Microsoft's OneDrive is one of the main cloud storage services available to consumers. OneDrive can do a lot of things for you, but you can only do that if you understand the product.

Here's everything you should know about Microsoft OneDrive.

What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is a cloud storage solution from Microsoft. It enables users to store files of various types in the cloud, from documents to photos to video and audio, making it easier to access and share.

With OneDrive, you can collaborate with others, access your files on multiple devices, and be sure you have a copy of your files backed up, even if you format your device. Worse, your device will be destroyed or stolen.

Microsoft OneDrive offers 5 GB of free storage when you open a Microsoft account. For more gigabytes, you have to pay for a Microsoft 365 subscription (renamed from Office 365 in 2020), which offers 1 TB of OneDrive storage in addition to a license for access to Office apps.

How does Microsoft OneDrive work?

Getting started with OneDrive is pretty easy. All you need is a Microsoft account. And if you already have a Microsoft account, you also have a OneDrive. If not, go to account.microsoft.com/account > Create a Microsoft account and follow the instructions to sign in. Once you're done, you'll have 5GB of free space.

Installing the OneDrive app on your devices makes it easier to access your cloud storage space. In Windows 10, Windows RT 8.1, and Windows 8.1 you don't need to download the app because it's already built-in. For Mac, Android (unless you have a Samsung Galaxy), and iPhone you'll need to download the app. Alternatively, you can skip the app installation and access OneDrive over the web.

If you're using Windows 10, Microsoft OneDrive is easier to use because it's built into the operating system. You can access OneDrive by opening File Explorer and selecting OneDrive in the left navigation pane. However, you need to link your Microsoft account to Windows 10 for convenience.

However, you can still download the dedicated OneDrive app from the Microsoft Store. In the OneDrive app, you can navigate your files with the left-aligned navigation panel, which provides quick access to Photos, Shared Files, My Files, Recent, and Trash.

How to set up a personal vault in OneDrive

OneDrive offers additional security with an integrated personal encrypted safe for your confidential documents such as tax documents and vehicle information. The vault offers additional protection with two-step verification and is automatically locked after 20 minutes (default), 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours of inactivity.

  1. Choose Personal safe in your OneDrive account.

  2. Tap Next and follow the instructions to verify your identity and complete setup.

How to select locally available OneDrive folders

In File Explorer, OneDrive gives you a quick overview of your files and folders. Microsoft lets you choose OneDrive folders that you think should be easily accessible in File Explorer.

  1. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray.

  2. Choose Help and Settings> Settings from the popup.

  3. Press the account Tab from the top menu and then select Select folder.

  4. Select the preferred folders to be displayed locally and press OK to save.

Download: OneDrive for Windows | Mac | Android | iPhone

How to upload files and folders to OneDrive

The core of OneDrive is to store your files in the cloud so you can access them from all of your devices. You can upload files to your OneDrive in two different ways. The easiest way is to drag and drop your files and folders into the OneDrive folder. You can find the OneDrive folder in the navigation pane in File Explorer in Windows and the Mac Finder on Mac.

Alternatively, you can use the built-in Upload Function. We'll use OneDrive Web for this guide, but you'll find a similar experience in the dedicated app.

Upload files and folders to OneDrive

  1. Open OneDrive.

  2. Choose Upload from the top menu.

  3. Choose Files if you want to upload individual files and Folder to upload an entire folder.

  4. Select the file or folder you want to upload from your device and select to open or Select folder.

Your files will be uploaded to OneDrive.

Related: Any shortcut you need for the Microsoft OneDrive Windows 10 app

Here's how to automatically backup your files to OneDrive on PC

Use the platform's automatic sync feature to save yourself the trouble of manually uploading files and folders to OneDrive.

This is how you can automatically back up and sync your files in OneDrive.

  1. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray.

  2. Choose Help and settings from the popup.

  3. click Settings> Backup> Manage Backup.

  4. Of the Manage folder backup In the pop-up window, choose which folders should be automatically backed up to OneDrive. You can choose to automatically back up the Desktop, Documents, or Pictures folder.

  5. Choose Start backup.

Pay attention to that After the selection, there will be free space in OneDriveso you don't run out of cloud storage. OneDrive will automatically back up your selected folders with this setting as long as you are connected to the internet.

How to save documents from Office apps to OneDrive

If you're part of the wider Microsoft ecosystem and use the company's productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, you can save files directly to OneDrive.

With your document open, tap File> Save or Save as> OneDrive and select one of the folders displayed.

To open a file saved in OneDrive, open your corresponding Office app, select to open from the navigation area > OneDrive. Select the folder where the file was saved, find and select the file. If you're having problems, there are ways to fix OneDrive when you can't open files.

Tips for managing your files and folders in OneDrive

To make it easy to find files in your OneDrive cloud, you need to organize your files and folders. You can do this by creating your folders and moving files to convenient locations for easy access.

Tap New > Folder, name your folder, and select Create to create a new folder. Move or copy files to folders by right-clicking and. choose Move to or copy to.

Next, select the destination folder from the pop-up dialog box, then tap Copy or Move. You can also delete folders and create files.

How to share files and folders from OneDrive

Sharing files from OneDrive is a breeze. Here is how.

  1. First, right click on the file or folder you want to share.

  2. Choose share from the popup menu.

  3. Enter the email address of the recipient (s).

  4. Set access permissions by tapping the down arrow with a stylus. Select whether the recipient should only view the document or also edit it.

  5. Next, choose Link settings for additional sharing settings. You can make the document accessible to everyone or only to specific people with a link. However, a Microsoft 365 subscription is required if you: a Expiry date of the link or an access password.

  6. Tap Apply to save the settings.

  7. If necessary, include a message attached to the file or folder.

  8. Choose Send to share the document / folder. You can also Copy link to share the link directly.

Get to know Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is one of the three major cloud storage services for consumers. Because of its close association with Office 365, knowing how to navigate OneDrive is important for better results. This article answers the question "What is OneDrive" and equips you with the basics.

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About the author

Alvin Wanjala
(35 published articles)

Alvin Wanjala has been writing about technology for over 2 years. He writes on a variety of facets including but not limited to mobile, PC, and social media. Alvin loves programming and gaming during downtime.

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By Alvin Wanjala

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