OneDrive - How it gobbled up my hard drive

Aug 16, 2008
Hong Kong
Lightroom Experience
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If you use OneDrive to back up documents then this may be useful for you, particularly if your hard drive is nearly full.

I turned on my lap top yesterday only to find that my hard drive was almost full. I knew something was wrong as I knew that about a week ago I had about 40GB free space and the only activity I had carried out was backing up many files from my hard drive to the OneDrive cloud.

After a bit of checking I found that that OneDrive was taking up about 80GB on my hard drive. After further checking I found out that when I upload my files to the OneDrive cloud, OneDrive also duplicates the same files to my hard drive in the OneDrive folder. So I have 3 copies !..the originals on my hard drive, the backed up copy on OneDrive in the cloud and a further copy that OneDrive makes on my hard drive.

I started googling again and found a site where the same problem had been discussed. The posts were circa 2016 and at that time there was apparently no solution. You either turned sync on and OneDrive duplicated the files on your hard drive or you unsynced in which case you had to go the OneDrive's web site and log to to retrieve files. After further reading I found out that they had created a solution. You have to go into OneDrive's settings by right clicking on the little cloud in the task bar and selecting settings. Click on the tab on the left "Settings" and make sure that "Files On-Demand" check box is selected. Then go into file explorer and click on the OneDrive folder and select the files / folders that you do not need duplicated copies on your hard drive (i.e. all of them). You then right click and click on "free up space".

OneDrive then proceeds to delete all these duplicated copies from the OneDrive folder on your hard drive. The copies on the OneDrive cloud are untouched. I managed to claw back over 60GB.

I have been using OneDrive for many years and did not know this so you may be the same.

Hope this helps.