Tip: Configure OneDrive Files On-Demand in the Fall Creators Update

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in OneDrive, Windows 10 with 43 Comments

There’s been a lot of confusion about how OneDrive Files On-Demand works. So Microsoft dropped me a note to explain how to get it up and running.

The issue is that users are upgrading to the Fall Creators Update and not seeing all of their OneDrive files in File Explorer. For example, when I open my OneDrive view in File Explorer, I see only the folder(s) I’m syncing to the PC, not all folders and files.

To fix this, right-click OneDrive in the system tray and choose Settings. In the Microsoft OneDrive window that opens, navigate to the Settings pane.

If you see that “Files On-Demand” option at the bottom, make sure it’s selected. If you don’t see this option, you need to download the latest version of the OneDrive desktop app here.

Open OneDrive settings again after installing if needed and select that option as noted above. Then, navigate to the Account tab.

Click the Choose folders button. The Choose Folders window appears.

Here, choose “Make all files available” or whatever folders you wish. Doing so will not download the files and folders, it will just make them visible in File Explorer.

Which you can see for yourself after clicking OK twice. Well, and waiting a bit: It will take a little while for the changes (not the files, the changes) to sync.



Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (43)

43 responses to “Tip: Configure OneDrive Files On-Demand in the Fall Creators Update”

  1. Martin Pelletier

    Hello Paul,

    Is there a reason why this version of Onedrive is not installed when you update Windows to the fall creator update?

    I had to manually install it. If I did a clean install I would had have it?

  2. irfaanwahid

    Paul, don't you think it is a bit odd to download/install latest OneDrive for Files OnDemand to work. Shouldn't it just have come with Falls Creators Update? How many people would know about this that they need to download the latest version of OD.

    • NazmusLabs

      In reply to irfaanwahid:

      Most people do not understand that OneDrive isn't a part of the OS. It used to be in Win8.1. But MS removed it in Win10 and now simply preloads the Windows 7 sync client. The client has its own updater and will update to the latest version. So people will get it eventually when the client auto updates. The article shows how to manually grab the latest version of the client without waiting for it to check for and auto update.

  3. Bart

    Thank you for the article Paul. Unfortunately, the fact you need to write an article shows this service is not designed well.

    Back to the drawing board MS.....

  4. Simard57

    What if the tray icon is missing?

  5. Albatross

    Thanks Paul. Very helpful article. I've been waiting years for this feature to come back.

  6. wunderbar

    Because Microsoft.

  7. JJanner

    Quick question about implementation: Right now I have several folders of files on my laptop that sync with OneDrive. To free up the space on my laptop after I set up the new placeholder option described in the article, what is the safe way to remove the copies of files on my laptop (as I'll now rely on the placeholder behavior)?

  8. edboyhan

    I had changed the location of the resident OneDrive folder on one of my machines to a 256GB SSD attached to a USB 3 port, and then I made all my OneDrive folders resident on that SSD.

    Now with the FCU, I want to make all those folders be online with on demand download. I can't figure out how to force all the folders off the SSD and online on demand. There is a setting to revert the resident OneDrive folder back to its original location. I wonder if I have to do that first?

    This is somewhat exigent because when I start the Photos app on a picture, it displays it then promptly crashes. On another machine where the OneDrive local location is on the C: drive, the photo app runs normally.

    As you said this feature is not as well documented as it should be -- especially for edge use cases like mine.

  9. jclarytx3

    I was yelling at my phone "go to settings" while listening to ww when you were attempting to get it to work. MS has done a great job on this. Works as it should by starting with last settings.

  10. barry505

    Don't turn on this feature unless you absolutely have to, and definitely not on a machine you are using for software development and are using git (speaking from experience).

  11. glenn8878

    I wish you can simply right click and see “show all files”. This is why I hate Windows.

  12. Samr

    I am not a fan of Files On-Demand but this time Microsoft have done it right by making it optional. Too often these days Google and Microsoft try to force you do do things you don't like in the name of "helping" you.

    In a situation like Paul's case, do you really want 728GB of small files mirrored on your local drive ?

    Me? no.

    • Byron Adams

      In reply to Samr:

      I don't think you understand. The reason they redid it is because of the problem of small files taking up space. Now they do not, which means they are storing the data in a DB or something and the file view is just a view.

  13. Adam Desrosiers

    Thank you. I installed the OneDrive client anew and when I didn't see my files, got worried they had botched this. So glad to have my placeholders back after all this time!

  14. Jim-Wilson

    Yes, this was a surprise when I updated. Files on Demand was my most anticipated feature and I was quite disappointed when it wasn't "just there". Even with a manual installation which I figured out I needed to do, I was reluctant to click the "Make all Files Available" box thinking it might mean they'd all be downloaded and I didn't have the space to do that. So, I laboriously clicked all the individual folders in the window that indicated the ones you wanted to be visible but not downloaded (thinking what a stupid process this was on every single click). It really was poor labeling/communication. The "Make All Files Available" box should have reflected the process down in the individual folder selection box and said "Make All Files Visible"! Really, that is poor thinking on somebody's part. Or, Paul, maybe you should worry about all your files slowly downloading over the next few weeks.

  15. dnation70

    if u are on anniversary update u can't do this

  16. Polycrastinator

    That is... not intuitive. If you select files on demand, they should just make the selective sync options go away.

    • Dashrender

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      That wouldn't work - it's likely that a person would like to have offline access to files they didn't open before traveling. Selecting ones that are always synced ensures there is always a local copy for offline use.

      • Polycrastinator

        In reply to Dashrender:

        No. You're misreading this. Now the only way this works is to use what is the selective sync dialog to select everything, which does not cause those files to sync to the PC. Then for the stuff you actually want permanently, you need to navigate to it and right click the folders to say you want those always available. The way this should work is you get rid of what was/is the selective sync options completely, make everything visible, and continue to have the right click>always available offline option.

  17. Gavin Groom

    I upgraded to the Fall Creators Update yesterday but my OneDrive app does not contain this feature.

  18. Stooks

    "Well, and waiting a bit: It will take a little while for the changes (not the files, the changes) to sync."

    Is 3 seconds "a little while"?

    I changed the setting, closed the setting dialog box, opened file explorer and there were all listed with the proper icon.

  19. zself

    This doesn't work for me. I have latest build. I get error installing OneDrive's latest app. The error code doesn't help.

    Build 1790 (16299.19)

    OneDrive installer error code 0x80070020

    • Siv

      In reply to zself:

      I did a clean install once the new ISOs were available and this works exactly as Paul describes on my version. There were some updates applied as soon as I got the new version updated so not sure if the OneDrive update was inamongst that?

  20. mortarm

    I have the OneDrive installed, but there is no icon in the TaskTray, not is there one under Show Hidden Icons. I checked Select Which Icons... and there's no OD icon there either. OneDrive runs fine as a separate app, but that's it. I do have the FCU.

    Any thoughts?