How to Set Up OneDrive Syncing in Windows 10

By Andy Rathbone

Windows 10 places OneDrive in every folder’s Navigation Pane, where it’s easily accessible. You can pick and choose which folders should live only on OneDrive, and which should also be mirrored — also known as synced — so they live on your computer, as well.

That can create a problem: Today’s smaller phones, tablets, and laptops don’t include much storage space. OneDrive, by contrast, can hold lots of files. Some smaller computers, usually tablets, don’t have enough room to keep a copy of everything you’ve packed away on OneDrive.

Synching files is Windows 10’s solution. The files that you choose to sync will be automatically updated between your computer and the cloud. On the cloud, your files serve as a backup, as well as a way for you to access them from your phone, tablet, or PC.

Files that arent synced live only on OneDrive. If you need them, you can access them by visiting OneDrive on the Internet, as I describe later in this section.

When you first click the OneDrive folder on a new PC, Windows makes you choose which files and folders should live only on OneDrive, and which should also live as copies on your PC.

To decide which OneDrive folders should live on both your PC and OneDrive, follow these steps:

  1. From the taskbar, click the File Explorer icon and click the OneDrive icon in the folder’s left edge.

    Since this is the first time you’ve set up OneDrive on the computer, OneDrive displays an opening screen.

  2. Click the opening screen’s Get Started button, and, if asked, sign in with your Microsoft account and password.

    Only Local account holders will need to sign in; Microsoft account holders already sign in when they sign into their user account.

    OneDrive asks if you want to change where your OneDrive files will be stored on your PC.

  3. If you want to change where to store your OneDrive files, click the Change button. Otherwise, click the Next button.

    If you’re using a desktop PC with plenty of storage space, just click the Next button. OneDrive will store all of your OneDrive files on your C drive, which normally has plenty of room.

    Small tablets, by contrast, contain very limited storage space. To add more storage, many tablet owners buy a memory card and slide it into their tablet’s memory slot. If you’ve bought and inserted a memory card into your tiny tablet, click this window’s Change button and tell OneDrive to save its files on your tablet’s memory card instead of the default C drive.

  4. Choose which folders to sync to your PC.

    OneDrive lists all of your OneDrive folders, shown here.

  • Select the files and folders you’d like to keep synced between your PC and OneDrive, then click the Next button.

    OneDrive gives you two options:

    • Sync All Files and Folders in my OneDrive: Unless you have a reason not to, select this option to keep all of your OneDrive files mirrored on your PC’s or tablet’s memory card. Most desktop PCs won’t have a problem with this option, and it’s the most trouble-free way to access OneDrive.

    • Sync Only These Folders: Select this option on tablets or PCs with very little storage. If you select this option, place a check mark next to the folders you want to remain both on your PC and OneDrive.

  • Click Done to save your changes.

    At the Fetch Your Files From Anywhere screen, click Done.

    Click Done to save your changes.
    Click Done to save your changes.
  • You don’t need to sync the same set of folders on each of your computers. For example, you can choose to sync only the essentials on your small tablet — perhaps just your photos. On a desktop PC with large storage, you can choose to sync everything.

    If you want to access a OneDrive folder that’s not synced on your PC, you have two options: Change OneDrive’s settings to sync that desired folder, or visit OneDrive on the Internet and access the file there.