Windows 10

Configure OneDrive usage

After it is configured, OneDrive can provide you with a reliable and robust service that is very economical to use. Across the world, millions of users access OneDrive, and for many users this is their first experience of the cloud. Users can use the web portal interface or the OneDrive app and work seamlessly between both.

As a cloud service, OneDrive might become unavailable, but this is rare. The underlying backend infrastructure is designed to withstand multiple levels of failure and resiliency; often, any connection glitches will be local to the user rather than at the data center.

This section reviews how to perform some tasks in OneDrive to ensure that you can access your files and share them easily.

Share files with OneDrive

By default, three folders are created on a newly configured OneDrive account: Documents, Pictures, and Public. For the Documents and Pictures folders, sharing is turned off by default, and you are the only one who can access the content. To share a file or folder, you configure the share permissions so that they become publicly accessible. This can be easily achieved by moving, copying, or creating files or folders in the Public folder. The Public folder has the default share permissions of View for Everyone, which means anybody can see the contents, but they cannot edit any documents in that folder.

When you create a new file or folder in OneDrive, you can choose how you want to share it; the default share permission is Can Edit. If you right-click the folder, or select it and click Share, you can generate a URL link to send to someone, or OneDrive can email them the link for you. You can modify the share permission and include a personal message to accompany the shared link.

If you click the Manage Permissions link, the right pane appears, and you can use this to add descriptions to your resources, invite individuals or groups, and modify share permissions.

Sharing is limited to granting view (read-only) permission or edit permission. You remain the owner of your files and can control who has access to your files.

For files that you want to share with a larger audience, for example, an Excel survey, you can also publish a link to an item directly to social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Sina Weibo.

To stop sharing or modify permissions, select the shared item and, in the right pane, click the drop-down Can Edit button under the user account and then click Stop Sharing.

Recover files from OneDrive

From File Explorer, you can use the Recycle Bin to recover deleted files. OneDrive offers the same functionality and because the OneDrive service is synchronized through the OneDrive app, you can continue to use Recycle Bin in File Explorer; your deleted OneDrive files will be waiting to be recovered.

If you realize immediately that a file or folder has been deleted accidently when you are online, you can use the Undo feature from the OneDrive web portal.

The Undo feature works in a fashion similar to the one in an Office document in that if you delete an object in OneDrive by selecting Delete on the context menu, you see an option to Undo the operation. Click the Undo button to restore the deleted file immediately.

Note: Disappearing Undo
After deletion, the Undo option remains visible for approximately 10 seconds only. After this time, the message automatically closes, and you must restore it from the Recycle Bin folder.

Recycle Bin offers similar functionality to that found in File Explorer. Click Recycle Bin in OneDrive and you see that files that have been deleted are listed in alphabetical order. You can sort the Recycle Bin items by name, original location, date deleted, and size. Select the items you want to restore and then click the Restore button. If all the files in Recycle Bin require restoring, you can use Restore All Items.

If you click Delete while you have selected files or folders in the Recycle Bin, the items will be permanently deleted.

OneDrive and Windows 10 synchronize the Recycle Bin entries that relate to the OneDrive folder on the PC and deletions online. Recycle Bin stores items for a minimum of three days and up to a maximum of 90 days, with the default capacity of the Recycle Bin set to 10 percent of the total storage limit.

When the online Recycle Bin becomes full, old files that are less than 90 days old are also deleted to make room for new items.

Block access to OneDrive

In an enterprise environment, you might want to prevent your users from accessing OneDrive from domain-enrolled devices. Because you cannot implement policies to restrict or control what data is copied to or from OneDrive, a possible solution is to block all OneDrive access. This can be accomplished by using Group Policy and can be implemented at the domain level or on individual devices as follows.

  1. Type gpedit.msc to open the Local Group Policy Editor.
  2. Navigate to the Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\OneDrive node.
  3. Enable the Prevent The Usage Of OneDrive For File Storage policy setting.

When applied, this Group Policy setting prevents the user from starting the OneDrive app, and they receive a notification that the use of OneDrive has been blocked. In addition to blocking the app, consider also restricting access to the OneDrive web portal by adding the URL to the block list on your organizational firewall. This would also prevent access from all devices, including users' personal devices.

OneDrive synchronization

The OneDrive synchronization client provided with Windows 10 enables OneDrive users to choose specific folders to sync to the desktop. In this way, you can select only the content that you want to be available on specific devices instead of syncing an entire library of files.

One feature that was available with Windows 8.1 and early preview releases of Windows 10 is called File Placeholders. This feature enables File Explorer to display the full contents of a OneDrive data store without actually syncing all those files. That feature was removed from Windows 10 in a preview release in late 2014; Microsoft explained that the feature caused too many problems in usability and reliability. The OneDrive development team says this capability (or its equivalent) will return in a future release of the sync client.

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