How to use OneDrive: A guide to Microsoft’s cloud storage

Proper management of access to sensitive data is crucial for businesses. Ignoring that aspect of file administration could lead to potential threats, such as data leakage and file exposure. OneDrive cloud is a viable solution, allowing users to utilize the power of cloud technology for businesses. 

The OneDrive service grants sufficient cloud storage space for company records and papers. As well as reliable and quick access to shared files, folders and confidential documents on multiple devices. 

If you are just getting started or getting accustomed to Microsoft’s cloud service, this comprehensive guide will speed you up to date. Learn how to use OneDrive cloud storage and what the setup process of a OneDrive account is:

OneDrive Cloud Storage Basics

What is OneDrive and How Does It Work?

Microsoft’s OneDrive is a cloud storage service. The OneDrive cloud allows users to save, sync and share Office 365 documents and internal records online. It grants full access to viewing, editing and commenting permissions and file management. 

How OneDrive Helps Businesses?

Microsoft OneDrive is transforming the way businesses manage corporate files on the internet. Transformation begins with data safety and optimized internal processes. Continues with accessibility, easy administration and restriction control. Ends with minimized risk of leakage, data loss and external exposure of confidential documents.

Ready to learn the fundamentals of Microsoft OneDrive for Windows desktop and mobile (iOS and Android)? Keep on reading.

Fundamentals of Microsoft OneDrive Desktop Version

Setting Up and Using OneDrive on Windows 10

In most cases, OneDrive configures once you connect a Microsoft account to the Windows 10 system. Yet, if you want to set up the cloud storage service with a different account, you have to start from scratch. 

Proceed with manual configuration by following these steps:

  • Go to the Start menu
  • Tap the Search field, type in “OneDrive”
  • Launch the OneDrive app
  • Confirm Microsoft account
  • Click the “Sign in” button
  • Confirm password
  • Click the “Sign in” button once more
  • Follow the instructions until you complete all the steps

Once everything is set, close the settings window. OneDrive should be ready to start uploading your files to the Microsoft cloud storage space. 

Choose Which Folders Get Synced

After setting up OneDrive on your Windows desktop, it is time to upload and update the data on the cloud. The easiest way to proceed is to sync whole folders, instead of separate files. 

Here is how to do that step by step:

  • Right-click the blue cloud icon (OneDrive app icon) on the Taskbar 
  • Click on “Settings”
  • Select the “Account” tab
  • Select “Folders link”
  • Mark the folders to sync with the OneDrive account 
  • Click “OK”

Once the sync set-up is done, the selected folders will automatically update on Microsoft’s cloud storage and across all your devices.

Backup Your Local Files to OneDrive

One of the biggest advantages of using OneDrive cloud storage is the option to backup the files on your Windows device. Whether it comes to personal or professional use of OneDrive, backing up is better than sole local storage. 

Follow these steps to back up and store files on OneDrive:

  • Right-click the blue cloud icon (OneDrive app icon) on the Taskbar 
  • Click on “Settings” > “Update & Security”
  • Select “Backup” and tap the “Back up files to OneDrive” section, making your selection.
  • Click on the “Start backup” button

By uploading files to the cloud, OneDrive users ensure no data is lost or corrupted due to potential technical problems, operating system issues or malware attacks. With that in mind, it is always reasonable to have local files and confidential documents backed up.

Share Files from OneDrive

Sharing files or folders on OneDrive is a fast and reliable way to send and receive documents in and outside of your organization. One option is to share the files directly with another user or to generate a OneDrive link and forward the hyperlink manually. 

The procedure for sharing files on a Windows desktop device is as follows:

  • Launch OneDrive
  • Find the file you want to share
  • Tick the checkbox of the item
  • Click the “Share” or “Copy link” buttons on the top menu bar and wait for the cloud sharing window to open
  • Select permissions (choose file or folder access by clicking the dropdown menu)
  • Enter the names or emails of the OneDrive file recipients
  • Add a message (optional)
  • Click “Send” or “Copy Link” 

Be cautious with what file permissions you give to other users. Make sure to choose the right option on who can view and edit your shared files.

Restoring Deleted OneDrive Files

Sometimes OneDrive users want to free storage, rearrange documents or get rid of outdated and non-relevant files. That is when they are prone to delete OneDrive files that are not essential anymore. 

In other cases, file deletion on Microsoft’s cloud is completely accidental. Many factors could lead to the removal of OneDrive files by mistake. Such as misclicks, fast file selection, file name confusion, utilizing OneDrive storage and more.

When that happens, it is important to know how to restore lost files on Microsoft’s cloud storage. There are a few simple steps to follow if you accidentally delete a file or folder in OneDrive:

  • Visit the OneDrive website
  • Sign in with your work account or Microsoft account
  • Go to the navigation menu and click on “Recycle Bin”
  • Select the files or folders you want to restore (point & click the checkbox)
  • Click “Restore”

Important Note: The Recycle Bin erases deleted items after 30 days, If you are signed in with a Microsoft account. For work or school accounts the period is 93 days, by default. 

Restore Previous File Versions

A great thing about OneDrive cloud storage is it keeps version history. So if you ever need to access a previous version of a file, it is possible.

