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Save space with OneDrive's new Files On-Demand feature

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update adds OneDrive Files On-Demand that lets you keep closer tabs on your files in Microsoft's cloud.

Microsoft has given anyone with a Windows 10 ($170 at Amazon) PC -- particularly those on a laptop with a speedy but small-capacity solid-state drive -- good reason to use OneDrive. The new OneDrive Files On-Demand feature of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update lets you free up disk space by showing you all of your OneDrive files right in File Explorer whether they're stored on your device or in the cloud. Now, you can open the files you have stored in the cloud in the same way you open locally stored files.

Check your settings

After upgrading to Fall Creators Update, the OneDrive Files On-Demand feature should be enabled by default, but if it's not, you can turn it on by launching OneDrive, clicking its double-cloud icon in the taskbar in the lower-right of your screen and choosing Settings. Click the Settings tab and make sure the box is checked for Save space and download files as you use them in the Files On-Demand section.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Decoding the status icons

In File Explorer, you'll see three different icons for OneDrive files in the Status column:

  • Blue cloud: online-only file
  • Green checkmark in white circle: locally stored file that might revert back to online when you run short on space
  • White checkmark in green circle: locally stored file that will stay put, no matter how short on space you get
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

How to download a file

Simply opening an online-only file will download it. It will get the green checkmark treatment. To turn it into an always-available white checkmark file, right-click it and select Always keep on this device.

How to upload a file

To send a local file to the cloud, right-click it and select Free up space. This works for either type of locally stored file -- green and white checkmarks alike.

Read more: The 10 best new features of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update