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How to Sync files with OneDrive Files on Demand

OneDrive’s handy feature, Files-on-Demand, makes it easy for OneDrive users to access their files without having to download them. Downloading takes up space on the hard drive and, after a while, can slow the system down. 

Files-on-Demand was originally a Windows 8.1 feature, but it has recently been updated and added to Windows 10. The feature is essentially a placeholder. It is a 1 or 2 GB folder that contains shortcuts to every document stored on your OneDrive- even if you have thousands of gigabytes of files banked. 

Most Windows PCs have undergone an update that includes the addition of this feature. Some, however, are still waiting. If you don’t yet have this capability, there are a number of easy steps you can take to download and get it set up yourself- no more waiting. 

  1. Locate the OneDrive icon on your taskbar, which is located at the bottom of your computer screen. If you cannot find it due to the number of programs running on your system, expand the notification that is found on your taskbar and continue your search. 
  2. Next, you’ll want to right-click on the icon and select ‘settings’.  This might automatically open a new window, in which you’ll see your OneDrive account. 
  3. Find the ‘settings’ tab within your account settings window.
  4. From here you should be able to see a header that is clearly marked as Files-on-Demand. Within it, there will be a checkbox that says ‘save space and download files as you use them’; check the box. 

Working with Files-on-Demand 

Working with files on demand

Once your Files-on-Demand feature is enabled, you’ll see a few new icons beside your SharePoint files. These icons are status icons and they allow you to transport files from your device to SharePoint Online.

You can make it so that files are available online only, which will save space on your system. When a file is only available online, it means that they are only available for editing and view when the device you’re using to access them is connected to the internet. 

Once you open this kind of file, it will download onto your device and become readily available for local use. A file that can be viewed locally can be viewed in the absence of an internet connection. 

If you’d rather have your files available all the time, here’s how you can easily tweak your settings and have all of your files at your fingertips. 

All you have to do is select the file, right-click, and then select ‘Always keep on this device’. To change a file back to an online-only file, simply right click it and then select ‘Free up space’. After changing a file back, it will disappear off of your local device but still be accessible through your OneDrive account. 

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