OneDrive - Another over complicated product from Microsoft?

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  1. Posts : 13
    Windows 7 Ultimate & Windows 10 Pro
       #1

    OneDrive - Another over complicated product from Microsoft?


    Over the weekend I setup my parents new Windows 10 desktop PC. Unfortunately, I had issues with OneDrive, possibly because I don't really understand what this product is trying to do, but more likely because Microsoft are trying to force users to purchase cloud storage. Regardless, it would be great to get some info on this product and how to best set it up.

    The new Dell PC has a 256GB SSD drive, onto which is installed Windows 10 Home, and a separate, empty 1TB hard drive. I wanted to ensure that my parents data was stored on the 1TB hard drive, not on the 256GB SSD, where it would be stored by default because this is where the Documents, Pictures etc. Windows libraries point.

    So, as I've done many times in the past, I created some new folders on the 1TB hard drive for Documents, Pictures, Downloads, Desktop etc. I then went to each of the Windows 10 libraries and used the Locations tab of each (on Properties) to Move the data and directory. To my surprised, I got an error (can't remember the exact text), but it was essentially telling me I couldn't re-point the libraries. Googling showed that OneDrive was the cause of this issue. When I checked, rather than each library having a location in my LOCAL User folder i.e. physically on the 256GB SSD drive, where Windows was installed, they were pointing at a OneDrive location!

    So, my understanding of this is that, by default, this install of Windows 10 is forcing all my data to be stored on OneDrive! Does this mean there is no local backup? If I don't have internet access, am I unable to access my data, because it is in the cloud?

    To overcome this restriction, I followed a Google forum explaining how to reset the registry entries for these libraries. Having done this, I noticed a) the default local folders were empty and b) the OneDrive "backup" folder contained all my data. This seems to confirm my thoughts that the data is not being "backed up", but stored on OneDrive. This is NOT how I believe OneDrive should be used; it should be used for backing up only, not for storing the source files! Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but this is just wrong of Microsoft to do this!

    I've now successfully changed the location of the libraries, so they now point to the new folders on my 1TB drive. I then physically "Moved" the data from the OneDrive folders to the folders on the 1TB drive. When I now click on the Windows libraries; Documents, Downloads, Pictures etc. I see all the data stored on the 1TB drive.

    So, job done, except that I would now like to use OneDrive to backup the new 1TB folders. My first attempt to do this ended up with the Windows libraries being re-mapped to OneDrive - as they were at the start, so undoing all my work. What is going on Microsoft?

    I've now got it setup correctly again, but I'm at a loss how to setup OneDrive to BACKUP the folders on the 1TB drive, rather than be the SOURCE of the data.

    I would like to understand what Microsoft OneDrive is doing and how best to set it up so it doesn't backup the original Documents, Downloads etc libraries, but instead backs up the new folders I have created on the 1TB drive.

    Thanks for any explanation/advice/help you can give.
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  2. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,058
    windows 10
       #2

    In the settings you can tell it were to backup from and it backs instantly. You didn't really need to mess it backs up to 15 gig of cloud storage and leaves a pointer on the drive to the files so they don't use any space when you click on a file it's restored from the cloud it syncs to all PC's the user logs into. If you have lots of photos you can use Google backup and sync and backup photos to unlimited free storage
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  3. Posts : 13
    Windows 7 Ultimate & Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #3

    Samuria said:
    In the settings you can tell it were to backup from and it backs instantly. You didn't really need to mess it backs up to 15 gig of cloud storage and leaves a pointer on the drive to the files so they don't use any space when you click on a file it's restored from the cloud it syncs to all PC's the user logs into. If you have lots of photos you can use Google backup and sync and backup photos to unlimited free storage
    Hi Samuria, thanks for responding.

    Not sure where you get 15GB from, but all the marketing I've seen suggests only 5GB is free (1TB for students), then you pay after that.

    Not that the amount of space is my concern. My issue is that I want to hold the "original" source copy of data on my own local 1TB hard drive and use OneDrive to back this up. (I say mine, but I'm talking about my parents!). You are suggesting, as I appear to have witnessed, that OneDrive becomes the "master" of the data and it is no longer stored on the local PC drive, which is what appeared to be happening to me when setting up my parents PC. I don't want that!

