Access OneDrive Files On-Demand after Windows Update

Good news for those with OneDrive. All your files in OneDrive can now be accessed On-Demand, whether you synced them to your PC or not.  They will appear in your File Explorer window without taking up any storage space on your hard disk.

To get this feature, you will need to update your Windows to the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Currently, before this update, you will need to sync the whole folder to let them appear in the File Explorer window. This method is unproductive and troublesome.

To know why I am so excited about it, I need to explain the history. A few years ago, Microsoft decided to remove the “Placeholder” feature. It is a feature to let you see all the files on OneDrive without downloading them.

It was a very good feature at that time. Dropbox does not have it. So are other Cloud-based storage solutions. When Microsoft removed it, many people were unhappy. This leads to this petition.

Finally, after many years, Microsoft decided to roll out the enhanced version of “Placeholder”, the On-Demand feature. Basically, it combines the beauty of letting you select the folder(s) to download and allowing you to see everything in your OneDrive on Windows File Explorer without downloading them.

With OneDrive Files On-Demand, you can:

  • Save space on your device by making files online only
  • Set files and folders to be always available locally on your device
  • See important information about files, such as whether they are shared
  • See thumbnails of over 270 different file types even if you don’t have the required application installed to open it
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How to Get this OneDrive On-Demand Feature

By right, after you upgrade to the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you will be able to get this option on OneDrive. However, from my understanding, Microsoft is rolling out this feature slowly. Eventually, you will get it.

If you are impatient like me, follow the steps below (copied from Windows Central): –

  1. Download the latest available OneDrive client.
  2. Double-click the OneDriveSetup.exe file to install new client.
  3. Restart your computer.
  4. Open Start.
  5. Search for OneDrive and click the result to launch the app.
  6. Follow the on-screen directions to complete the setup as necessary.
  7. Right-click the OneDrive (cloud) icon in the notification area, and select Settings.
  8. On the “Settings” tab, you should now see the Files On-Demand section, and make sure the Save space and download files as you use them option is checked to enable the feature.

Once done, you can continue to select which folders to sync and etc. The difference now is that it will NOT download the synced folders. Instead, a few icons will appear beside the files or folders to indicate the status as shown below.

That is it. Have fun.