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How to Make a One Drive File or Folder Available Offline


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Whenever you save your files to OneDrive, they head straight into the cloud on Microsoft’s servers and sometimes, but not always, on your local hard drive. However, this task can be somewhat confusing since the location where your files are stored depends on the Windows version of your computer and your OneDrive settings. Below are guidelines on how you can make sure the files you need are available when you’re offline.

How to Make OneDrive Files or Folders Available Offline in Windows 8.1

When OneDrive was integrated in Windows 8 by Microsoft, they introduced “placeholders,” which are small files on your computer that point to the original files, which are then stored in the cloud. To access these “smart files,” you need to double-click the placeholder to start a download of the larger file to your computer. This is useful especially if you have a laptop or a tablet with small storage capacity, because not all of your OneDrive files have to take up local hard drive space. This may cause confusion though, since all files are listed in the computer’s OneDrive folder, appearing as if they’re saved locally and can be accessed even without Internet connection.

Below are the steps on how to make individual files and folders available offline or force OneDrive to make all files available offline:

STEP 1: Click on a file or folder in Windows Explorer to find out if it is available online only or available offline.

NOTE: The Windows Explorer status bar will tell you if you’ll need to download the file to access it or if it’s locally stored on your computer (as well as on OneDrive online).

STEP 2: Right-click on the file or folder, then select Make available offline.

NOTE: Alternately, you can select the Make available online-only option for local files and move then to the OneDrive servers in the cloud, saving some space on your hard drive.

STEP 3: To make all of the files you save to OneDrive available offline (synced on your computer as well), right-click on the OneDrive icon on the taskbar, then select Settings.

STEP 4: Under the Settings tab, check the box next to Make all files available even when this PC isn’t connected to the Internet.

How to Make OneDrive Files or Folders Available Offline in Windows 10 or Windows 7

In Windows 10, Microsoft removed placeholders with OneDrive. All of the files you see in your local OneDrive folder are the original, full-size files. You can sync all or specific folders between your OneDrive online storage space and OneDrive on your computer, just like the way Dropbox and Google Drive work.

This means all the files in your local OneDrive folder are already always available offline. Here’s how to select which folders get synced between OneDrive in the cloud and OneDrive on your computer:

STEP 1: Right-click on the OneDrive icon in the system tray, then click Settings.

STEP 2: Click on the Choose folders button to select the folders to sync.

STEP 3: Check the boxes next to the folders you want to sync with your PC.

NOTE: By default, all files not in a folder will be synced.

STEP 4: Click OK.


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