How to selectively sync OneDrive files to free up your disk space

Abhishek Baxi

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Recently, we learnt that OneDrive placeholders would return to Windows 10 as ‘On Demand Sync’. It will allow users to store a file offline or re-enable online sync. The advantage of these smart placeholders is that they do not consume the space as the original file, and you’d only need to sync if you need the file on your machine – else it sits pretty on your OneDrive cloud.

Till that happens, you can still selectively sync files on your Windows 10 PC and leave the folders you don’t need (the ones which you only need backed up) on the cloud. This is particularely useful for devices with limited storage, specially tablets.

Right-click the OneDrive icon on your taskbar, and select Settings from the menu that opens up. Select Choose folders under the Account tab.

OneDrive - Settings
OneDrive – Settings

In the window that opens next, clear the check boxes for any folders you don’t need offline, and then select OK.

Sync your OneDrive files to PC
Sync your OneDrive files to PC

Remember that the folders you clear won’t show up in File Explorer on this machine anymore (unlike the placeholders), but they’ll still be online at