internet connection to open files that you don’t explicitly make available offline, or you didn’t already open.

You can enable OneDrive Files On-Demand using these steps:

1. Click the cloud iconin the notification area.

2. Click the three-dottedmenu button in the top-right corner.

3. Click on Settings.

4. Click the Settings

5. Under “Files On-Demand,” check the Save space and download files as you use them.

6. Click OK.


Once you complete these steps, OneDrive Files On-Demand will be enabled on your device. You can then right-click files or folders and:

  • Select the Free up spaceoption to make a file only available with an internet connection.
  • Select the Always keep on this deviceoption to ensure the content is always available offline.

How to share files using OneDrive

Another great feature that OneDrive offers is an easy way to share files with family, friends, or coworkers.

Instead of making a copy using a USB drive or sending email to other people, OneDrive on Windows 10 allows you to quickly share virtually any files by creating a secure link that others can use to access the content.

There are multiple ways to share files using OneDrive, but the steps to get started are listed below.

Sharing files without a OneDrive for Business account

If you’re using a regular OneDrive account, you can share files using Windows 10, but to manage sharing permissions, you’ll need to use the web experience. Here’s how:

  1. Open OneDrive.
  2. Browse the path that includes the file you want to share.
  3. Right-click the file, and click the Share a OneDrive link

After completing the steps, a unique link to the file (or folder) will be created and copied to the clipboard. You can just right-click, paste, and send the link using email, social media, or another messaging service.


At any time, you can stop sharing a file or folder. Here’s how:

1. Right-click the file you’re sharing.
2. Select More OneDrive sharing

3. Using the web experience, click the file information button in the top-right corner.
4. Click the Manage access

5. Click the Remove link(X) button.

6. Click the Remove link blue button.

Once you complete these steps, no one will be able to access the files you shared, making the previously created link useless.


Sharing files with a OneDrive for Business account

If you’re using a OneDrive for Business account, the sharing experience is simplified, so you don’t have to open OneDrive in your web browser to create a link or manage files permissions.

If you have a business account, you can quickly share files using these steps:

1. Right-click the file you want.
2. Select Share.

3. Use the drop-down menu to select the share permission.

4. Specify an email address if you’re going to send the link to another person and click the Send Or you can click the Copy Link option.


After completing these steps, if you want to stop sharing the file, use these steps:

1. Right-click the file you’re sharing.
2. Select Share.
3. Click the three-dotted button in the top-right corner.
4. Select the Manage Access

5. Click the Remove link(X) button.


In order to see how much storage you’re using, do the following:

1. Click the cloud icon in the notification area.
2. Click the three-dotted menu button in the top-right corner.
3. Click on Settings.

4. Click the Account tab to see the current usage.

Once you complete these steps, if you’re running out of space, you can check all the available storage plans at to upgrade.

Wrapping things up

Although there are many cloud storage services available, because of its integration with PCs and Office 365, OneDrive remains the best experience for Windows 10 users.

However, there’s room for improvements, and the experience isn’t consistent everywhere. On Windows 10, for example, when sharing files, you get one experience when using an Office 365 and another without a subscription. Also, it can be difficult to tell which files you’re sharing when using File Explorer.

Do you use OneDrive on Windows 10? Tell us in the comments.


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