Does OneDrive Store Files Locally?

OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service, stores files on cloud and offers users the convenience of accessing their files from device at any time with an available internet connection. However, many users, especially those using OneDrive Desktop App, feel confused about whether OneDrive stores files locally on their devices.  Let's find out the answer to this question in the following content.

When you upload new files to OneDrive, they are stored in the cloud, meaning they reside on Microsoft's servers rather than on your local device. Besides, OneDrive employs a sync mechanism to ensure that your files are accessible across all your devices that are linked to the same OneDrive account.  That's to say, when you save a file to your OneDrive folder on one device, it automatically syncs with the cloud and available on all your other devices.

Google Drive Offline Work
OneDrive Offline Work

Does OneDrive Use Local Storage?

Moreover, OneDrive offers application for Windows and Mac users. When you download and install OneDrive desktop app on your compute, you can sync files between your computer and the cloud, and access cloud files directly on your local hard drive. If you enble the "Always keep on this device" option for all files in OneDrive folder, they will be available on your computer whilst offline. Once the option is chosen, the file or folder will display a dark green tick. That implies these always available files download to your device and take up disk space.

How to Save Disk Space with OneDrive Files On-Demand

Downloading all OneDrive files to local and make them available even offline will take up a certain amount of disk space. If your local hard drive is almost full, and you are eager to save as much local space as possible, you can make use of a feature called "Files On-Demand"  (Windows users). With this feature enabled, you’ll see all your files as online-only files in File Explorer, but they won't take up space until you click and download them to your device. 

To enable OneDrive Files On-Demand to free up drive space, you can:

  • Right-click a file or folder in OneDrive Folder from Windows File Explorer.

  • Select Free up space.


  • New files or folders created online or on another device appear as online-only to save maximum space. However, if you mark a folder as "Always keep on this device," new files in that folder download to your device as always available files.

  • If a folder is online-only, you can still mark individual files within that folder as always available.

  • Only files that are marked as "Always keep on this device," can be searched out using the desktop search funtion. The online-only files cannot be search because they are not saved on the device. 


Q: Can I choose which files to store locally on my device with OneDrive?

A: Yes, in OneDrive, you can choose not to sync store all files on your local device, especially when the local disk space is not enough. To make some certain files store locally while other stay online, you just need to mark them as "Always keep on this device," , which make them available offline. This feature is especially useful for files that you frequently access or need even when the internet connection is not available.

Q: How much storage space does OneDrive use on my device?

A: There is no an exact or precise number. That depends on several factors, including the size and number of files you choose to keep locally. 

Q: Can I access OneDrive files offline?

A: To access OneDrive files offline even if your computer is not connected to internet, you can mark specific files or folders as "Always keep on this device." Then, they will be stored locally and are accessible without an internet connection, just like you access other files saved in your computer.

Want to manage multiple OneDrive on one computer? MultCloud is a great assistant. It can connect up to 30 cloud drives into one platform and manage togeter.

  • Cloud Transfer: Move one cloud data to another without download and re-upload.
  • Cloud SyncSync data across clouds seamlessly in real time.
  • Cloud Backup: Dynamically backup and restore files between clouds.
  • Automatic: Set up a schedule to make task automatically run as preferred.
  • Offline: Transfer, sync or backup cloud data online without going through local.
  • Efficient:  Access and manage all your clouds with a single login.
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