Owning a computer is no longer considered a luxury. In fact, many people – or households, at least – have more than one machine at their disposal. If you’re one of those people who often find themselves working with multiple computers – perhaps a desktop PC and a laptop, for example, or a couple of desktops in different rooms of the house – you will be only too aware of the problem of ensuring that you have access to all the important files you need on the computer you are using. This is where Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service is hugely helpful. It makes it possible to synchronise files between computers, and it even gives you the option of accessing them online. It’s an amazing way to ensure that you can always work on your files no matter which computer you end up using. Read on to find out how.
1. Download OneDrive
If you are using Windows 7, you need to install a copy of OneDrive on your PC. Go to https://onedrive.live.com/about. Click in ‘Download’ in the top menu, then scroll down and click on ‘Download OneDrive for Windows’ underneath Windows Vista, 7 or 8. Click on ‘Save’ (if using Internet Explorer) and run the OneDriveSetup file once it’s downloaded.
2. Install and get started
Click ‘Yes’ if a User Account Control dialog appears and wait while the installation runs its course. Once this is complete, an introductory screen is displayed – click ‘Get started’ to continue. In order for your files can be synchronised, you need to sign into your Microsoft account, so enter your email address and password before clicking the ‘Sign in’ button.
3. Configure your folder
Although Microsoft OneDrive stores your files online for easy access, they still need to be kept on your hard drive so you have a local copy. By default, a folder is created for this purpose in your user folder, but you can click the ‘Change’ button to choose a different location. When you are happy with the folder that’s being used, click ‘Next’.
4. Set sync options
The OneDrive folder includes sub-folders for pictures, documents and shared files, all of which are synchronised by default. If you are happy with this, click ‘Next’. Alternatively, select ‘Choose folders to sync’ and tick the boxes next to the folders to synchronise. Leave the box labelled ‘Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC’ ticked and click ‘Done’.
5. Synchronising files
The beauty of OneDrive is that you really don’t have to do anything. When you save a file that you want to access on other computers, just make sure you save it to your OneDrive folder. You will need to install the OneDrive software on other computers you use. You can tell that your files are synced by the appearance of a green tick on folder icons.
6. Access on the web
As you save files to your OneDrive folder on your computer, they are automatically uploaded to the OneDrive website. You can view them online at https://onedrive.live.com, where you can also keep an eye on the amount of online storage space that’s available to you. These files are downloaded automatically to any other computer with the OneDrive application installed.
7. OneDrive in Windows 8.1
If you have upgraded your computer to Windows 8.1, you will find that OneDrive is now built-in as standard – there is no need to install it separately. As well as integrating with Explorer just as in Windows 7, there is also a dedicated Windows 8 app that provides an extra means to access your files, but everything works in much the same way.
8. Enjoy easy access!
That’s all there is to it! Providing you remember to save your files into the OneDrive folder, you need never think about moving files from one computer to another – it is all taken care of for you! Some people worry that talk of working ‘in the cloud’ is complicated, but it makes everything so much easier when you move between PCs. Give it a try for yourself and find out.