To restore an older version of a file stored in the cloud follow these steps:

  • Launch OneDrive
  • Find the file you wish to restore
  • Right-click on the file 
  • Select “Version history”
  • Choose the older version to restore

File restoration is only possible one item at a time. The version history feature works with all file types – photos, videos, Office 365 documents, PDFs, CAD files, photos and more.

Uninstall OneDrive Completely from Windows 10 PC

In case OneDrive is no longer working for you, or no longer needed, you can completely uninstall the Microsoft cloud storage app:

  • Go to the Start menu
  • Tap the Search field, type in “Programs”
  • Click “Add or remove programs”
  • Find Microsoft OneDrive under the list of Apps & features
  • Click “Uninstall”

Side note: If you want to unlink a OneDrive account from your PC without uninstalling the program, here is how to do it. Go to the Taskbar, select the blue OneDrive cloud icon and follow these steps: “Help & Settings” > “Settings” > “Account” > “Unlink this PC”.

Fundamentals of OneDrive Mobile App Version

OneDrive is a Microsoft product, developed with user accessibility in mind. So it is not a strictly Windows device service. The cloud storage service is also available to connect on multiple mobile devices, running on iOS and Android. 

With full OneDrive access on their mobile device, users can enjoy the full cloud functionality anywhere, anytime. 

Installing The OneDrive App on Android or iOS

The installation procedure on a mobile device is slightly different from the one on a desktop PC. For starters, there is no need to go to the official Microsoft website to download OneDrive. 

Instead, find the OnceDrive App in the relevant application store. For Android-powered phones and tablets – Google Play; for iPhones and iPads – App Store.

OneDrive App on iOS: Step by Step Installation

  1. Open the iOS App Store on your mobile device
  2. Click the Search icon and type in “OneDrive”
  3. Click the “Get” icon on the OneDrive app to download it
  4. Once downloaded, open the OneDrive app
  5. Enter your login credentials

OneDrive App on Android: Step by Step Installation

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your mobile device
  2. Click the Search field (top of the screen) and type in “OneDrive”
  3. Click the “Install” icon on the OneDrive app to download it
  4. Once downloaded, open the OneDrive app
  5. Enter your login credentials

If you fill in the correct Microsoft username and password you will get instant access to all account functionalities and files.

Side note: The credentials in the mobile app match the credentials you use to log in to the Microsoft Office365 Portal on the Desktop version.

Share Files from OneDrive on iOS and Android

From an operations point of view, Microsoft’s OneDrive app offers the same functionalities in the Android and iOS mobile versions. That includes sharing files.

Sharing Existing Files and Folders on iOS & Android

The procedure to share OneDrive files from the cloud storage is simple:

  1. Open the OneDrive app on your mobile device
  2. Press and hold to select a file or folder
  3. Click “Share” and wait for the cloud sharing window to open
  4. Select permissions (choose file or folder access by clicking the dropdown menu)
  5. Enter the names or emails of the OneDrive file recipients
  6. Add a message (optional)
  7. Click “Send” to instantly share the OneDrive item or click “Copy Link” if you want to share the file as a hyperlink in another app or as a private message

Rather than giving access when sharing folders, files or Office 365 documents, you also have the alternative to send a copy. To do that, choose the “Send a Copy” option instead of the “Share” option on Step 3.

That way you can grant edit rights to the copy. The original OneDrive document stays intact and protected of edition, alternations and deletion. 

OnceDrive Shared Files Notification

Once shared through the OneDrive app, the person who receives access to a file or folder gets an email and/or Windows device notification. The user needs to click the email link or the desktop notification to get instant access.

By the same logic, when another user shares an existing file or folder with you, you are the one getting a desktop notification or an email. 

Access to Files Shared with You

Finding shared files is simple. Go to the Microsoft OneDrive app, tap on the “Menu” and select “Shared”. Once the Shared view window opens, you will be able to see the items shared with you and the ones you shared with other users.

Store OneDrive Files Offline in iOS and Android

Offline storage allows OneDrive users to view important documents and confidential files at all times. Even when users experience limited internet access. In the corporate world that often saves a lot of time and headaches. 

Setting up important OneDrive files or folders to be accessible in offline mode is easy. All you need to do is right-click on the item and select “Make available offline.” 

Backup Your Phone’s Photos to OneDrive

With the Microsoft cloud storage service, you have the option to back up all photos on your mobile device. Uploading pictures to OneDrive from a phone can be automated or manual. It only takes few clicks to set up and sync with the phone:

  • Launch the OneDrive app
  • Tap on the “Profile” icon > “Settings” > “Camera upload”
  • Set “Camera upload” to “On”.
  • Select phone folders to back up

By default, OneDrive supports Wi-Fi upload. That means your photos will start uploading to the Microsoft cloud storage only when your device connects to a Wi-Fi network. 

To enable backup when using mobile data, turn on the “Mobile network” option in the “Upload using” settings in the OneDrive app.

Check Storage Space in OneDrive on Android and iOS

Feel free to check the available space on Microsoft’s OneDrive by clicking the Profile/Account tab. A separate menu will open and display the storage capacity used. This is also where you can check how much cloud storage space you have available on OneDrive.