How to Browse Files from the Surface Start Screen

By Andy Rathbone

Eventually, you’ll need to browse through some files with your Surface. For example, you may need to grab some files off of that flash drive you just inserted into the USB port. Or perhaps you want to find and view a photo stored on OneDrive.

When you need to access files stored in some computer crevice, turn to the OneDrive app. Despite its name, the OneDrive app lets you browse files stored on your Surface, as well as on OneDrive.

To browse files and folders without leaving your Surface’s Start screen, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start screen, tap the OneDrive app.

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    Press the Windows key to return to the Start screen, if needed, and then tap the OneDrive app. (Can’t find it? Open the Charms bar, tap Search, and type OneDrive. When the Search pane lists the OneDrive app, tap its name to bring it to the screen.)

  2. Choose whether you want to browse files on your PC or on OneDrive.

    The OneDrive app opens to show your folders and files stored on OneDrive, your storage space on the Internet. To see files stored on your Surface, tap the word OneDrive in the screen’s upper-left corner, and choose This PC from the drop-down menu.

    When you tap the words This PC, the app lists all the storage areas available on your Surface: your Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos folders, for example, as well as your Desktop and Downloads folder. (The Downloads folder contains all the files you download from websites.)

    The OneDrive app’s This PC section also lists places outside of your Surface. For example, you can access files shared on your homegroup from other networked PCs.

    If you’ve added a memory card, OneDrive lists it as “Secure Digital Storage Device.” Flash drives, by contrast, usually appear with the name “Removable Disk (D:)” or “Removable Disk (E:).”

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  3. Tap the folder or storage area you’d like to browse, or tap the file you’d like to open.

    When you tap a storage area, OneDrive displays all of that storage area’s folders and files.

    If you see your file’s name, tap it and you’re through: Your app opens it for action.

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    Tapped the wrong folder by mistake? Tap the Back arrow (shown in the margin) in the upper-right corner to return to the previous screen.

    If you don’t see your desired file, keep tapping folders, opening different ones to keep looking.

Still can’t find your file? Summon the Charms bar and tap the Search icon. The Windows Search feature can find your file fairly quickly. After you find it, remember its location so you can return to it with OneDrive.