onedrive files on demand poster

OneDrive Files On Demand

The SharePoint Virtual Summit (held May 16th), contained some important news about changes coming to OneDrive OneDriveFor Business and Consumer. The biggest announcement was the introduction of OneDrive Files On Demand – the long awaited Placeholders update/replacement.

We’ll focus here on the OneDrive and SharePoint news. If you want a recap on the entire Virtual SharePoint Summit, here you go.

OneDrive Files On Demand

“OneDrive files on demand is the way anyone can see, access and open their files from their desktop – and not actually have that file stored locally on their hard drive.”

OneDrive new icons
image courtesy Microsoft

How does that differ from what you have now – selective sync? With selective sync, you choose which folders and files you want to sync to your computer or device(s). Then when you look in Windows Explorer or Finder (for Mac), you see only the documents you’ve chosen to sync.

With OneDrive files on demand, you will see all your folders and files from within Windows Explorer or Finder, but you actually won’t have to have any of them on your local computer.

You’ll be able to tell which are local and which are cloud by the icon. Of course, you will need an internet connection to take advantage of this feature. So keep that in mind as you decide which files you want to sync.

The three OneDrive sync icons are:

Green check mark – stored on your computer
Cloud – stored in the cloud
Green check with filled green circle – currently syncing to your computer

Choosing Which OneDrive On Demand Files Are Synced To Your Computer

Here’s a potential drawback to OneDrive Files On Demand and that is how the roll-out will handle everyone’s current setup of their ODFB, OneDrive consumer and even SharePoint sites.

The way things look now from the videos I’ve seen, all of our files/folders will appear with the cloud icon (meaning they are in the cloud). If you choose to keep a file permanently on your local computer, you’ll need to right-click on it and choose ‘Always keep on device’.

onedrive - always keep files on computer
image courtesy Microsoft


Will we all have to start over to choose which files we want synced locally because the One Drive On Demand implementation places all the cloud icons in everyone’s Windows Explorer? Or will the roll-out ‘magically’ look at our current setups and files currently synced to our hard drives will be synced during the roll-out?

I asked Richard Hay, a podcaster and writer on Windows and he said he couldn’t tell in the videos, but he thinks we’re going to see everything and will have to select the files by right-clicking. If that’s the case, I certainly hope we can hold down the shift key and select multiple files, otherwise, this could be a time-consuming chore. Not happy about this.

When Will OneDrive Files On Demand be available?

It’ll be released in the fall Creator’s Update. However, if you are in the Windows Insider Program, it will be rolled out soon.

Here’s a 6″ video that demos how the OneDrive Files on Demand and sharing of files and folders works.

The New Sharing Experience in OneDrive and SharePoint

The big news in sharing is that now we’ll be able to share files and folders with people inside and outside our organization from Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder!

OneDrive sharing command for Mac computers
Mac sharing- image courtesy Microsoft

Here are the sharing highlights:

  • The sharing experience is the same whether you’re in the cloud or on your desktop
  • No sign-in or Microsoft account is necessary (dependent on which type of sharing is chosen)
  • Ability to share with a group or with just specific people
  • Ability to select if people can only view or view and edit
  • Sharing of folders along with files!
  • Ability to see who we are sharing with by right-clicking on files
  • Able to set an expiration date to stop sharing
  • Able to instantly stop sharing
  • Although you can’t prevent people from forwarding links, those links will not work for those they forward to!
  • For Admins, they will have greater controls over who can share file links externally


One thing we can count on from Microsoft and that is change. The pace has been and most likely will continue to be on a fast track.


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