Migrate Your Files to OneDrive Easily with Known Folder Move

Published 06-27-2018 01:20 PM 335K Views

We’ve heard requests from several customers asking to make it easier to move their user data into OneDrive. To have a single button that they could push that would move content from the Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders to OneDrive.


Today, we are making this a reality with the announcement of Known Folder Move (KFM) for OneDrive that will start rolling out to Targeted Release customers this week.


Known folders are global pointers in Windows representing a location on the user’s drive. They help users to organize their most important files and access them across different applications. KFM helps you move your docs, desktop, and pictures into OneDrive. Even the Screenshots and Camera Roll folders are included when the Picture folder has opted into KFM.


Before KFM:

Windows ExplorerWindows Explorer

After KFM:

Windows Explore w/ KFMWindows Explore w/ KFM


Not much changed, right? That’s the idea. User content is automatically synced to OneDrive with no disruption to productivity. Behind the scenes, KFM moves content into OneDrive so it’s always synced to the cloud, protected, and accessible from all your devices. 


If you’re an IT admin, you can deploy a group policy (more details below) to users in your organization to encourage them to perform KFM. Eligible end users can get to the KFM experience if they click on one of the KFM toast notifications or in OneDrive settings > AutoSave > Update folders.

Update Folders settingUpdate Folders setting

This is what the Known Folder Move experience looks like for end users. The KFM experience launches and does a brief scan for any unsupported files

KFM screenKFM screen 

 The scan shows all files are supported and the user now has the option to move their folders to OneDrive.

KFM end user screenKFM end user screen

If you disable or do not configure this setting, the "Set up protection of important folders" window won't appear automatically for your users.


If you set a group policy, then here is the experience the user will see

Group PolicyGroup Policy

 If the user doesn't perform the move, a large activity center message displays:

IT Policy for KFMIT Policy for KFM

If the user chooses to close the message, then a smaller message is displayed and cannot be dismissed until the user completes the move.

Forced pop-upForced pop-up

Silently redirect Windows known folders to OneDrive

This setting lets you redirect your users' Documents, Picture, and Desktop folders to OneDrive without user interaction. This policy works when all known folders are empty, and on folders redirected to a different OneDrive account. We recommend using this policy together with "Prompt users to move Windows known folders to OneDrive."


When you enable this policy, future releases will no longer check for empty known folders. Instead, known folders will be redirected and content within them will be moved.


If you enable this setting and provide your tenant ID, you can choose whether to display a notification to users after their folders have been redirected.


If you disable or do not configure this setting, your users' known folders will not be silently redirected to OneDrive. Future iterations of this group policy will support Known Folder Move.


After this policy is set with the notification flag the end user will see a toast:


Prevent users from redirecting their Windows known folders

This setting forces users to keep their Documents, Pictures, and Desktop folders directed to OneDrive. 

If you enable this setting, the "Stop protecting" button in the "Set up protection of important folders" window will be disabled and users will receive an error if they try to stop syncing a known folder.

If you disable or do not configure this setting, users can choose to redirect their known folders back to their PC.


When will Known Folder Move be available?

  • This feature will start to roll-out this week to our Targeted Release customers
  • If you are an Office or Windows insider, you may start to see it next week
  • KFM will be available to all users by the end of July

As always, please leave feedback and let us know what you think or visit our UserVoice page to upvote or suggest new OneDrive functionality!


- The OneDrive Team


Some FAQ's for IT Administrators

Can I automate this as an IT admin?

Yes. See information about group policies above. More documentation will be available once KFM is fully rolled out.


Is there an Intune package I can use?

We are working to integrate the ADMX/ADML packages KFM with Windows Intune later this year.


Can I use this with Silent Account Configuration or other group policies?

Yes, you can use these group policies alongside any other group policies including Silent Account Configuration. Just make sure you don’t set policies that conflict with one another.


What operating systems does KFM work with?

Known Folder Move works with Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 as well as Windows 10.


What is the difference between Folder Redirection and Folder Migration?

  • Folder Redirection redirects a local Windows folder to an equivalent folder in OneDrive but does not migrate any content from the local folder to OneDrive. That’s why folder redirection should only be used on brand new machines that don’t have existing content.
  • Folder Migration redirects a local Windows folder to an equivalent folder in OneDrive and does migrate the content from the local folder to an equivalent folder in OneDrive. Folder migration can be used on brand new or existing devices with or without content.
  • In general, we suggest you use folder migration over folder redirection whenever possible.

Are there any limitations on the files that can be moved to OneDrive as part of this process?

