Those Aren’t the Files You Are Looking For…

Jody Whitlock

    Sorry that it’s been a while since I actually posted anything, like a very long while. I hope to change that, and with that I’m going to post about a feature that I miss from the “old days”; On-Demand Files with OneDrive.

    Microsoft announced that with the Fall Creators Update for Windows 10, a new OneDrive client will be available with a “new” feature called Files On-Demand. This really isn’t a new feature but rather a comeback of an old feature that was removed for some inexplicable reason.

    So what is this Files On-Demand that I speak of? Well, if you have an Office365 Home account like I do, you get 1TB of OneDrive storage. Now, to make life a little easier, I have my Documents and Downloads folders redirected to OneDrive so that I have an offsite copy whenever I may need it. Plus, OneDrive has it’s own versioning system for files, so that makes this a solid solution overall. With this I have almost 500GB of data stored out there, in the form of documents, OneNote materials, downloads, etc, and I don’t really want all of this to always be on my local system. Plus, I like to have SSD drives in my laptops and PC’s, and so I’m not breaking the bank I usually stick with around a 250GB drive.

    Now we start seeing the issues, I’ve had to get creative with the syncing and usage of OneDrive so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on larger drives just to have easy access. Well, now, that is no longer the case because OneDrive can now manage what is on the local system and what is only in the cloud based on the last time you access the file. The nice part is that everything still shows in Windows Explorer so you don’t have to really think about what’s local and what’s not.

    Each file or folder will have an additional “Status” column that has new symbols in them. The pictures below are from the Microsoft documentation, but at this time they are not completely accurate as the icons, such as the circle and the cloud, are in a column by themselves and not on the actual file or folder.

 

Icon

Description

Internet Access Required to Open

The file or folder is currently only in the cloud. Opening the file will first sync it down then open it in one step. In this state the file and folder names are searchable but not the contents.

Yes

This file or folder is available locally; it has already been synced down. Local changes are pushed to the cloud when available. Changes on other devices are automatically synced down.

No

The file or folder is always available locally and changes are pushed up to the cloud when available. Changes on other devices are automatically synced down.

No

 

    Now what’s very interesting and nice is that in order to ensure data integrity OneDrive manages the locking state of the files so that two people can’t make changes to the same file simultaneously. For enterprise users that have file shares and SharePoint this is familiar; but SMB and home users may not have had this before and it’s a very nice addition to have.

    All in all I’m glad that Microsoft both listened to user feedback and came to their senses by bringing Files On-Demand back. With the other cloud enabled features of Windows 10Microsoft is truest moving the desktop experience into a true delivered service, making the device in which Windows 10 is running on a commodity device. Folder Redirection into OneDrive is a further step I take, one in which I hope Microsoft natively integrates into Windows. This would make the Microsoft experience the same for the user no matter where they are or on what device they sign into.