Services & Software

How to move your OneDrive local storage to another drive

Windows 8.1 will sync your cloud account with your PC. But what if you're running out of space? Here's how to relocate the cache.

With Microsoft's recent release of Windows 8.1, the cloud-storage service formerly known as SkyDrive officially became OneDrive. And it remains tightly integrated with the OS.

So integrated, in fact, that it syncs your cloud files to your hard drive, and vice-versa. That's a handy feature, to be sure, but what happens if you're running out of space on that local drive?

This can definitely be a problem for anyone with, say, a Surface or similar tablet, or a laptop with a small solid-state drive. Fortunately, it's a simple matter to relocate OneDrive's local storage to another storage device, thereby freeing up critical space.

What kind of device? Because it's something you'll want to keep plugged in full-time, I recommend a tiny flash drive like the PKparis K'1 or much more affordable Team C12G (currently $15.99 at Newegg for the 32GB version).

Once you've added your drive, here's how to strongarm Windows 8.1 into moving your local OneDrive folders to it:

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step one: Open File Explorer, find OneDrive (often accessible under Favorites), right-click it, and choose Properties. (The accompanying screenshot, captured on a pre-update PC, shows SkyDrive, but same difference.)

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step two: Click the Location tab.

Step three: Click the Move button, then select the new destination for your OneDrive contents. Click OK, then approve the move by clicking Yes.

And that's it! Just keep in mind that if you remove that external drive, OneDrive won't be able to sync locally.

Speaking of local, if you'd rather go the other way and bypass OneDrive altogether, you can switch your Windows 8.1 login to a local account.