There are some limitations for supported files in the OneDrive sync client in general and those are listed here. In addition, there are some scenarios that KFM doesn’t support yet and will be documented in more detail in the future. One of those limitations is that locally created OneNote files can’t be moved to OneDrive through the KFM experience. If you have OneNote saved locally, please visit our support site on how to move it to OneDrive here




@Peter Whitehouse


Right now this is only manageable via GPO. We are working to create Intune policies as well.


@Kristof Verreet

We recommend you do this in rings to specific groups rather than everyone at once. Users will still be able to create and edit files during this process. We had one company who migrated 20k users in a week with minimal network impact.




I have no timeline to share at this time. We are working as fast as we can :)

Regular Contributor

Stephen -- I'm not sure why you think of Favorites as being a backup or disaster recovery scenario and somehow different from any other file sync that OneDrive handles. It's just another folder full of files, after all...

We have a significant number of users who use at least 2 different shared workstations in the course of an average workday, sometimes more. When they add something to their favorites on one computer, they expect it to be available on the next computer that they log onto. It's not a case of disaster recovery or replacing a computer, this is their every day workflow. For more than a decade, we've used roaming profiles to accomplish this, but as you know roaming profiles can be a bit painful to deal with sometimes. We've wanted to move away from roaming profiles, but for a long time U-EV was part of MDOP, which wasn't available to us. More recently, the info coming out of MS has made it seem that cloud services will be the preferred way to synchronize user files and settings. I've even heard rumors in the past months that UE-V is not going to get further development and may be deprecated in the not so distant future. I am not interested in putting in the time required to learn about and implement a feature which doesn't have a future at this point.

Please consider adding support for migrating/syncing the Favorites folder along with Documents and Pictures. It should be fairly easy to do, and would certainly have a big impact for users.


In terms of favorites, you could also enable the policy to sync favorites between Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge and let Azure AD sync between computers using Enterprise State Roaming.


Any plans for reporting on the admin side for how many users accepted the KFM prompt vs how many are ignoring it?


@Ryan Morash


Good feedback I will pass it on.

Senior Member

I have the new version too (18.116.0610.0002), and updated the administrative templates, but I don't see the feature in the actual client yet. When will that be? This is an amazing feature :)

Super Contributor

Thanks @Ryan Morash and @Stephen Rose, I'd like to see reporting on who accepted the KFM prompt and who is ignoring as well if possible.

Regular Visitor
Ok, I'll be that guy... Will this feature be available on the macOS onedrive app?
Not applicable

No the existing macOS app doesn't support any redirection and that's OS limitation not due to Onedrive. 

New Contributor

Same problem as @Martin Bengtsson .  Have updated the Group Policy templates with the new ADMX/ADML files from Production Ring 18.111.0603.0004, and applied the settings that configure Known Folder functionality.    But after upgrading the OneDrive client on the desktop to the new 18.111.0603.0004 version I'm still not seeing any of the new functionality that is described in this article.     

Senior Member

It's here baby. I just got the new client and this popped up (due to me having the GPOs preconfigured)

2018-07-04 09_03_14-OneDrive - Kromann Reumert.png

New Contributor

Hey @Martin Bengtsson , what GPO settings did you configure to make it work ?


I've got:

  • Prevent users from moving their Windows known folders to OneDrive = Disabled  (ie. ensuring the user cannot disable the Known Folder redirection to OneDrive)
  • Prevent users from redirecting their Windows known folders to their PC = Enabled (ie. ensuring the user cannot redirect Known Folders from OneDrive back to their pc)
  • Prompt users to move Windows known folders to OneDrive = Enabled <with our Tenant GUID specified>
  • Silently redirect Windows known folders to OneDrive = Enabled <with our Tenant GUID specified> and | Show notification to users after folders have been redirected = Yes

Still no joy on my end.  

Senior Member

So a colleague and I are both on the insider ring for the sync tool, both have the same Sync client version, he has KFM available in his Sync client settings, but for me it isn't available.  I previously had redirected my Documents folder to my OneDrive for Business folder (which caused a number of issues where I had more than one computer, but that's a different story!), which is really the only difference between our two configurations.  So is it possible that when redirecting my Documents folder originally to OneDrive for Business folder it has hardcoded (in the registry) a switch to disable KFM.  Or is anyone aware of other issues that could prevent KFM being enabled in the client?
I've raised the question with our MS DSE, but I'm still awaiting feedback.
Any help would be very much appreciated.

Occasional Contributor

How does this work when a person has two PCs, and so two Desktops, two Documents folders, etc.?


Frequent Contributor

@Richard SharpIt will merge the two folders. I have been redirecting my documents and picture folder before this option came available by moving the Documents location to my OneDrive for Business and always after a clean install (so when the local folders are nearly empty).