    I have OneDrive setup on my own Windows 10 Professional desktop and it works EXACTLY as I want it to. I have multiple SSD drives and my data is stored on one of them, not on the OS drive, so the standard Windows libraries all point to the physical storage location on my own local drive. I then have OneDrive setup to "backup" various important folders. This works perfectly and I've not seen any attempts by OneDrive to take "ownership" of my libraries or files - it simply backs them up into the cloud and the files still exist on my own local drives. I've been running Windows 10 Professional like this for a number of years now, so suspect, the issue with my parents PC is that a) it is running Windows Home, or b) Microsoft have changed the way in which OneDrive interacts or is installed by default.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ah, I've just realised that on my own PC I'm actually using Google Drive, not OneDrive, which probably explains why I've never had the issues I'm seeing on my parents desktop.

    I think the answer is for me to switch them to Google Drive, then I can configure the backup the way "I" want it to work, rather than the way "Microsoft" want's it to work for me!

    - - - Updated - - -

    So, having just read an article comparing OneDrive and Google Drive I think I now understand why OneDrive is working the way it is. The point of OneDrive is to "share" data, so whichever PC you login to with your own Microsoft credentials, the data will be available. This suggests that OneDrive data is therefore stored in the "Cloud" and not on my PC. I don't want this "sharing", I want data backup.

    Google Drive simply backs up specified folders into the cloud, so the PC continues to use the local data, but any changes are synced into the cloud. Exactly what I want.

    So, with OneDrive, if I don't have an internet connection, does that mean I can't access my data in the cloud, or does OneDrive automatically download all cloud data and store local copies of it (assuming it can get an internet connection to do this)?
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  4. Posts : 1,286
    X
       #4

    I tried One Drive a while back. It sucked.

    I switched to Google Drive. Easy, flawless, and it just works. You don't have to think about it.
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  5. f14tomcat's Avatar
    Posts : 53,175
    Multi-boot Windows 10 - RTM, RP, Beta, and Insider
       #5

    OneDrive is optional. You can just turn it off and be done with it. Any data in the Cloud will remain there until you sign in to your MS account online, go to your OneDrive and decide what to do with it. Any data locally on your machine when you turn OneDrive off will remain there. Not the pseudo links to the cloud, the actual data. Those would be folders/files you designated to store locally always.

    Then you are free to decide where to store your local data or pursue a different off-line backup.
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  6. kah
    Posts : 30
    Win10Pro
       #6

    Iím not sure what to tell the OP to do but I can tell you that I recently did the same thing without meaning to. Meaning I accidentally moved all Documents, Pictures and Desktop to OneDrive. I too had also moved the original paths of the Pics, Docs and Desktop when I first set the pc up to D which is a much bigger drive. I had also moved the location of Onedrive which may have been the one thing I should not have done but it was fine for months until it wasnít for some reason.

    In my case since Onedrive was on D and Iím a 365 subscriber with 1TB of Onedrive space I just left it and selected to keep all files on this device from the right click menu. So I have the local copy and the OneDrive copy which is again fine even though itís not what I originally intended. This is only an issue with large database files like quickbooks or similar that want to upload to Onedrive every time you make a change. I moved those somewhere else to avoid that and back them up to other directory in one drive separately during not using the pc times.

    I have another pc that I did the same on minus the moving OneDrive to D and itís working as I intended using OneDrive only for backup.

    Iím not sure what happened on the one that isnít right, and I was messing around with OneDrive settings right before it happened so maybe I accidentally changed something I did not want.

