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OneDrive is filling up my hard drive


This is the number one user complaint with OneDrive. The company has more data stored in OneDrive than a user can store on their device. For instance, a medium sized company with 100 users could easily have 4TB of data in OneDrive, but no user has 4TB of space to “sync” everything.

Now what? Luckily, there is an easy way to tell OneDrive to leave the things you don’t need on your device to stay in the cloud. Looking in your OneDrive folder, you may notice a few different icons.

There is a blue cloud, a green filled in circle with a checkmark, and a green not filled in circle with a checkmark.

The blue cloud is (Always when online.) This means the data in this folder is not synced with your device. You can see the data on your device but it isn’t taking up space on your device. Think of this as a shortcut to the data in the cloud. If you click to open a document inside the folder with a blue cloud, your device will download the file and open it for you. One caveat, you cant open any files in theses folders unless you are connected to the internet.

The green filled in circle is (Always available on this device.) This means the data in this folder is synced with your device. The data is taking up space on your computer. Benefit of this mode is that you can view the data in these folders even while not connected to the internet.

The green not filled in circle is (Available on this device.) This means the item has been used locally and temporarily synced to the device. The system will automatically delete the local copy when needed. This is the most confusing mode as the “when” the files are removed isn’t always known. I’ve even read that this doesn’t matter anymore.

So how do you change modes? Simply right click on the folder and either choose either “Always keep on this device” or “Fee up space”.

When your running out of space on your computer, choose “Free up Space” and viola! The data will remove from your device and stay in the cloud keeping your hard drive free for more important things.