Files On-Demand in OneDrive is one of the most anticipated features in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Previously available in Windows 8, the feature disappeared after Windows 10 launched in 2015. It makes all your files and folders stored in OneDrive available on your PC without eating up local storage space.
For instance, let’s say you have a folder called Work with 10 files inside, but you don’t necessarily want all those files stored on your local drive. You can still see that folder and its content in File Explorer, but it will have a cloud icon next to it — which indicates it’s still on OneDrive. When you click on it, that data will be downloaded so you can start using it. This is a great feature for low capacity storage devices. You are also able to perform common tasks like a search for files or view their location. In this article, we show you how to set it up, use it and know when a file is online, local or always available.
How to Set Up and Use OneDrive On Demand Files in Windows 10
First, your device must be running the latest version of Windows 10 called the Fall Creators Update, version 1709. Files On-Demand will not be backported to older versions of Windows 10. There is currently no support for alternative platforms such as macOS, iOS or Android. Hopefully, that will change in the future.
After installing Windows 10 1709, you will now have the option of managing how files are stored and accessed on your device. Click the Turn On button to begin using On Demand Files.
If you are not prompted to do so you will likely need to enable On Demand Files manually. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the Notification area and click Settings.
Choose the Settings tab then check the box Save space and download files as you use them.
In your OneDrive personal folder, a new status emblem column is enabled, showing availability of your files, whether they are online, local or always available. The status icons will only show up when you are connected to the Internet. When you’re online, you’ll also see context menu items that can change the status of your files. Here is a little bit of info about what each means.
Online: Represented by a cloud emblem, means, the file is visible, but not actually on the device. If your computer is not connected to the Internet and you attempt to launch a file, you will receive the following error message.
Local: This option downloads the file to your hard disk, which starts using space. Local files are represented by a green tick box.
If you decide you no longer need the file locally, you can change its status back to online. Right-click the file then click Free up space. The assigned emblem will change to a cloud icon again.
Always Available: Downloads the file to your device; making it available at all times. Represented by a green circle emblem. This is convenient for frequently accessed files.
On Demand not only works with files, but you can also set folders using any of the available options or mark individual files within a folder. Files and folders moved outside of OneDrive will be automatically downloaded to the local drive. If you are working with Office files, it’s not really that much of a game changer, but for users where every byte counts, it can make a real difference. It’s a welcome feature and provides a solution to keep track of files and free up space in Windows 10 at the same time.