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. 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, or use space on external drives 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.
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.
Confirm that you want to move all files contained in the old OneDrive folder to the new location.
After the move has completed, check whether all files safely arrived in the new location. The folder should look like the one depicted below.
Now you can go back to the old location and delete the now empty OneDrive folder.
Customize Sync Settings
OneDrive doesn’t automatically sync all the files you’re storing in the Cloud 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There’s a slim chance you’re not at all satisfied with OneDrive. You might be self-hosting files in the Cloud. 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
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!