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Microsoft Rolls out OneDrive Files On-Demand to Insiders, Allowing Online Document Access from File Explorer

With OneDrive Files On-Demand, users can choose whether to store files locally or online, saving storage but maintaining full functionality. The features are available on Windows 10 build 16215 and will become generally available with the Fall Creators update.


Microsoft is rolling out OneDrive Files On-Demand to Windows Insiders on Build 16215. The functionality lets users access their documents from File Explorer without having to sync all of them, saving valuable hard drive space.

“All your files—even online files—can be seen in File Explorer and work just like every other file on your device,” explains Windows Insider head Donar Sarkar.

You’ll be able to open online files from within desktop or Windows Store apps using the Windows file picker. And you’re covered in both your home and professional life since it works with your personal and work OneDrive, as well as your SharePoint Online team sites.”

OneDrive Files On-Demand in Windows File Explorer

Our testing reveals that it works exactly as Sarkar says, though there are a few different ways you can approach it.

When using OneDrive Files On-Demand, you can configure folders to work differently depending on their requirements. Windows File Explorer shows the current state of each file in a new OneDrive Files On-Demand column.

The cloud icon indicates an online-only file, which doesn’t take up space on your device but naturally needs a connection to edit.

The white-green checkmark means an online-only file has been downloaded to your device and is ready to use offline. This happens automatically when you open an always online file. If you need more storage space, you can simply right-click and choose ‘free up space’.

Naturally, the two rounded arrows mean that a sync is pending and the folder will be made available offline once it’s done. However, there’s a third icon that isn’t represented here. A solid green checkmark means a folder has been marked as ‘always available’, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to access it while offline.

As well as configuring folders, you’ll have to enable OneDrive Files On-Demand when you update the application. A prompt comes up on the first launch, but you can also enable it in settings.

It’s great to see such a highly requested feature, and Microsoft has gone beyond the previous OneDrive placeholders. The update is rolling out to Insiders today, but if you really can’t wait, you can download it here.

Non-insiders, on the other hand, won’t see this until the Fall Creators update. It’s now shaping up to be a significant release, with the debut of Microsoft’s new Fluent Design System and more.

Until then, you can read up on OneDrive File On-Demand on the Office site.

Ryan Maskell
Ryan Maskellhttps://ryanmaskell.co.uk
Ryan has had a passion for gaming and technology since early childhood. Fusing the skills from his Creative Writing and Publishing degree with profound technical knowledge, he enjoys covering news about Microsoft. As an avid writer, he is also working on his debut novel.

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