Understanding the “Status” Icons of Microsoft OneDrive« Back to Tech Tips
One of the many helpful services that come along with a Microsoft 365 subscription is that of “Files On-Demand.” It makes the files and folders stored in OneDrive available on your PC without eating up local storage space.
What does this mean? Well, let’s say you have a folder called “Closed Matters” with hundreds of files and folders in it, but you don’t need or want all those files stored on your hard drive. With OneDrive, you can choose which folders and files will be stored locally (good for those times when you don’t have Wi-Fi available), or you can store them only in the cloud (Microsoft OneDrive) yet see that folder and its content in File Explorer. Files stored in the cloud will get downloaded when you click to open the file. Whether local or in the cloud, you are still able to perform common tasks like searching files and viewing their location.
How will you know if a document is stored locally or in the cloud? You will see a status column in File Explorer that denotes the status of each file or folder — online, local or always available (these icons will only show up when you are connected to the Internet). When you’re online, you’ll also see context menu items when you right-click on a file that allows you to change the status. To learn more about OneDrive, how to set it up and how it works, read Sync files with OneDrive in Windows.
Here is a little more info about this status icons:
- Cloud icon: file is visible, but not stored in the cloud; if you are not connected to the Internet, you will not be able to access the file.
- Open green circle with check mark: the file is currently on your hard drive and taking up storage space; once you no longer need the file locally, you can right-click on it (choose “Free up space”) to change its status back to online.
- Closed green circle with check mark: this file is available and stored locally at all times.