How to modify the folders Microsoft OneDrive syncs to the cloud

A TechRepublic member wants to save files to the cloud and only to the cloud. There are settings in Microsoft OneDrive that make this possible.

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Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

Microsoft OneDrive is a convenient and effective cloud storage tool. A free 5 GB version comes with Windows 10 and will be active if you opt to sign in to your PC using Microsoft account credentials. If you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365, by default, you have access to 1 TB of OneDrive storage space. In either case, more storage space is available for an additional fee.

Also, by default, every folder, subfolder, and file located in OneDrive will automatically be synchronized with the cloud. Essentially, both the OneDrive directory on your local hard drive and the OneDrive directory in the cloud will be exactly the same after a successful sync. However, there are ways to change this default behavior.

TechRepublic member nadelewitz, for example, who commented on How to assign a drive letter to Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 10, would like to copy or move files to the OneDrive cloud and not have them sync with the local hard drive. This tutorial shows you how to modify the folders Microsoft OneDrive syncs to the cloud to achieve this goal.

SEE: Windows 10 May 2019 Update: 10 notable new features (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to modify the folders OneDrive syncs to the cloud

For this example, we will use the Windows 10 version of OneDrive, but the basic steps are the same for both versions.

The first step is to open the Settings window for OneDrive. Right-click the cloud icon in the Notification area of the desktop and select Settings from the context menu and then select the Account tab. This area is also referred to as the system tray. Typically, the Notification area is located in the lower right-hand corner of the Windows 10 desktop, as shown in Figure A.

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Figure A

On the OneDrive settings screen, shown in Figure B, you can see a summary of your OneDrive's configuration, including how much storage space you are using. For this example, we want to click the button that says Choose folders.

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Figure B

The next screen, shown in Figure C, will show you all of the folders currently being synchronized by the OneDrive system. By default, all folders and subfolders will have checkmarks next to their names.

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Figure C

Remove the checkmarks from the folder or folders you do not wish to sync anymore. You will see an important reminder that OneDrive will delete files located in the unselected folder from your local hard drive. From this point on, those files will only exist in the cloud. Click the OK button twice to complete the process.

If you decide you would like to start synchronizing that folder again, reverse the process and give the system some time to retrieve the files.

Couple this change to Microsoft OneDrive's default behavior with the previous tip for assigning a drive letter to OneDrive and you should have a simple way to save files to the cloud and only to the cloud as nadelewitz requested.

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