Microsoft OneDrive is one of many cloud storage options available to Windows PC users. It comes as standard with any Microsoft account and this makes it the most convenient cloud storage alternative since Microsoft now requires users of Windows 10 to use a Microsoft account to log in. There are ways around this but, for many people, signing in to their computer with a Microsoft account is now the standard approach.
Any free Microsoft account comes with 5 GB of OneDrive storage, and paid Microsoft 365 plans come with 1 TB for each user. Regardless of the Microsoft account or username youâ€™ve used to log in to a Windows 10 computer, you can sign in to OneDrive with any active Microsoft account. In fact, you can sign in to multiple OneDrive accounts on your computer, and these will be displayed separately in File Explorer.
Whilst OneDrive can be used to store whichever files and folders you like, one of its most useful applications is to store your library folders on OneDrive. In other words, your Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders can be located in OneDrive. This has the obvious benefit that any files and folders stored in these directories are automatically being backed up using OneDrive. This effectively means that, whilst your files and folders are located on your computer, they are also stored on a server elsewhere.
In the event of a catastrophic failure of your computer, the files and folders stored on OneDrive continue to be accessible to you. They can be accessed directly on the internet by logging in at https://onedrive.live.com/ or by using the OneDrive app on another computer, or on a phone or tablet. Not only that, but older versions of files can be retrieved. This can be a useful feature when you want to roll back changes that youâ€™ve made.
When signing in to OneDrive for the first time on a Windows computer, youâ€™ll be prompted to back up your library folders to OneDrive during the sign-in process. If however you prefer to manage the locations of these folders yourself, itâ€™s also possible to do so. Here are the steps youâ€™ll need to follow.
1. In the navigation pane of File Explorer, click the arrow beside your OneDrive to expand the list of folders in OneDrive.
2. If you donâ€™t already see the names of your library folders listed in OneDrive, you need to create these. To do this, right-click on your OneDrive in the navigation pane, select New > and then Folder. Firstly create a folder called Desktop, then repeat to create Documents and Pictures. Note that you can give these folders any names you like in OneDrive.
3. In the File Explorer navigation pane once again, click the arrow beside This PC to open the list of library folders. You should see a list containing 3D Objects, Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures and Videos and more.
4. Start by right-clicking on Desktop, then select Properties and click on the Location tab.
5. Youâ€™ll see the current location of your Desktop folder, which traditionally would have been under the name of your user account in Users. Click the Moveâ€¦ button.
6. In the resulting window you can navigate to select the Desktop folder in your OneDrive (or whatever name you gave it) and then click the Select folder button.
7. Youâ€™ll be asked if you want to move all of the folders from the old location to the new location and you should select Yes.
8. Repeat steps 4-7 to move your Documents and Pictures folders to OneDrive.
After youâ€™ve changed the locations of your library folders to OneDrive, you still work with them in the normal manner on your computer. However, they are now being backed up and synchronised to your OneDrive cloud storage as you work.
As mentioned at the beginning, Microsoft OneDrive is one of the most convenient cloud storage options available. Other popular alternatives include Dropbox, Google Drive and Mega. If youâ€™re looking for the solution that would best suit your requirements, you can find plenty of helpful information online, or consult an IT support professional. Sometimes there are just too many options and you need someone to point you in the right direction.