Windows 8.1 comes with the OneDrive service built-in but Windows 7, since it was created a couple of years ago, wasn't designed with such tight OneDrive integration in mind. However, this doesn't mean that you cannot use this service in Windows 7 to synchronize your files across devices and computers. Microsoft offers a very good application for this operating system and, in this tutorial, we will share how it works.
How to Download & Install the OneDrive Desktop Application
In order to get the OneDrive desktop application, you'll have to download it from Microsoft's web site. Visit the OneDrive download page to download the application.
Press "Choose your Device" and select PC | Mac.
On the bottom of the page, click "Download OneDrive for Windows" and save the OneDriveSetup.exe file somewhere on your computer, so that you can easily find it and run it.
Then, run OneDriveSetup.exe to begin the installation.
Click Get started to begin the process of configuring and installing your desktop OneDrive application.
In the next window you have to sign in with your Microsoft account. Type your email and password and then click Sign in.
IMPORTANT:If you don't have a Microsoft account, you can create one by selecting Sign up now.
By default, the OneDrive folder will be installed in your user directory, at the following path: "C:\Users\Username\OneDrive". For most users this will be an acceptable arrangement. If you've got a better place in mind, click Change.
Browse through your file system to locate a better place for your OneDrive folder and click OK.
Once you've made your selection, or if you were happy with the default, click Next.
You now get the option to select which folders in your OneDrive you want to sync to your computer automatically. If you want everything synced, select "All files and folders on my OneDrive", otherwise select each folder you want to sync. Click Next to move along.
Select whether or not you want to enable the fetch feature for this computer. This allows you to browse through your computer's file system from other computers connected to your OneDrive to fetch files you may have neglected to store on the OneDrive. You can learn more about this feature, from this guide: How to Fetch Files Remotely from Your PCs Using OneDrive in Windows.
Click Done when you're ready.
Once the installation is complete, you'll notice a cloud icon in your system tray.
How to Access OneDrive from Windows Explorer in Windows 7
Working with your OneDrive requires that you open the folder you configured in the previous step. Like any folder on your computer, you can browse to it through Windows Explorer.
However, there are faster ways to get there:
- One of the fastest way to access your OneDrive folder is to click the cloud icon in the notification area of the taskbar. Now click "Open your OneDrive folder" to get the job done in two clicks.
- Right-clicking the cloud icon gets you there just as quickly. Select "Open your OneDrive folder" and you're good to go.
- From the Start Menu you can click the Microsoft OneDrive shortcut.
- But, the fastest way to get there, is to double click the same cloud icon from the taskbar.
- Last but not least, the OneDrive folder is listed in the Favorites section of Windows Explorer. A click on it and the OneDrive folder is opened. You can work on it and do whatever you please. But, keep in mind that no synchronization will take place unless the OneDrive is running in the background.
How to Add Files & Folders to the OneDrive Desktop Application
The major function of the OneDrive is to store your files in cloud so you can access them from any Internet enabled device. In order to take advantage of this, you'll need to open the OneDrive folder. Adding files is a simple process; in fact, it's exactly the same as adding a file to any other folder on your hard drive:
- You can add files by clicking and dragging them into the OneDrive folder.
- You can copy and paste files into the folder.
- You can even save files directly to the OneDrive by selecting it from the Save As dialog in any program.
Creating folders works the same as in Windows. Really there's not special or new you need to learn about working with files and folders.
How to Configure the OneDrive Desktop Application
Once you get going with OneDrive, you may find that you want to change the way the application works on your computer. To change settings, right-click the OneDrive icon on the taskbar and click Settings.
The Settings tab allows you to choose whether or not to run OneDrive when Windows starts. While disabling this feature may increase your start-up speed, it will also prevent your computer from syncing new files in your drive until you launch the application. You can also toggle the Fetch feature and choose whether or not to send error logs to Microsoft.
IMPORTANT: By clicking the "Unlink OneDrive" button, your files will no longer be kept up-to-date with OneDrive.com. Another thing you should keep in mind is that, in order to resume using OneDrive on your PC, you will have to reconfigure it.
Select the Choose folders tab if you want to select which folders you want to automatically sync to your computer.
Now, you have to choose which folders are synchronized. The options displayed are the same as those from the initial configuration, so we won't go into details . If you're done setting things up, click Ok.
How to Share Files with the OneDrive Desktop Application
The OneDrive desktop application also provides an easy way to share your files with others. This feature is useful for collaborating on documents or just giving family members access to photos or other media.
From the OneDrive folder, right-click a file or folder you want to share, select OneDrive and click Share. Your default web browser will launch and open the OneDrive website.
If you want to know what to do next, read this article: How to Share Files and Folders Using the OneDrive Website.
As you can see from this guide, using the OneDrive application is relatively easy. Once you set it up, it automatically synchronizes your files and folders, depending on your settings. Working with it, is the same as any folder from your computer. So there's really nothing new to learn.
Before you close this article, don't hesitate to share with us your experience with OneDrive. How well does it work for you? How do you think it stands up against other cloud storage options like Dropbox or Google Drive?