• OneDrive’s two Documents folders; missing menu items

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    LANGALIST By Fred Langa One of the most confusing aspects of OneDrive’s operation is its creation of a second Documents folder. Most Microsoft (and ma
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    • #2369663

      Maybe this is off topic, but in OneDrive I do not have a Status column which shows the OneDrive folder or file status. Instead, the file or folder status shows on the file/folder icon itself. If I add the Status column manually, there is nothing in it. What’s up?

    • #2369670

      Hi Fred, appreciate the article!

      I’ve usually found it easier to just move the default folders to the cloud drive folder (I use Google drive for home and OneDrive at the office) instead of trying to maintain 2 folders – I’ve not had any real issues with older software in general that an uninstall/reinstall or repair install wouldn’t fix or help it to find the new Documents location.

      I realize that’s a bit of work but so is maintaining 2 folders 🙂

      For Macrium Reflect (which I’ve used for years and love) I just save the backup XML files to c:\reflect and have had no other issues with it if the Documents folder is moved




    • #2369682

      When I right-click a file in my OneDrive folder — any file, any subfolder — I do not see “Always keep on this device” and I do not see “Free up space.” Instead I see “Choose OneDrive folders to sync.” I suspect that this is because of two settings in my OneDrive settings (right-click the OneDrive icon in the taskbar and select “Settings”).

      In Settings on the Settings tab I have deselected “Save space and download files as you use them.” See attached screenshot OneDrive1.png.


      In Settings on the Account tab, I click Choose Folders, and on the resulting dialog pane I have selected “Sync all files and folders to OneDrive.” See attached screenshot OneDrive3.png.


      I am correct in assuming that these settings are what cause me to see “Choose OneDrive folders to sync” instead of “Always keep on this device” and  “Free up space”?


      • #2369748

        In Settings on the Settings tab I have deselected “Save space and download files as you use them.”

        That’s the setting that makes the difference (not the other one), as explained at the “More info” link immediately below it:

        When you turn on Files On-Demand, you’ll see all your files in File Explorer and get new information about each file.

        You’ll know that Files On-Demand is turned on if you see the status icons next to your files in File Explorer.

        Save disk space with OneDrive Files On-Demand for Windows 10

        Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.1778 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

    • #2369732

      The existence of two Documents folders is indeed a puzzle, but I discovered that long ago. Many programs that defaulted to the legacy Documents folder will accept a path change to OneDrive if you would rather have the files there for convenience.

      What that does NOT change is the danger of assuming that a document lost or ruined on your local hard drive (which will by default will now be in C:\Users\{me}\OneDrive) can be recovered from the Cloud.

      That should work if you get to it before it is removed from OneDrive’s recycle bin, but it was deleted from the Cloud OneDrive/Documents folder by the synching process as soon as it disappeared from your local hard drive. Look at OneDrive on line and the bin will be on the left margin menu.

    • #2369744

      As you know, Windows sets up its normal, default Documents folder at:

      But when you install OneDrive, it creates a new, second, local Documents folder at

      When I initially setup my OneDrive as an online backup, I moved the folder to a separate partition on a different physical drive.  I don’t have a “C:\Users\{username}\OneDrive\Documents” folder.  I have a W:\OneDrive\Documents folder.

      I also don’t have a “C:\Users\{username}\Documents” folder.  I moved it (using its Properties – Location tab) to a separate partition on another different physical drive.  I have a V:\Users\{username}\Documents.  I use a Robocopy script via Task Scheduler to copy my V:\Users\{username}\Documents folder to my W:\OneDrive\Documents folder, and syncing with OneDrive online occurs normally.

      The default Windows “documents” save location is V:\Users\{username}\Documents.  There is no confusion with the OneDrive\Documents folder.  I didn’t worry with documentation, since I never intended to use it according to Microsoft’s scenario, anyway.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do to our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

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