Office 365 / OneDrive for Business / SharePoint Online

First look at OneDrive Files On-Demand

OneDrive Files On-Demand is the most requested feature for OneDrive on UserVoice and last month Microsoft finally announced OneDrive Files On-Demand. Since two weeks you can give OneDrive Files On-Demand a try when using Windows 10 Insider build 16215 or later, so lets have a look at the new feature!

When you install the required Windows Preview build, the OneDrive sync client is updated to a new version, 17.3.6931.0609 (but installing this version on your ‘normal’ build won`t give you the new feature). If you are already signed on to OneDrive, click on the OneDrive icon in the taskbar and you are asked to turn on Files On-Demand. When it is your first time sign on to OneDrive, it is asked after completing the sign on process.

Let`s first have a look at the properties of the OneDrive folder. As we can see the folder contains 89.7GB of content, but takes only a few KB of storage on the local disk.

When we open File Explorer and browse to the OneDrive or SharePoint folder we see a few new status icons. The green circle with white check mark is for the “always available” files, the white circle with green check mark is for the “locally available” files and the cloud icon is for the “online-only” files.

All your files are at first online-only, when you switch on Files On-Demand. When you open a file, the file is downloaded to your computer and becomes a locally available file. You are able to make your changes to the file which are uploaded to OneDrive or SharePoint. When you need access to a file even when you are not connected to the internet, you can make that file (or the whole folder) available offline by right clicking the file or folder and choose “Always keep on this device”. The file is synced to your computer like it was before without Files On-Demand and is always available, even when you don`t have a internet connection.

When you don`t need a file locally synced anymore, you can right click the file and choose “Free up space”. The file is removed from the local computer and becomes an online-only file again.

It is also possible to hide folders you don`t need to access from File Explorer. Open the settings from OneDrive, click on Choose Folders and uncheck the folders you don`t want to see in File Explorer.

In the short time I tested OneDrive Files On-Demand, it works as expected and I have not seen any issues. I`m looking forward to the public release of this new feature. I think it makes working with (large) SharePoint libraries from File Explorer much more accessible for a lot of users.

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