Microsoft Teases OneDrive Placeholder Feature, Will Announce More Details At Build

Posted on September 27, 2016 by Brad Sams in OneDrive with 24 Comments

placeholders hero

For many years, anyone who has used OneDrive back in the Windows 8 days has wanted one thing, placeholders. At Ignite this week in Atlanta, the company teased a new feature, which they are not naming, that appears to be a placeholder replacement.

Here’s what we know so far; the company is actively working to release a placeholder like feature for OneDrive and I believe this will arrive for both consumer and business users when the feature does arrive. The company did not announce a timeline for release but based on feedback on the UserVoice page for OneDrive, they will announce more details next year at Build.

In the image above, which is showing the feature, you can see how files that are local are in full color and have a green checkmark whereas files still in the cloud are grayed out and show a cloud icon in the bottom left corner. One of the complaints about placeholders with Windows 8 was that users would get confused and think that they had their files locally and then when they went offline, could no longer access their content.

We don’t have a date yet for Build in 2017 but considering that they are working towards releasing the Redstone 2 update in late Spring, I would expect the show to align to that release window. Knowing this, it seems likely this feature will be included in Redstone 2.

OneDrive has gone through a series of changes recently, most notably the reduction of free storage. With the return of a placeholder-like feature, the company will likely appease its longtime users and will also give Onedrive feature-parity with DropBox who has announced their own intention to bring a placeholder functionality to its platform.

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  1. 8 | Reply
    wolters Alpha Member #390 - 3 months ago

    " they will announce more details next year at Build"

    Oh the patience of us Microsoft fans and the long suffering pattern of "coming soon" or "wait and see." 

  2. 6 | Reply
    ben55124 Alpha Member #1468 - 3 months ago

    This is a placeholder for my actual comment.

    1. 1 | Reply
      Temme Sikkema Alpha Member #1953 - 3 months ago

      That was funny

    2. 1 | Reply
      ErichK Alpha Member #2471 - 3 months ago

      I can't tell if your comment is in the cloud or stored locally on my hard drive; it doesn't have a green checkmark next to it.  ;-)

  3. 2 | Reply
    mmcpher Alpha Member #245 - 3 months ago

    OneDrive is my main chance which isn't surprising because I have Windows Mobile on my daily driver.  It just works there, all the time, and is reasonably consistent across my W10 and W7 desktops and laptops.   Dropbox isn't bad, but not quite as good, particularly if you availed yourself of Microsoft's offers to increase storage.   At home, I put my family on OneDrive for back-up purposes and it works so well they were't even aware of it until disaster struck, all was lost, only it wasn't, it was residing on OneDrive.  

  4. 1 | Reply
    damo_oz Alpha Member #752 - 3 months ago

    Looking forward to the feature not the wait.

    1. 0 | Reply
      jgfoley Alpha Member #2503 - 3 months ago

      Well said!

  5. 1 | Reply
    Siv Alpha Member #451 - 3 months ago

    I don't want synching I just want storage in the cloud that I can trust as much as is possible. I just treatOneDrive as a remote backup disk and use the web interface to copy files up to it.

    When you start synching things you start to run the risk of data being copied to all your devices when you don't want that.  I have never understood this need to synchronise all the time? I synchronise what I want, I don't want some algorithm trying to second guess me!

    Get off my lawn!

    1. 0 | Reply
      lwetzel Alpha Member #113 - 3 months ago

      I agree with you in a way.  There are personal things on my desktop in my home that I don't want in the cloud.  I also don't want an algorithm deciding that for me.

    2. 0 | Reply
      Chrismalone617 Alpha Member #1203 - 3 months ago

      I totally agree.  We have had nothing but trouble with trying to sync with OneDrive for Business client. Half the time there are errors.  The other half of the time it requests credentials over and over and over.  I just want our users to see the files that are there - let them download as they need them and then they go back to the cloud.  Maybe they will really bring this back.  I hope!

  6. 1 | Reply
    plettza Alpha Member #1558 - 3 months ago

    People suggested this is Microsoft should implement placeholders years ago when Microsoft announced they'd drop them.  That is, a tick and visual cue denoting the file's not actually on your computer.  Why am I not surprised it's taken Microsoft this long to get a clue.

  7. 1 | Reply
    KiddJ Alpha Member #1032 - 3 months ago

    I have delt with this for too long, and now we have to wait even longer, Oh Microsoft...

  8. 0 | Reply
    misterstuart Alpha Member #150 - 3 months ago

    HOW is this taking them soooooo long???? I just don't understand why it works in Windows 8, but not 10? What is so different?

  9. 0 | Reply
    DarrellPrichard Alpha Member #670 - 3 months ago

    /smh  To quote one of our POTUS candidates, "At this point, what difference does it make?"

  10. 0 | Reply
    lightbody Alpha Member #2190 - 3 months ago

    About time!

    I have a desktop PC with all my files on it synced to OneDrive, then my laptop with a smallish SSD on it, which I have to use Edge on to access my onedrive stuff, and do downloads and uploads - crazy.

  11. 0 | Reply
    navarac Alpha Member #375 - 3 months ago

    Just maybe too late. I personally went to Dropbox and just use Onedrive as a manual off-site backup option.

    1. 1 | Reply
      mike2k Alpha Member #1349 - 3 months ago

      Yep. I moved to Dropbox when MS f'd us on storage. Lack of Placeholders was a pretty good push too. 

  12. 0 | Reply
    goodbar Alpha Member #1306 - 3 months ago


  13. 0 | Reply
    nordyj Alpha Member #1237 - 3 months ago

    This is great news!  Can't wait to have it again!

  14. 0 | Reply
    prettyconfusd Alpha Member #1780 - 3 months ago

    Great stuff! I don't actually need this feature anymore (decided to go for the 256GB SP4 when I upgraded rather than the 64GB I got with SP3) as I can sync both my personal and business OneDrive's fully with plenty of space to spare but I'm glad it's going to be an option again.

    It would be great in particular to get this working on Windows 10 mobile too - it has a file system to having it work with the OneDrive app to allow selective sync and placeholders would be very useful, especially as they push Continuum further.

  15. 0 | Reply
    gsmith-plm Alpha Member #1599 - 3 months ago

    The problem with placeholders is that there still needs to be a simple way to move files that aren't stored locally to and from the cloud. I should be able to go to use Explorer to flag any file on any drive to upload to the cloud and it should do so in the background. When I open my OneDrive folder, there should be an icon there that represents that file in the cloud and I should be able to flag it for download locally to whatever folder I want to download to (not the OneDrive folder).