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OneDrive in Windows 10 works best if you alternate between the utility built into File Explorer and the Windows Store app. This article explains how to use the two programs together.

The instructions in this article apply to Windows 10.

The main feature missing in the File Explorer version of OneDrive is the ability to see folders that haven’t been downloaded to your local hard drive. If you’re using OneDrive without any changes, you’ve probably saved all of your OneDrive files locally.

You don’t have to do this, however. It’s very easy to leave some files in the cloud and leave only the most critical content on your PC. The problem is that you have no way to see what’s not on your hard drive through File Explorer. There used to be such a feature, called “placeholders,” and Microsoft recently confirmed that this feature will return in the form of the aforementioned on-demand sync. The new feature will help you distinguish between files on your hard drive and files stored in the cloud.

In the meantime, you can use the OneDrive app from the Windows Store. It lets you view all of your OneDrive content, including files that aren’t on your hard drive.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it works and, in our opinion, is much easier to manage than toggling between File Explorer and OneDrive.com.

Get organized with File Explorer

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t have to keep all of your OneDrive files on your hard drive. In fact, you can leave as many files as you want in the cloud (i.e. on Microsoft’s servers) and only download them when needed. This would be especially important if you’re using a tablet with limited storage.

To decide which files you want to keep on your hard drive and which you want to leave in the cloud:

Ouvrez l'Explorateur de fichiers.

Appuyez sur Win+E pour ouvrir rapidement la fenêtre de l'explorateur de fichiers.
Fenêtre de l'explorateur de fichiers

Sélectionnez la flèche vers le haut située à l'extrême droite de la barre des tâches.
Flèche vers le haut de Windows dans l'Explorateur de fichiers

Cliquez avec le bouton droit de la souris sur OneDrive dans le volet de gauche ou dans le corps de la fenêtre.
Cliquez avec le bouton droit de la souris sur OneDrive

Sélectionnez Paramètres.
Paramètres dans le menu du clic droit

Dans la fenêtre qui s'ouvre, assurez-vous que l'onglet Compte est sélectionné et choisissez le bouton Choisir les dossiers.
Bouton Choisir des dossiers dans les paramètres de OneDrive

Une autre fenêtre s'ouvre, qui répertorie tous les dossiers que vous avez sur OneDrive. Il suffit de décocher ceux que vous ne voulez pas conserver sur votre disque dur, de cliquer sur OK, et OneDrive les supprimera automatiquement pour vous. N'oubliez pas que vous ne les supprimez que depuis votre PC. Les fichiers resteront dans le nuage et pourront être téléchargés à tout moment.

That’s all there is to saving space on your hard drive while keeping your files available in OneDrive.

The Microsoft Store app

Now that you’ve deleted the files you don’t need, you’ll need the OneDrive app for Windows 10 to easily view them again.

The OneDrive app in the Microsoft Store

Once you’ve downloaded the app from the app store and signed in, you’ll see all your files and folders stored in OneDrive. If you click or tap on a folder, it will open to show all your files. Click on an individual file and you will see a preview of it (if it is an image) or you can download the file and open it in the appropriate program such as Microsoft Word or a PDF reader.

When files are downloaded automatically, they are placed in a temporary folder. To download it to a more permanent location, select a file, then click the download icon (the down-facing arrow) in the top right. If you want to see the details of a file instead of downloading it, right-click it and select Details.

On the left side of the application are several icons. At the top is the search icon to find files, below is your user account picture, and then the document icon that lets you see your entire collection of files. Then you have the camera icon, which shows all your pictures in OneDrive in a way similar to what you see on the website. You can also choose to display your albums in this section, including those created automatically by OneDrive.

Task pane in OneDrive

Scrolling down the left side, you’ll also see a recent documents section and a view of files you share with other people.

More information about the OneDrive app in Windows 10

These are the basics of viewing files with the OneDrive app in Windows 10. The app offers many other possibilities, including drag-and-drop file uploads, the ability to create a new folder, and a way to create new picture albums.

It’s a great app and a solid complement to OneDrive in File Explorer.

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