Today I set the redirection in OneDrive for my desktop folder. I did this both on my desktop computer and on my laptop. I now have all the files on both computers :)


Doesn't UE-V require a file server set up for it?  This defeats the purpose of moving the user's data to the cloud and having fewer servers for IT to manage.

Needing a server for UE-V would be needless complexity just to sync Favorites when IE Favorites is already a Windows known folder location that could easily be synced to OneDrive.  

If UE-V could store the files in the user's OneDrive, that could have been a solution, but since it requires a UNC path, it cannot.  We do not want to create more dependencies on IT-managed servers to maintain, patch and back up when we are migrating as much as we can to the cloud.   We are in the process of migrating user data on current file servers to SharePoint and OneDrive so we can decommission them.


The Favorites folder is just another folder in the user's Windows user profile to sync and it already works.  I don't understand why Microsoft would be so hell bent on excluding it.

In this case, we will need to forget about this KFM feature and use the earlier OneDrive folder redirection that allows adding Favorites and additional known folders such as music and videos etc..

Occasional Visitor

This is cool.


but what if I have my PC or laptop get infected with ransomware and the files in my desktop get encrypted? please let us know what will happen next.



Frequent Contributor

Is the technology under the hood here just updating the registry settings in this key plus a folder/file copy (or is it move?) function?


HKCU:\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders


Because redirecting the following folders to OneDrive was always a sensible thing to do, I've written as PowerShell script to set the values in the above key to OneDrive folder.


Why are the Music, Videos and Downloads folders also not handled?

Frequent Contributor

Also, what happens if the user has two or more OneDrive accounts? Does it ask/know which one to use?

Frequent Contributor

Also, then you say "Targeted release" - is that Office semi-annual targeted or the setting in Office 365? Gets rather confusing with "Targeted" used for two things. It's really confusing where OneDrive sits as the basic client is installed in basic Windows 10. The client versions always seem to confuse. It seems a complete lottery which build you get on a new laptop. Sometimes, on-demand is missing, sometimes its there etc.

Occasional Contributor

Thanks, @Michiel van den Broek - I'm not sure this merging of desktops and documents across multiple computers will suit everyone and all situations, but it is interesting, and good to know!



Regular Contributor
After copying the OneDrive.admx file from client version 18.116.0610.0002 to the group policy central store for my domain, I am getting an error when I expand the Administrative Templates folder in Group Policy Management Editor. The error reads: Resource '$(string.BlockKnownFolderMove)' referenced in attribute displayName could not be found. File \\domain.com\SysVol\domain.com\Policies\PolicyDefinitions\OneDrive.admx, line194, column 251 I've tried re-copying the file from a different source computer running the same version, and got the same result. Has anyone else run into this?
Occasional Contributor

@Steve Whitcher, that sounds like you didn't copy the appropriate OneDrive.adml file over to the Central Store

I have two questions about this:

- what happens if there is already a folder 'pictures' or 'documents' on your OneDrive

- what is the user experience is one of the folders contains an unsupporte file?

Regular Contributor
Thanks, that was it exactly. I was looking for the EN-US folder when copying it over and didn't see one... didn't think to use the adml file that was sitting in the same folder as the admx.
Frequent Contributor

@Richard SharpI think users will like it, but a heads up before you do the change will be appreciated. I think you want to perform this change in a controlled way. User by user, which is easy in the small organizations I manage. In large organizations that is not an option of course. My own use of the desktop is that I want it to be empty, but I see a lot of users that just store all their important documents there… 


In my own use of computer use I need to change one thing: I often use the desktop (folder) as an easy to reach temporary place to store files, a quick way to back-up a file or folder that's giving a problem in OneDrive when I need to troubleshoot the real folder. Or when a user has really large files (video or Outlook PST's) stored in OneDrive that take ages to upload. So I need to change my behaviour to use a temp folder on the user's hard drive. :)


@Michiel van den Broek


Just as an FYI- we don't recommend putting .pst's into OneDrive as they are constantly updating and therefore can cause sync issues. You can easily block them from synching via the Admin console by adding .pst as a file not to sync

Frequent Contributor

@Stephen RoseThese are not PST's that are used on a daily bases and not part of a mail configuration. The user have created them in the past, on previous jobs or whatever to transfer mails and just want to keep them for future reference. So they end up in their local files and folders and when I migrate them to Office 365 I move their files and folders in OneDrive. Often without me checking every sub of a sub of a subfolder :-). 

Not applicable

@Michiel van den Broek that works fine as long as these users don't have them loaded into their Outlook. Soon as you add a pst file to Outlook even if you don't add to it or change it, gets a bit changed by Outlook every-time. So that entire PST has to re-sync.  The pst's should be if they can be, imported in as archives so you don't have to deal with this issue!

