SMB Tip: Never Lose a Document or Other File

Posted on September 29, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, OneDrive with 17 Comments

Last week, I interviewed several people representing small businesses that use Microsoft 365. I should do this more often: It was instructive speaking with people who have real-world experience, not just Microsoft 365 in general, but also with the seismic changes that rocked our world this year requiring a sudden move to remote work.

These discussions confirmed some of my opinions about Microsoft 365, in particular my notion that Microsoft Teams has emerged as the single most useful tool during the pandemic, and that its usage will persist going forward, even if everything magically returns to a “normal” or near-normal state someday. But I was most fascinated by some of the new tidbits I learned. And I’d like to share one that I heard about multiple times.

Use OneDrive’s Known Folders feature.

That is, if you manage users on Microsoft 365, you should enforce or at least encourage the use of Known Folders. And if you’re an individual using Microsoft 365, you should enable it for yourself.

For those unaware, Known Folders is a OneDrive (and OneDrive for Business) feature that lets you redirect your Desktop, Documents, and/or Pictures folders from the local hard drive only to OneDrive, where their contents will be available both locally, on the PC’s hard drive, as well as from anywhere you can access OneDrive.

What I heard—again, multiple times—was that Known Folders is a lifesaver, because users are now working from home and don’t have easy access to IT help staff when they can’t find a file. And since most of the time that happens, it’s because it’s on the Desktop or in Documents, redirecting those folders to OneDrive ensures that nothing important will ever be lost, no matter which PC or device the user is currently accessing.

To learn how to manage this feature as an IT admin or other representative of an organization on behalf of multiple users, you can check out the documentation on the Microsoft Docs website. To enable this feature as an individual, open OneDrive settings and navigate to Backup > Manage backup and choose the folders you’d like to redirect.

Thanks again to everyone that took the time to speak with me last week. You can find some clips from these talks on First Ring Daily, and on our social accounts, and I’ll be incorporating some quotes into future articles as well.

And if you’re not yet using a commercial version of Microsoft 365, please try a free month of Microsoft 365 Business Standard, which includes access to the Microsoft 365 desktop, mobile, and web apps, and 1 TB of cloud storage, and can be accessed by up to 25 users.

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