Configuring OneDrive On Your Surface

OneDrive On Windows 10

A couple of weeks ago, Tim covered the issue of OneDrive taking up too much bandwidth in his post Throttle OneDrive On Surface. Today, I want to step back and get back to some of the basics of configuring OneDrive in Windows 10.

You may have owned a Surface device for a while now (perhaps even have one of the older versions) and have a good idea of what OneDrive is but since you upgraded to Windows 10, you may be baffled by how to configure it. Or you may have just purchased a new Surface and are confused about OneDrive and why you should even use it. Either way, this post will help you understand how to configure OneDrive on your Surface tablet.

Let’s start with the most basic question..

What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is Microsoft’s free (up to a certain point, see Microsoft OneDrive Plans ) cloud storage that comes included with your Microsoft account. It’s kind of like an additional hard drive that travels with you to any device and allows you to have access to files from anywhere. There are, of course, many other cloud storage options, like Google Drive, Box, Evernote, Dropbox, etc. However, OneDrive is integrated to Windows 10 and therefore also with your Surface tablet.

OneDrive in Windows 10

If you are new to Windows 10, you have probably already noticed that OneDrive is a totally new animal in this version of Windows.

Here is what you can expect in this version:

  • Selective Sync – you can now choose all folders to be synced or only specific folders.
  • OneDrive Online Only – no longer exists. This is a bit of a pain because you can’t tell it to sync everything online (saving local drive space) but there are some work-arounds, see our Access OneDrive Online Only Files post.
  • Cortana and Universal Apps integration – you can search files with Cortana even if they are not synced to your Surface.

Configuring OneDrive on Surface tablets

When you first set up your Surface, OneDrive will prompt you to select folders to sync. If you follow the wizard, it will walk you through it.

However, if you ignored it, closed it, or wanted to do this later (as I usually do), you can reinitiate the wizard by doing the following:

  • Make sure you are logged in with a Microsoft account (locally created accounts do not have OneDrive attached to them).
  • Select File Explorer in the taskbar
  • Click OneDrive from the list of folders on the left side, this will reinitialize the OneDrive wizard
  • Select (check) the folders you want to sync to your Surface

Some OneDrive Tips

Stop OneDrive from starting when your Surface boots

  • Right-click on the OneDrive icon and select Settings
    configuring onedrive
  • Select the Settings tab
  • If you don’t want to Start OneDrive automatically when you sign in to Windows, uncheck the box (it will be checked by default)
    Configuring OneDrive

Change which folders are synced

  • Right-click on OneDrive icon
  • Select Settings
  • Select Account tab (should be default) 
  • Click Choose Folders button
  • Check or uncheck the folders to sync

Choose how you auto-save your files

  • Right-click on OneDrive icon
  • Select Settings
  • Select Auto save tab from the top 
  • Chose how you auto-save from these options

Other tips

Configuring OneDrive Offline Access

Files you sync to OneDrive are automatically available both online at and offline on your Surface. That means you can use them even when you’re not connected to the Internet. This is useful because you no longer have to mark files to be available offline. When you reconnect, OneDrive updates the online files with changes you made offline on your Surface and hence that bandwidth issue we wrote about previously.

Overall though, as you can see, OneDrive is pretty versatile. Whether you want to use it as additional storage space or you want to give yourself the ability to access your files from any of your devices (phone, Surface, PC), it is a great tool to help you organize. And don’t forget that you can use OneDrive as a backup option. as well.

The fact that it is built into your Surface is a bonus and saves you from installing the app or lengthy setup. It’s worth a try on your Surface tablet.


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