Frequent Contributor

@DeletedCould you explain what you mean with import as archives? Is that a simple import in Outlook or does Office 365/Exchange Online have other features?

Regular Visitor
I also have an issue with the sync client; I do not have the "Auto Save" feature in the sync client however I do have the KFM GPOs from the ADM/ADMX files of the same build. Also running build 18.111.0603.0004. This question was brought up multiple times. Can anyone give a direct answer?

I am building some new machines with Windows 10 1803 latest CU. They are only getting Build 18.091.0506.007 which doesn't have Auto Save tab yet. My machine has 18.116.0610.0002 which does and I gather is still an insider build. However 18.111.0603.0004 is supposed to be release now and includes KFM. Any idea when that version will be generally pushed?

Not applicable
Occasional Contributor

Thanks, @Michiel van den Broek - I work in a large university with more than 10,000 accounts potentially eligible for this, so anything we do will have to be opt-in.


Not applicable
I have been roaming my windows user folder since ages. In simple: create in OneDrive a folder called Desktop, and in your PC, change the property Location of Windows user Desktop from default location to that folder in OneDrive (after OneDrive has been synced to your PC),then you are done. Simple. Same for other folders. By the way, why this update assumes Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders are important to protect while Music, Videos and Downloads are not? We should have the chance to decide which folders are important to us, therefore i stick to my "technology".
Regular Visitor

You know you can simply drag and drop the folders? No need to edit the properties.  Open your Users folder, go into your folder, and drag the ones you need to cloud base.  I have been doing this manually for a couple of years.  I use the built in windows 10 app as it is much better than the For Business version. I don't have any servers to maintain so I cannot use AD GPO, but it is a small company.  I have a few Powershell scripts that I run when configuring machines so that OneDrive initialises and configures itself. Then a doc on how to move the folders. I'm hoping that the new updates will allow me to take this one step further.  I'm just concerned about existing folders in the cloud etc.

Frequent Contributor

>Any idea when that version will be generally pushed?


Does anyone know when/how OneDrive gets updated? I've never fully understood. Is it:


  1. An isolated auto-updating application (not that many Windows app auto-update like Android)
  2. Updated as part of Office one-click updates?
  3. As part of Windows 10 updates?
  4. Something else

The versions do seem a bit all over the place. I've recently rebuilt a laptop with v1803 and it had an older version of OneDrive.

Frequent Contributor

@Helios CommsAs far as I know it's:

1. %localappdata%\Microsoft\Onedrive\OneDriveStandaloneUpdater.exe is run as a scheduled task. 

I run this app manually if a user signs in for the first time and gets a fresh profile. Depends on which options I need before configuring their OneDrive. In the past I had to wait to long before OneDrive was updated with the Files On Demand option for instance.

Frequent Contributor
@Michiel van den Broek- thanks for that. Good call. Hadn't spotted that entry before.
New Contributor

Is this using the same back end as  folder redirection managed by GPO - i.e. a client side extension?

Established Member

Great news, but to be clear, how would we 'clean up' without having to do per-user changes if we previously used folder redirection of documents to achieve mostly the same thing?


As the redirection is a enviroment variable, that i'm guessing is written to HKCU, i would also guess that removal of the policy applying the redirect and enablement of the new settings from the new ADM/X files would suffice for newer user logins, as the new users would just get the new ADM/X settings.

However what about existing users/re-directions, any effect on those? Or is the new OneDrive client smart enough to either correct it or ignore it?



@Vasil Michev - The tenant for which you applied the group policy is the tenant that will get your stuff.


Did you manually create a folder named "Document" in your OneDrive? That would cause the sync engine to rename is and create the "special" Documents folder to map to.

@Andrew Mastroianni - If the folders are already pointed to OneDrive, then the group policy to point them to OneDrive is applied, it is a no-op. The folders are already pointed to the correct location so nothing happens. 

@Rachel Nizhnikov no GPO here, that's my home PC. I simply had a folder redirection in place and at some point, a "Documents 1" folder appeared out of nowhere. What's even more interesting is that to this date, I'm still on 18.091.0506.0007 so I don't even see the relevant controls in the ODFB client settings.

Occasional Contributor

OH EM GEE, Happy Monday!

@Stephen RoseThis is really cool feature. Thanks for developing this.


Hello, will this feature support also cached Offline Sync Center directories?? This would be a great solution but our users have Documents redirected to network share for backup and business continuity reasons. That means some sub folders within Documents are cached localy to CSC cache some are Online only = data are on server side only.  Will the KFM be able to handle this?? 

Version history
Last update:
‎Aug 24 2018 09:19 AM
Updated by: