5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1

Tina Sieber 23-05-2014

OneDrive, formerly known as SkyDrive, can be a blessing or a curse. It’s deeply integrated into Windows 8.1 and offers itself to become your one stop for Cloud storage and syncing across multiple devices How to Use Your Windows 8 PC Anywhere - Without Taking It With You! Imagine your files, settings, and apps followed you everywhere. In Windows 8 that's possible and we will show you how it works. Read More . If everything is set up right, you can log into Windows 8 from any given device and find that your files, settings, and apps are already there.


Now let’s see how you can improve that experience, which in some cases — if you think cloud-based syncing is creepy — might actually mean disabling OneDrive altogether.

Move OneDrive Folder

Changing OneDrive’s default location is easy and has many advantages. You can free up space on your system drive, reduce read/write operations that cause wear on your SSD 3 Top Tips To Maintain Performance & Extend The Life Of Your SSD For years, standard hard drives have been the speed limiting factor in overall system responsiveness. While hard drive size, RAM capacity, and CPU speed have grown almost exponentially, the spinning speed of a hard drive,... Read More , or use space on external drives How To Increase Storage Space On Windows 8.1 Devices With SD Cards Windows 8.1 devices, even the tablets, are full PCs and often support SD cards. They are great for storing libraries, downloads, and SkyDrive files externally. We'll show you how to best use the extra storage. Read More more efficiently.

Per default, Microsoft’s cloud storage utility resides on the C: drive. To move it to another partition or an external drive, open the Windows File Explorer (there’s a shortuct in your Taskbar) and find OneDrive in the left-hand menu. Right-click it and select Properties.

OneDrive Properties

In the Properties window, switch to the Location tab, select Move… and pick your preferred location. Note that only the content of your old OneDrive folder will be moved, not the folder itself. So create a folder called OneDrive if that is your desired destination. Then click OK.


Move OneDrive Location

Confirm that you want to move all files contained in the old OneDrive folder to the new location.

Move OneDrive Folder

After the move has completed, check whether all files safely arrived in the new location. The folder should look like the one depicted below.


Move OneDrive New Location

Now you can go back to the old location and delete the now empty OneDrive folder.

Move OneDrive Old Location

Customize Sync Settings

OneDrive doesn’t automatically sync all the files you’re storing in the Cloud How To Keep Your Files Synced With SkyDrive In Windows 8.1 Storing data remotely and syncing them across devices has never been so easy, especially if you're using Windows 8.1. SkyDrive received a significant update, improving its integration with Windows and adding interesting new features. Read More to your local drive. What you see in your local OneDrive folder are often “smart files”; you could also call them “ghost files”. They’re smart because they save you space. Instead of taking up disk space all the time, only files you want to open are downloaded from the Cloud. The drawback is that you won’t have access those files when you’re offline, for example while traveling.


Here is a simple trick to make sure important files are always available to you. Open the OneDrive folder on your computer, right-click a folder you need to be able to access anytime, and select Make available offline. That’s it.

Make Available Offline

If you need a copy of all your files on your local drive, go to the OneDrive app, open the right-hand menu, go to Settings, then Options, and set Access all files offline to On.

OneDrive Access Files


Turn on Camera Backup & Earn 3GB Storage Space

OneDrive offers a the Camera Roll feature for backing up images and videos to the Cloud. Search for Camera Roll via the Charms bar to get directly to its settings. Per default, uploads are turned off. You can choose to upload photos in good quality to save storage space or best quality if you want to back up your photos. Uploading videos to OneDrive is a separate option.

OneDrive Camera Roll

Note that OneDrive will fetch images and videos from your Pictures and Videos libraries only. You can move these folders the same way you can move OneDrive via the File Explorer (see above).

OneDrive can also back up photos and videos from your mobile devices. You can even earn 3GB of free online storage space if you install a OneDrive mobile app (e.g. for iOS, Android, or Windows Phone 8) and enable the Camera backup feature.

OneDrive Camera Backup

Use OneDrive as Default Save to Location

Did you manage to grab extra storage space when Microsoft officially renamed SkyDrive to OneDrive? If you’re still wondering what to do with the extra space, how about using it as a backup location? Or maybe you’d like to sync all your files across multiple Windows 8 devices? For this to happen, you would want to have Windows 8 save all files to OneDrive per default.

Setting this up is slightly tedious. Fortunately, our own Chris Hoffman has laid out the process of pointing everything to OneDrive in an article on HowToGeek.

Disable OneDrive

There’s a slim chance you’re not at all satisfied with OneDrive. You might be self-hosting files in the Cloud Who Needs Dropbox and SkyDrive? Host Your Own Files With FTPbox If you had a million dollars, would you rather store it in a safe at someone's house or at your own place. Why wouldn't you want to control your own data like assets? Read More . Or maybe you only have a single Windows 8 machine and don’t feel comfortable with storing copies of your personal files in the Cloud. All you want is to disable OneDrive.

Although OneDrive has become an integral part of Windows 8, it can be disabled via the Group Policy Editor. That sounds more complicated than it is, but we have prepared a step-by-step explanation just to be sure: How To Disable OneDrive In Windows 8.1 Pro How to Disable OneDrive with Just a Few Clicks Microsoft OneDrive is baked into Windows 10 and it can be a drag on your system resources. Fortunately, it's easy to disable or remove. Here are several methods for removing OneDrive from your computer. Read More

Disable OneDrive

If you’re not running Windows 8.1 Pro, you can try the REG file provided by Eight Forums.

Do You Make Use Of OneDrive?

What’s your take on OneDrive? Do you think it is well integrated, lacking features, or do you find it too intrusive? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

Related topics: Cloud Storage, Microsoft OneDrive, Windows 8.

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  1. Maestrogarry
    June 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    I used KrojamSoft SyncFile for synchronising files. Its a simple and best software for synchronising.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 7, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      You should also have mentioned that it costs 20 bucks. WOT commenters even call it a scam. Beware!

  2. Daniel
    April 2, 2016 at 10:41 am

    It does not sync folders offline AUTOMATICALLY on my iPhone, so it is no use for me.
    I can't go to each file one by one on my iPhone to make sure they are available online, it is a great waste of time and plain stupid.

    • Chris
      August 23, 2016 at 8:37 am

      then you can tick the "all folders" box at the top of the list and all folders will sync...

  3. ed
    February 1, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    It seems to me all my games are tied to onedrive some how and when i moved or delete to make room in onedrive because it said it was full all my info was gone hours of time spent setting up UI and other mods all gone agine!!!

  4. Aravind
    December 22, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    I couldn't able to move my one drive folder. I am using windows 10. Will you help me ?

    • Octo Podi
      July 19, 2017 at 2:34 am

      Valid point.
      Got a response, Tina - or an update?

  5. Peter
    May 11, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Interesting post.

    However, does OneDrive recvognise my Lumia settings for the camera roll to be stored on an SD card rather than the main phone memory?

    I don't seem to be getting any synchronisation after setting up OneDrive on PC and Lumia.

  6. E. Bush
    April 27, 2015 at 5:39 am

    Does either Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Business monitor folders or libraries automatically that are not specifically moved to the OneDrive library. I know in Windows 8.1 that camera photos are monitored and automatically uploaded. Some ads insinuate that anything added to My Documents are monitored and uploaded. I switched from DropBox to OneDrive so I could decide which files are available offline. Did I lose the ability to say which folders/files are included?

    • Tina
      April 27, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Only folders inside your OneDrive folder are synced to your online OneDrive library.

      You can sync additional folders using symbolic links.

  7. Evan
    April 26, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    Tina, is there anyway to pause / start the sync of my OneDrive?

    • Anonymous
      August 4, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Evan, here's a link to an article explaining how you can pause / start the OneDrive Sync: [Broken Link Removed]

  8. becca
    April 6, 2015 at 3:31 am

    hello. thanks everyone for the information. I have a new wind8.1 computer and decided to take advantage of the 1TB of storage on onedrive and so moved all my photos and videos to onedrive. though it seems it can't upload files which are too big. i realised we don't have enough data on our internet plan to upload them all anyway, so i want to stop this sync. There are over 2 thousand files (photos and videos) which are still showing in the uploads folder (where it lists Actions in Progress), but it doesn't seem to give me any options to resume or remove them from syncing, or delete, or any other options for that matter. it just states "uploading - 0% complete". i would like to discontinue the upload. thanks in advance if anyone can help.

  9. Patricia
    April 1, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Thank you for the article. I learned more today than many trips to ask questions. :) Can you please tell me how to set sync on a timer so it only happens between midnight and 4 am? I am using a new internet provider and have a limit on data. free time is that window. THANKS

    • Tina
      April 2, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Glad you found this article useful, Patricia.

      AFAIK, OneDrive currently doesn't offer a timed sync feature. However, OneDrive will only sync, when the app is running.

      I would suggest to not run the app, unless you want it to sync.

      Go into OneDrive settings (right-click icon in notifications area / system tray), in the Settings tab remove the checkmark for "Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows". That way, OneDrive won't be able to sync, unless you start the app.

      Then use Windows Task Scheduler to set up a scheduled task to launch OneDrive at midnight every day. Your computer needs to be turned on for this to work. Alternatively, you could schedule your computer to boot just before OneDrive is supposed to run.

  10. alan jacob
    March 26, 2015 at 9:48 am

    will this onedrive work like filestream

    can i upload videos from a link from torrent

  11. Ed Holdren
    March 18, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Thanks for the very well written concise article. I don't see pieces like this very often.

    • Tina
      April 2, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Thank you for the praise, Ed!

  12. Gareth
    March 6, 2015 at 9:29 am

    There is option to pause sync available in the notification area at the bottom of the screen, clicking the OneDrive icon. Is that any help?

  13. Tim
    February 6, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Windows 8.1 is the worst thing to happen to computing since Vista. Clunky, badly laid out, slow and user hostile. An absolute disaster. OneDrive has slowed my computer down to the point that it's embarrassing to be with clients. With Windows 7 and SkyDrive everything worked brilliantly - so why go and wreck it? Is there anyway that I can sync at the end of a session instead of waiting 5 - 10 minutes for files to sync the whole time? Thanks

  14. david
    January 30, 2015 at 10:02 am

    the most annoying thing about one drive is that i can't go through and delete the photos that i don't want, without them automatically re-syncing from my phone. so any bad pictures i take, which is the majority of them, i have to delete twice

    • Octo Podi
      July 19, 2017 at 2:38 am

      Yep, in July '17 that still seems to be the case. :(

  15. Roman
    January 28, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I would rather see an option so that I can save the files locally first, and then sync them to the cloud second. That way I everything would be local for quick access (like we are all used to prior to the cloud). And if I could do this, we would need this enormously giant officefilecache folder that apparently holds a second copy (among other things) of the files that I already have on my computer. To be clear: I don't really want to work from the cloud; I just want to use the cloud as my backup.

  16. jess
    November 14, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    How do u remove photos that I deleted and put in the recycle bin?? I can still see them in the recycle bin

    • Tina
      November 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      Have you tried to empty the recycle bin?

  17. Anders
    September 10, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    After disabling standard OneDrive app I use an alternative client called SyncDriver from here

    • michel
      October 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      Could you tell us how this is better? I went to the webpage, but I don't see any advantage.

    • Anders
      October 13, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      No need for use the same account you logged in to Windows 8.1. It is quite critical for me.

  18. JohnB
    August 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Of all my systems OneDrive works best on an old Windows 7 system. Under Windows 8.1 OneDrive reloads at least once a day. Further, the assumption by Microsoft that I want all cloud folders visible on a local system is flawed - under Windows 7 I make the decision which folders are visible locally - I have archive folders that I don't want visible locally and that are relatively large that I don't want to allocate space locally (even if they are only "smart folders" they do take up space) - let me manage my systems!

  19. antman
    May 27, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Thank you sexy. These are some great pointers. Like someone else said, I wish to use Onedrive modern app without linking my MS account to Windows 8. Microsoft needs to change this behavior.

  20. Dale
    May 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    My biggest gripe with OneDrive is the requirement to be logged in to a specific account on my 8.1 laptop, in order to access OneDrive.

    If there is a way to use OneDrive like other cloud storage systems, via login credential on a webpage, I'd be eager to hear about that.

  21. Ian
    May 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Some great tips and info here but one point I want to question, Have you actually tried to delete the original folder location? even with admin rights will full permission? I tried then ran the net user command prompt and tried again and failed, as you later commented that the drive was an integral part of the O/S you failed to comprehend that admin rights over any file is a variable the UAC controls the level of of privilege that is not continuous, disabling the prompts won't help either.
    Small point.
    live with the security and ignore the folder!

    • Tina S
      May 24, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Thank you for your comment, Ian.

      I did delete the original folder after moving OneDrive to its new location as described above. I just checked again and the OneDrive folder is no longer there. This was on Windows 8.1 with the most recent updates installed and OneDrive moved to a second partition.