What is One Drive on Windows 11? As someone who uses Microsoft OneDrive, I like the way Windows 11 integrates the service in ways you won’t find in Windows 10.
The latest version of Windows helps you more easily access and manage OneDrive from File Explorer. You can set File Explorer to automatically open to your OneDrive folders, see how much space is used and available for OneDrive, manage your storage, and tweak key settings.
You can also view and control the core OneDrive options from a new Settings screen in Windows 11.
What is One Drive on Windows 11?
This tutorial will show you how to enable or disable the OneDrive feature for all users in Windows 10 and Windows 11.
OneDrive is built-in to Windows 11 by default.
With OneDrive, you can sync files and folders between your computer and the cloud, so you can get to your files from anywhere – your computer, your mobile device, and even through the OneDrive website at OneDrive.live.com. If you add, change, or delete a file or folder in your OneDrive folder, the file or folder is added, changed, or deleted on the OneDrive website and vice versa. You can work with your synced files directly in File Explorer and access your files even when you’re offline. Whenever you’re online, any changes that you or others make will sync automatically.
If you like, you can disable OneDrive in Windows 11.
- If you disable OneDrive integration:
- Users can’t open OneDrive.
- OneDrive will not run at startup for all users.
- Microsoft Store apps can’t access OneDrive using the WinRT API.
- OneDrive doesn’t appear in the navigation pane in File Explorer for all users.
- OneDrive files aren’t kept in sync with the cloud.
- Users can’t automatically upload photos and videos from the camera roll folder.
How to take advantage of Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 11
Make sure you’re running the latest version Windows 11
Most of the OneDrive benefits are available only in the 22H2 update to Windows 11. So if you’re not already running the latest flavor of Windows 11, head to Settings > Windows Update and allow the 22H2 update to install. To double-check your version, go to Settings > System > About. The entry for Version in the Windows specifications section will tell you which version is installed.
With the 22H2 update, you can change the default startup location in File Explorer so that you see your OneDrive folders right off the bat. Open File Explorer, click the ellipsis icon on the toolbar, and select Options. Click the dropdown menu for Open File Explorer to and change it to your OneDrive folder. The next time you launch File Explorer, you’ll be taken to your local OneDrive storage.
Find the parent folder for your OneDrive storage
Next, you can view and manage your OneDrive storage directly from File Explorer. Click the parent folder for your OneDrive storage. On the right end of the toolbar, click the down arrow next to the cloud icon.
The dropdown window reveals the status of your synced files and how much space your files are taking up on OneDrive.
View your latest synced files
The icons accessible at this window will take you to your OneDrive storage and settings. Click the entry for Your files are synced at the top, and you’ll see a list of the latest synced files.
Click Manage storage
Next, click the button for Manage storage. You’re taken to your online OneDrive storage screen where you’re able to review your current plan, empty the OneDrive Recycle bin to free up space, and add more storage if necessary.
Click the trash icon
Back at File Explorer, click the trash can icon in the OneDrive window. That takes you to the online OneDrive Recycle bin where you can restore any deleted files that you need, permanently delete any files you won’t ever need again, or empty the entire bin to recover space.
Click View online
Return to the OneDrive dropdown window in File Explorer and click the View online icon (the one that looks like a globe).
You’re taken to your OneDrive Files window where you’re able to view and access all your folders and files.
Click the Settings icon in the OneDrive window
And once more back at File Explorer, click the Settings icon in the OneDrive window to view and modify certain options for OneDrive. Here, you can manage the backup of your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders as well as save photos, videos, and screenshots to OneDrive.
Finally, you may notice that the OneDrive settings have been revamped with the latest update for Windows 11.
Instead of the older and clunkier Settings window with the tabs at the top, the new OneDrive settings take on the same look and feel as the general Windows Settings app. The settings for OneDrive are organized into four categories: Sync and backup, Account, Notifications, and About.
How to Disable OneDrive with Group Policy Editor
Another method you can use to disable OneDrive if you’re running Windows Pro, Enterprise, or Education editions is to use the Local Group Policy Editor.
Note: This option doesn’t work on the Home editions of Windows 11.
To use Group Policy on Windows 11 to disable OneDrive:
- Hit Windows key + R on your keyboard to bring up the Run box.
- Type gpedit.msc and click OK or hit Enter.
- Navigate to the following path: Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive
- Double-click the OneDrive folder and double-click the Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage policy.
- Select the Disabled button,click Apply and OK, and exit Group Policy Editor.
- Restart Windows 11 to verify OneDrive is disabled on your PC.
Why Should You Disable OneDrive?
You may not want to keep a cloud backup of sensitive files related to work or personal use cases. One another issue is that OneDrive runs as soon as you boot your system. It continues to run in the background and consumes system and network resources in the process.
If you have a low-spec system or metered network connection, you can relate to this issue. So, it would be a good idea to disable or remove the app from your system in these circumstances.
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