There’s an interesting and useful feature with OneDrive (consumer), that is easy to overlook and that is how to remotely fetch files using OneDrive. You do this by checking the box that is found by right-clicking on the white OneDrive cloud icon.
Let’s look at how it works and why it could be useful.
Use OneDrive to Fetch Files on this PC
Since most of us are using Windows 10, the OneDrive app is already installed and if you use OneDrive, you’re probably already signed in and using it.
This feature is handy even if you don’t sync OneDrive files. This is because the fetch feature is for all the files on your computer that are not in OneDrive!
For those people who have a lot of files and perhaps not enough room to put them in OneDrive (there is a limit of 5 GB) per user unless you have a Home O365 subscription. As a result, you have to leave your files and folders in the My Documents Folder, or Music, Pictures, etc.
Then, with the Fetch feature, you can go to OneDrive on the web and over on the left, there’s a list of items that are hyperlinked. Select the ‘PCs’ link.
Here, you can see I have 2 computers (my desktop & laptop), that I’ve enabled the fetch feature on.
What You Need to know About Fetch (tech stuff)
- As mentioned, you have to go into the OneDrive settings (right-click on the white cloud in your system tray), and make sure fetch is enabled on each computer you want to access.
- The computer you want to access has to be on and awake. If you let your computers go to sleep after a certain time period, this won’t be very useful!
- The first time or two you try to access a computer, Microsoft may have you verify that it is you by sending an access code via email.
Here’s an example of what you’ll see. Folders are just a solid blue, but if you have pictures, you’ll see a nice thumbnail image of them. You may need to change the view to see the thumbnail.
Here’s how it looks with photos – a very detailed thumbnail – nice.
How to Handle Files that are Fetched
When you’ve located a file and you want to work on it,you have several choices. When you right-click on the file, you can choose to open, download, upload to OneDrive or add to an album. Nice.
Fetch is a nice feature to have, as long as the computers stay on. When I was looking at Fetch on my PCs, I noticed there were 4 computers listed, but they were computers I didn’t use anymore. If you click on a computer name and get a message that it’s not connected anymore, it’s probably safe to assume you can remove that computer.
On the image above where my PCs are listed, one is my desktop which I did rename and rebooted my computer, but it still hasn’t changed on the list. When I added my dell laptop, I changed the name to LynnDellLaptop before I added it and got the right name on my list.
If you’re going to be out of town and think you might need files not in OneDrive, make sure your computer never goes to sleep and then you’ll have anytime access to any file on that PC. Now you know how to remotely fetch files using OneDrive!