OneDrive for Business allows for storing files in the cloud for individual users and as a replacement for company file shares. As shown in the previous blog post, OneDrive for Business File Sharing, each individual on Office 365 has their own storage location. In addition, there can be multiple document libraries throughout the company. These may be associated with departments, Team Sites, Planners, etc. These files are available from the cloud from all types of devices.
However, up until now there have been only two options for accessing these files from a PC: load them from the cloud each time (which can be sluggish and the files are not available if the PC is not connected to the Internet) or synchronize the files to the local PC (as was also shown in the above blog post).
In other words, if I choose to synchronize the files from a ‘Document Library’, all the files are saved on your computer and I can easily access them from Windows Explorer.
Without Files On-Demand
Up until recently, this was an all or nothing situation. I could select which folders were synchronized through the OneDrive client. If items were not selected, they would not show up in Windows Explorer. If they were selected, they would be copied to the local machine. For a large library, this can be a large amount of data.
OneDrive Files On-Demand allows for me to see all of the folders and files but be able to select which folders and/or files are synchronized to my local machine. This is shown below.
Notice the checkmark and cloud icons in the status column. The checkmark indicates that those folders and files are saved on your computer. The cloud indicates that those folders and files are accessible but are saved from cloud storage on the internet. The entire directory structure can be navigated and all files and folders within the structure appear regardless of whether they are synchronized.
If one of the files with the cloud icon is opened, it is immediately downloaded and the status changes to a checkbox. Note the ‘Accountability Chart…’ file below.
In addition, the decision of whether or not to synchronize a file or folder on your machine can be set on individual items by right-clicking on the item. For example, to force the ‘Procedures and Documentation’ folder below to be synchronized at all times, right-click on the folder and select ‘Always keep on this device’.
Setting up Files On-Demand
There are two items that are required to enable Files On-Demand. The first is the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. For most individuals at this time you will find this in Windows Update and it can be installed from there.
The second item that is required is the new OneDrive client. In some cases, the Fall Creators Update did not load the new OneDrive client. If there is not a ‘Files On-Demand’ option in the ‘Settings’ tab of the OneDrive client, the new OneDrive client can be loaded from here. This location also has additional information on using Files On-Demand.