Change Default Save Location to OneDrive in Windows 10 On Surface

Change Default Save Location to OneDrive in Windows 10 On Surface

This article is first in a series of five on Windows 10 backup and recovery for Surface tablets.

One of the most important (but often overlooked things) you should do, is take steps to ensure your important files are protected. Unfortunately, many people don’t worry about such things until they’ve already lost data and it’s too late.

There are a lot of excuses people use for not protecting their data (“It’s too much of a pain to do backups“, “I don’t want to change how I use my computer“, “I’ll do it tomorrow“, etc.) but all they’re really doing is putting their irreplaceable files at risk.

Fortunately, Windows 10 offers several easy and “transparent” (meaning you don’t have to do anything special) ways to protect your data. So, you no longer have an excuse for not making sure your data is protected.

One of the easiest of these ways to keep your files safe is to simply put them in your OneDrive folder. This is because OneDrive will automatically sync the files up to the cloud from your Surface (and any other Windows computer you may use with your Microsoft account) when it has an internet connection.

While it’s already pretty simple to save (or copy) files into OneDrive, you can make it even more convenient by setting the save location for your desktop, documents, music, pictures, and video libraries to a OneDrive folder. By default, in Windows 10, all those save to your local drive on the Surface.

Change Default Save Location to OneDrive: How To Do It

To move the default save location to OneDrive, perform the steps below on each document library on your Surface:

  • Open Windows Explorer then tap and hold (right-click) on one of the following folders under the This PC section: Desktop, DocumentsMusic, Pictures or Videos then select Properties from the contextual menu. In this example, I chose the Documents folder.

Move Default Save Location to OneDrive Windows Explorer

  • Select the Location tab.

Move Default Save Location to OneDrive Location

  • Tap Move then browse to your OneDrive folder. If you already have a folder where you want to save to by default, select it, if not, create one and select it by tapping or clicking the Select Folder button.

Move Default Save Location to OneDrive Destination

  • After you tap or click the Select Folder button, you’ll be taken back to the properties screen. Tap or click Apply to make the change. When you do, you’ll be given the option to automatically move your files to the new location. Tap or click Yes.

Move Default Save Location to OneDrive Move Folder

  • Repeat the process until the documents, music, pictures, and videos save locations have all been moved to OneDrive.

Depending on the folder you select in your OneDrive, you may get a prompt asking if you want to proceed with the folder redirection. This usually happens because you’re trying to merge two system folders like “documents” or “videos”:

Move Default Save Location to OneDrive Folder Redirection

If you continue, you will not be able to easily restore the default location for  your document libraries on your Surface.

To avoid needing to make this choice, I recommend you create a folder with the same name as your Surface (or something like “My Surface”) and create sub folders for desktop, documents, music, etc.. under it. This is an especially good idea if you have multiple Windows 10 computers as it will allow you to keep the data from each organized.

Change Default Save Location to OneDrive: Caveats

When changing the default save location to OneDrive is easy, there are a few caveats you need to be aware of in order to get maximum protection for your data:

  • You will need to have enough space on your OneDrive to hold all of the files you wish to backup. You can obtain more space several ways but, purchasing it from Microsoft is the easiest. If you have Office 365 (new Surface 3 gets you a 1 year subscription) then you already have 1TB of OneDrive space included, hence, you probably won’t need to worry about buying additional storage.
  • New or changed files will only be backed up when your Surface is connected to the Internet.
  • Moving the default save location to OneDrive won’t protect the OS or your installed applications.
  • OneDrive only keeps the current version of a file, so, if it becomes corrupted on your Surface, it will become corrupted in the cloud.
  • If you accidentally delete the file on your Surface, it will be deleted from OneDrive as well.

That’s it. By simply changing your default save location in Windows 10 to your OneDrive, you can afford yourself some protection in the event your Surface gets lost, stolen, or broken. Better yet, you don’t really have to change the way you use your Surface. You can keep doing what you were in the past but, now, your files are safely stored on OneDrive.

Next up in our Windows 10 Backup & Recovery for Surface Series: Windows 10 File History For Surface.


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