Tue. May 21st, 2024


OneDrive is a powerful tool that simply sits by your side as you work away on your computer or device. It’s great for backing up your files, you can use it on the go, and it’s free and easy to use. Here are six reasons why you should have OneDrive on all your devices.



1. OneDrive Integrates Well into Your PC’s Interface

The biggest advantage of OneDrive is its simplicity. Whether you’re using a Windows PC or a Mac, as long as you’ve signed in to OneDrive, you’re good to go.

We’re going to show the perks of OneDrive on Windows. However, if you’re on a Mac, simply
install the OneDrive sync app
, and a OneDrive folder will be downloaded and kept in sync with all other devices.

As OneDrive is a Microsoft product, it works seamlessly on Windows PCs, saving you the need to use third-party storage. Not only can you easily access the files and folders in your OneDrive cloud storage, but anytime you make changes to these files and folders on your computer, they’ll automatically sync with your OneDrive folder.


If you’re using Windows 10 or 11, OneDrive is already integrated into your PC—all you need to do is sign in with your Microsoft account.

Go to the Search box on your Taskbar and type OneDrive. Then, click the “OneDrive” folder that appears at the top.

OneDrive is typed into the Windows Taskbar search box and the 'OneDrive' option that appears is higlighted.

Then, log in to OneDrive, and run through the options to choose your OneDrive folder location.

Now that you’re all set, OneDrive is always running in the background without you even knowing it, and you can see what’s stored there through File Explorer. Press Ctrl+E and head to the folder called “[Your name] Personal” in the sidebar.

The OneDrive folder in Windows File Explorer.


If you have more than one OneDrive account (for example, a personal account and a work account), they’ll both appear in this menu for you to easily choose between.

Here, you can create folders and organize your files, with any changes you make visible on any device that’s logged into your OneDrive account.

What’s more, if you find yourself using OneDrive often to manage your files and folders, you can change the default File Explorer landing page so that OneDrive opens whenever you press Ctrl+E.

You might also notice that a OneDrive icon appears on your System Tray. Click this icon to quickly see the upload status of your latest files or change your OneDrive settings through the gear cog in the top-right corner.

The OneDrive icon in the Windows System Tray.


Finally, another bonus of OneDrive’s Windows integration is that you can receive notifications—for example, OneDrive will let you know if someone shares something with you. As above, click the OneDrive icon on your System Tray, click the gear cog, and head to “Notifications.”

2. Use OneDrive on Many Platforms

You can access, organize, and amend your files from anywhere on any device through the OneDrive app or the OneDrive website. Whether that be your Excel spreadsheet, photo gallery, or files you have received from others, they are happily sitting in your OneDrive, ready for action. Handily, if you’re offline, any changes you make will automatically sync as soon as you re-establish an internet connection.

Here’s what the OneDrive app looks like on the iPhone.

The Files screen on the iPhone OneDrive app.


You can view and open the same folders as on any other device, using the icons along the bottom of the app to see items you have shared or others have shared with you, access any photos stored on OneDrive, or take a photo to add to your OneDrive account. To add a new folder or create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, just click the “+” in the top-right corner. You can also enable OneDrive notifications by clicking your profile picture in the top-left corner and tapping “Settings.”

3. OneDrive Is a Secure Storage Solution

Microsoft’s advanced encryption helps to keep your files secure, whether they’re sitting in your OneDrive folder or being shared through the app or website.

However, the best part of OneDrive’s security is the Personal Vault, where you can store sensitive information—such as a scan of your passport, driver’s license, or birth certificate—with an extra layer of protection. Once you’ve set up your Personal Vault, you can access it through your fingerprint, facial recognition, or an additional pass code. To add that extra layer of security, your Personal Vault folder automatically locks after a period of inactivity.


You will need to set up your Personal Vault separately on each device. Starting with your mobile, go to the OneDrive app and tap “Files” in the menu bar along the bottom. Then, scroll to and select “Personal Vault,” and OneDrive will take you through the authentication setup.

The OneDrive mobile app Personal Vault folder, accessible through the Files folder.

On your PC, press Ctrl+E and open your OneDrive folder. Then, in the search bar in the top-right corner of your File Explorer, type Personal Vault, press Enter, and click “Personal Vault.” Windows will then help you to set up your secure vault.

The Windows OneDrive folder selected, 'Personal Vault' typed into the search box, and the Personal Vault result highlighted.


4. OneDrive Lets You Edit Your Docs and Pics

OneDrive isn’t just a storage solution—you can also edit your files on the go.

To amend the photos on your mobile OneDrive app, tap “Photos,” open the picture you want to amend, and then tap “Edit.” Here, you can easily rotate, crop, and mark up your image, or add filters to spruce up your photo.

The Photos folder on the iPhone OneDrive app.

Need to annotate a PDF? No problem—locate the file in your OneDrive app and tap “Annotation.”


What’s more, if you click the camera icon, you can scan a document, capture a whiteboard, scan a business card, or take a photo, and then edit those captures in the app.

The iPhone OneDrive camera functions displayed along the bottom of the app's screen.

Finally, to amend a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file, find it in OneDrive and then click the three dots next to the file to open it in the relevant Microsoft 365 app on your device. When you make changes, they’ll automatically sync to your OneDrive account.

The menu that appears when the three dots next to a Word file are selected in OneDrive, with 'Open' (in Microsoft 365) highlighted.

5. OneDrive Saves Your Work Automatically

The beauty of OneDrive is that you forget it’s even there. As someone who uses Microsoft Word every day for work, having that safety net is essential, especially when my computer decides it wants to perform a spontaneous update or hit you with the blue screen of death!


Providing you have signed in to your Microsoft account and saved your document as soon as you created it, OneDrive will automatically save your work as you make any changes.

OneDrive AutoSave turned on in a Microsoft Word document.

If you find that the AutoSave button is switched to the left (turned off), simply click the button again, sign back in to OneDrive when prompted, and you’re good to carry on.

6. OneDrive Is Good For Sharing

Gone are the days of manually attaching your files to an email. When you first create and save your OneDrive folder in OneDrive, only you can access it. However, it couldn’t be easier to share the files. On your mobile, simply tap the three dots next to an item and select “Share.” From there, you’ll see the different options for sending the document to your friends, family, and colleagues, whether that be through WhatsApp, email, or another app on your device. You can also use the @ symbol on a document to tag in other people in your organization.


To share a file from your PC’s OneDrive folder, right-click the item and click “Share.” You can then choose whether the recipient can edit the document, before clicking “Send” to complete the process.

Some Downsides of OneDrive and How to Overcome Them

Here are some of the more common issues you might encounter when using OneDrive, but we’ve offered some ways to get around them.

Downside

Resolution

You can’t use certain characters in file names.

Avoid using these characters in your file names on OneDrive to avoid any issues: ” * : < > ? / \ |

OneDrive offers only 5 GB of free storage.

While you might find that 5 GB is enough for your essential files and folders, you can affordably upgrade your Microsoft subscription for more storage. For example, I use the 365 Personal package, which gives me 1 TB of storage. You might also consider using alternative storage solutions.

The OneDrive backup only includes Documents, Pictures, Desktop, Music, and Videos

Make sure you save anything important to one of these folders to ensure it will automatically save to your OneDrive cloud.


As well as making the most of OneDrive’s apps and website on the go with your docs and photos, check out how to use OneDrive alongside Windows Backup when switching to a new PC.



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By John P.

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