On Demand Files is making its way back to Windows 10. Previously available in Windows 8, the feature disappeared after Windows 10 launched in 2015. OneDrive On Demand Files let you keep all your files and folders stored on OneDrive on your device without actually eating up local storage space.
For instance, let’s say you have a folder called Work with ten files inside, but you don’t necessarily want all those files stored locally. It’s especially great for low capacity storage devices – you know, the ones with 32 GBs of storage or less? Yep, those ones. You are also able to perform common tasks like 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. On Demand Files 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 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 users can add to the list of the many ways to free up space in Windows 10.
Have you been missing On Demand Files in Windows 10 for all these years? Let us know what you think.