Tutorial Windows: Automatically Save Files to OneDrive in Windows

OneDrive is Microsoft’s own cloud storage service, initially coming under the name of SkyDrive. It’s integrated in latest Windows iterations, and users have, by default, a generous amount of space to use. So why not save stuff there?

We’re not stating that cloud services provide the maximum level of security, since everything there travels on the world wide web. On the other hand, your computer’s security status is also at risk with an active Internet connection, which makes cloud services act as some more available space to store stuff, but with almost the same amount of risk.

Sure enough a solid debate can start on this topic, but you don’t get to format or break your cloud space so often as you do with your own computer, which can malfunction from external factors as well. Just as we learned earlier how to selectively synchronize folders with OneDrive, the following steps describe methods to have documents automatically saved there.

OneDrive as the default save location

SAVING THE DOCUMENTS FOLDER
Most computer applications and even the majority of video games save all data inside the Documents folder. Luckily, it can be synchronized with OneDrive so that progress is saved as you work, just so you have a backup in case unexpected errors or crashes occur.

Step 1: Open This PC / Computer.

Step 2: Make sure the Folders section is visible, because you need to configure them individually.

Step 3: Right-click the Documents folder to access the Properties.

Step 4: With the panel up, switch to the Location tab.

Step 5-a: Hit the Move button and select the OneDrive folder so that content is synchronized from now on.

Step 5-b: Edit the path field and add OneDrive after the user name so that the new target looks something like this:

Old Location C:UsersYOUR_USERDocuments
New Location C:UsersYOUR_USEROneDriveDocuments

Important Note: For some reason, when Microsoft decided to update SkyDrive to OneDrive, the default path of the cloud files on your hard disk drive still use a folder called SkyDrive. Just to make sure files are correctly updated, check what folder Windows uses to sync OneDrive content.

-> Open up OneDrive to have its content in plain sight for comparison.

-> Navigate to this location: C:UsersYOUR_USER

-> There are two folders you need to identify: OneDrive and SkyDrive.

-> Open up each to see if the content matches the actual stuff stored on the cloud service.

-> Now use the appropriate folder if you follow Step 5-b.

Note: Using Step 5-a to add the Documents folder automatically picks the right folder and you can see it there.

Hint: When selecting a folder with more subfolders, make sure to create a parent directory inside OneDrive as the main target, otherwise all subfolders and files from the Documents directory get placed in the root of OneDrive.

ADDING LIBRARIES TO OneDrive
You might want to know that not all folders can be managed the way the Documents folders can. Even the libraries require special attention, but it’s not such a big deal. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Bring up This PC / Computer and expand the Libraries folder in the left navigation pane for individual management of content.

Hint: If you can’t find the Libraries folder, click the View menu, and choose to Show Libraries from the Navigation Pane option.

Step 2: Right-click on a subfolder from the Libraries directory.

Step 3: Press the Add button and select OneDrive to Include Folder, or create a new one inside OneDrive for better management.

Step 4: Hit Apply and Ok to confirm all changes.

Note: Once you add another folder, it might not automatically be used as a save path. To do this, simply select the folder you added, and choose to Set Save Location. Don’t worry, content is saved locally, as well as synchronized with OneDrive.

Hint: You can’t just add the entire Libraries folder, so you need to repeat this process for every Library folder you want to save to OneDrive.

SET APPLICATION DEFAULT SAVE PATH
If an application doesn’t save stuff by default in the Documents folder you recently included in OneDrive, then it might be possible to look for an option to manually set the save destination. The following example is for Microsoft Office, but a lot of other applications allow this tweak.

Step 1: Open up the target application (in this case any Office component), and access the Options menu.

Step 2: Head over to the Save section from the left navigation pane.

Step 3: In the Save Documents section, hit the Browse button to change the Default Local File Location.

Step 4: Pick OneDrive directly or a custom folder inside.

On an ending note

It’s a neat idea that Microsoft gives you some free storage space to use, and it’s even better that you can set it as the default save destination for most of your files. Not only do you make sure important documents are kept safe in case something happens to your PC, but also enables you to grab them from anywhere as long as there’s an active Internet connection.

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