Dropbox brings their version of placeholders to Windows and Mac with Project Infinite

Laurent Giret

While the Windows 10 Anniversary update is expected to introduce a solid set of new features to Windows 10 devices in the summer, there is probably one deprecated Windows 8.1 feature that Windows 10 users may be missing right now: OneDrive file and folder placeholders in the Windows File Explorer. If you’re a Windows veteran, you may remember that Windows 8.1 placeholders are KB size markers for files stored in OneDrive, which are also manageable like native files to easily move and download items to and from OneDrive in the cloud.

Back in January 2015, Microsoft explained that the switch from three different sync engines in Windows 8.1 to just one in Windows 10 forced the company to drop the feature. However, head of Microsoft’s SharePoint and OneDrive businesses Jeff Teper shared in December that the OneDrive team was working with the Windows team to find a solution that scales as well as fundamentally re-works file integration within Windows 10, and we’ll see if the company has more to share about this work in the coming months.

But if you really miss the OneDrive placeholders in Windows 10, it seems that the feature may also come back on Windows PCs thanks to Dropbox which just introduced “Project Infinite“, a new feature that will allow Dropbox users to see all their files without needing to sync them locally on their machine:

Project Infinite will enable users to seamlessly and securely access all their Dropbox files from the desktop, regardless of how much space they have available on their hard drives. Everything in the company’s Dropbox that you’re given access to, whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud, will show up in Dropbox on your desktop. If it’s synced locally, you’ll see the familiar green checkmark, while everything else will have a new cloud icon.

This new feature sounds very much like deprecated OneDrive placeholders: you’ll be able to organize your remote files with drag-and-drop actions, and you will even get to see key info like file size and creation and modification dates when checking the files in the File Explorer. Clicking on a remote file will automatically sync and open the file for you. Last, Dropbox adds that Project Infinite will be supported on any computer running Windows 7 or higher, or Mac OS X 10.9 and up.

While Dropbox shared that Project Infinite is “already deployed with a select number of sponsor customers”, the company didn’t reveal when the feature will be available for all Dropbox users. Do you miss placeholders on Windows 10? Tell us if you’re excited by Dropbox’s Project Infinite in the comments.