Microsoft is a trusted cloud provider that works closely with the government and other large companies. As a result, OneDrive has powerful security features and data is encrypted in transit and rest. However, for truly sensitive documents, it has an additional feature: the OneDrive Personal Vault.
OneDrive Personal Vault adds an additional layer of security to your most important files. When users save a document or photo to their OneDrive vault, they can only access it via an additional method of authentication.
You can, for example, set up OneDrive Personal Vault to require a fingerprint, a code sent to you via email or SMS, facial recognition, or a PIN. On Windows 10, this protection goes further. As well as the usual OneDrive encryption, your synced Personal Vault files are saved directly to a BitLocker encrypted area on your hard drive.
Today, we're going to show you how to set up OneDrive Personal Vault on your Windows 10 PC. We'll then walk you through how to unlock the vault to access the files at any time. Let's start:
How to Set Up OneDrive Personal Vault in Windows 10
Microsoft may have tried to walk you through the setup of OneDrive Personal Vault when you first installed Windows. If you're anything like me, though, you will have decided to “do it later” and then promptly forgotten about it.
Not to worry – we'll walk you through the entire process below:
- Click the OneDrive icon on your taskbar and then press “Open Folder”
- Double-click the “Personal Vault” shortcut in your OneDrive folder
The OneDrive Vault shortcut should be in the folder's root directory. To find it quickly, you can click in your Explorer window and then press “P” a few times until it is selected.
Double-clicking it will open the OneDrive Personal Vault setup window.
- Press “Next” in the Personal Vault set up window
- Click “Allow”
- Enter your Microsoft password
- Select a verification method
You'll have a few options here, including text, the authenticator app, email, or biometrics. Select whichever is most convenient.
- Enter the required verification information
If you chose a text message as we did you'll have to enter the last four digits of your phone number. Otherwise, you may have to interact with your phone, fingerprint reader, or provide your email.
- Enter your four-digit code and click “Verify”
If you chose to authenticate via text or email, enter your four-digit code and press “Verify”. If you didn't, follow whatever prompts are on your screen.
- Save files to your new Personal Vault
Your Personal Vault should show up in the sidebar of your File Explorer window. Alternatively, you can access it at any point by pressing the shortcut in your main OneDrive folder. To add files to it, simply browse when saving or drag them directly into the folder.
OneDrive Personal Vault is limited to three files if you're on a free or standalone 100 GB plan. If you have Office 365, however, you can store as many files as you like so long as it doesn't exceed your storage limit.
How to Unlock Your Personal Vault in Windows 10
When the time comes to access the files in your Personal Vault, unlocking it should be simple. Here's are a couple of ways you can do it:
- Option 1: Press “Unlock Personal Vault” in your OneDrive options
This is the fastest way to unlock your OneDrive Vault. Simply click the cloud icon on your taskbar, then press the Help & Settings cog and select “Unlock Personal Vault”.
- Option 2: Via your OneDrive Folder
You can also open your vault by pressing the “Open Folder” button in your OneDrive app.
- Find the vault shortcut
- Right-click the shortcut and select “Unlock Personal Vault”
- Enter your Microsoft account password and press “Sign in”
If you're using the Microsoft Authenticator app, you may be able to skip this step and press a button on your phone instead.
- Choose a verification method
For the purposes of this tutorial, we'll choose “Text”.
- Enter your verification code and press “Verify”
- Access your OneDrive Vault files
You should now be able to view, edit, and move them to your heart's content.