    Bottom line: you can use Onedrive for backup only but itís not the easiest thing to do. The OneDrive settings are too confusing, in particular ďSave space and download files as you use themĒ on the Settings tab which needs to be ticked even if you have only one file you want to use this feature for as far as I can tell. It reads like all your files will be moved to the cloud if you check this but it doesnít mean that as it is checked on my PC that is not all moved to cloud. The backup tab > manage backups needs tweaking as well and needs to have the option to choose only certain files and not the whole Document or Pictures directories.
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  7. pparks1's Avatar
    Posts : 1,695
    Windows 10 Pro
       #7

    milleniumaire said:
    When I checked, rather than each library having a location in my LOCAL User folder i.e. physically on the 256GB SSD drive, where Windows was installed, they were pointing at a OneDrive location!
    With OneDrive, you will typically have something like C:\users\user1\OneDrive\{Documents, Pictures, Desktop}. You can change the location of your OneDrive. I typically do this by right clicking on onedrive cloud in taskbar, unlinking, then click on your C:\users\user1\OneDrive folder , and within File Explorer go to Home tab and click on Move To and then choose a custom location for it. Once completed, you can launch onedrive again, put in your username and password and it will ask where you want your folder for onedrive. Just pick the location where you just moved files to.


    milleniumaire said:
    So, my understanding of this is that, by default, this install of Windows 10 is forcing all my data to be stored on OneDrive! Does this mean there is no local backup? If I don't have internet access, am I unable to access my data, because it is in the cloud?
    Well, sort of true. Any new files that you create in one drive would be stored in your C:\Onedrive (just using as an example). It's stored ON your hard drive, and its also synced to OneDrive. If you were attaching a new computer to an existing onedrive account, it doesn't by default move all of the files from OneDrive down to your C:\onedrive folder. This is based on a feature called "Files On-Demand" and you can turn it off and on in settings of OneDrive. The theory is that you could have say 100GB of stuff in OneDrive, but on a computer with a 256GB SSD, you might not really want 100GB of files copied locally and taking up space.
    OneDrive - Another over complicated product from Microsoft?-filesondemand.png

    So, if you uncheck that box hightlighted above, the files are copied locally. This means that they are Physically on your hard drive. Therefore meaning you do not need Internet access to access them. And what's in the cloud is a synced copy.

    You can see in the following picture that the text file hightlighted in yellow is on the hard drive and synced to OneDrive (Circle with the check). The pictures folder above had existed previously in OneDrive and is therefore NOT copied local to this computer as the box above was not unchecked. You can see the pictures folder just has a cloud icon, which notates it's currently just in the cloud and not on the local hard drive.
    OneDrive - Another over complicated product from Microsoft?-filesstoredlocally.png
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  8. Steve C's Avatar
    Posts : 6,290
    Windows 10 Pro 64 bit
       #8

    I only use OneDrive to share non-sensitive files between PCs and I only synch the smaller folders need on each PC - I use the OneDrive web access should I need to access the larger files. The syncing works fine. Backups of the PC and all personal files are done using Macrium Reflect on a scheduled backup.

    I get 30GB free OneDrive storage - 15GB as standard and another 15GB since i bought a Windows Phone (remember those?) about 5 years ago.
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  9. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 10,486
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux
       #9

    Hi folks

    These sort of Free "Mickey mouse" schemes of consumer grade cloud options are very unsatisfactory for the most part - Google drive though is better than most.

    If you want a sensible cloud system and your data is worth something then it's probably worth taking out a subscription to something like AZURE -- depending on what you select the system is likely to cost small domestic users as little as 20 USD a year for around 1 TB of storage (probably less depending on what you do) --- this type of cloud service is very highly protected and as Ms is making this one of its main corporate revenue earners as profits from Windows and Office falls you can't really go wrong with it.

    For some people using a NAS or other external storage for backups is perfectly OK but as in the case of the OP setting up sensible backup for some people is a pain if they aren't too computer literate. I'd advise therefore using Google Drive or AZURE instead -- I always uninstall One drive (or at least disable it) -- who ever designed that system shouldn't be allowed to use a computer again --EVER.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  10. f14tomcat's Avatar
    Posts : 53,175
    Multi-boot Windows 10 - RTM, RP, Beta, and Insider
       #10

    This is not intended to stir up a debate on any type of Cloud storage, but there may be a misconception of the purpose of OneDrive. It is not, and never was, intended to be a System backup tool. It was designed and implemented to be a file sharing service, nothing more. Sharing across any and all devices associated with the same MS account.

    Simple questions: What is OneDrive? Why should you use it? | Digital Citizen
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