OneDrive Files On-Demand Icons

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I love the OneDrive files on-demand feature included as part of the Windows 10 Fall Creators update.

[Update July 10, 2019] Included explanation of Storage Sense for Windows 10 and how it relates to offline files

I don’t usually write about Windows 10 features, but because the OneDrive sync client is used for OneDrive and SharePoint library syncing and is used extensively by end-users (which is what I usually do write about), I thought it was relevant. This Fall Creators update feature is a great usability and performance boost because it means an entire library/folder doesn’t need to be synced to local storage. This is something particularly important for those large SharePoint document libraries end-users may be trying to sync – I’ve seen a few.

This new feature plays in nicely with my typical Office 365 Adoption focus. Since this is a departure from the previous OneDrive client end-users are used to working with where everything was synced and stored locally, it is important to ensure the new status icons are understood by them so they can continue to work with their files whether or not they have an internet connection. You don’t want them thinking a file will be available offline and then realizing too late it has not been synced.

This is an excellent example of content to for an Office 365 Adoption Resource Centre in your organization. You do have one right? 😉

Status Icons

These icons let you know whether files are available only online or offline. Here are 3 files with each of the status icons:

Files on-demand status icons


greencheckIf you’ve selected the ‘Always keep on this device’ option for a file, you’ll see this icon. These files use local storage space on that device and are NOT affected if you have Storage Sense (see below) turned on.

whitecheckThese files are available offline, you can open them without an internet connection, and they’re taking up local storage space. These files may become “online only” if you have Storage Sense (see below) turned on.

cloudiconboxThis file is only available when connected to the internet and doesn’t use any local storage. You’ll need to double-click the file to finish its download.


Storage Sense for Windows 10

This feature, when enabled, can automatically free up disk space by making older, unused, locally available OneDrive files available online-only. It can either run whenever your device is low on storage or you can set the time period you want this to be checked on. This is what differentiates the files always kept on your device (solid green icon) from the files available offline (green checkmark on white background).

Link: OneDrive Files On-Demand and Storage Sense for Windows 10

Force it Online or OfflineALwayskeeponthisdevicemenu

You can always force a file to consume local storage by selecting the ‘Always keep on this device’ file menu option.

Conversely, you can free up local storage so the file is only stored in the cloud by selecting the ‘Free up space’ menu option directly below it.

If you have Storage Sense enabled and configured, it can also prevent any local storage issues.

Thanks for reading.


Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash


    1. Hi Thomas,
      The key difference between the 2 is the ‘Windows 10 Storage Sense’ feature (if enabled) runs against ONLY the ‘Available Offline’ files and NOT the ‘Always keep on this device’ files. I’ll update the post (with that detail).
      Hope that helps.

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