Feature request: sync data folders without moving them to local OneDrive folder

New Contributor


Manually managing data storage in Windows is clumsy and difficult. The only thing worse than doing it manually is to have tools that 'sometimes or most often' work. Microsoft has introduced two PC solutions that haphazardly work and make PC administration a very difficult and painful process. 


Fix the way that OneDrive file sync and the Windows 10 option to 'change the default location for storing files' function so that PC data is CONSISTENTLY stored in ONE location.


Why does it matter?

  1. The inability to separate OS and Data files in Windows causes a great deal of trouble when trying to manage data access from multiple PCs and virtual PCs. This also creates performance bottlenecks, raises security risks, dramatically increases the complexity of managing data access for cloud access to data files, and creates ‘silos’ of data because many applications still use the default windows folders for storage (ie: c:\users\username\xxx).
  2. The usefulness of OneDrive cloud synchronization is offset by the highly problematic requirement that data be moved to a new folder on the local PC (ie: to OneDrive).
    • the folders are MOVED to a local OneDrive folder, however many applications continue to use the old folder locations
    • two data locations causes file versioning and duplicates (can't find the files, have to search for them in multiple locations)
  3. The combination of flaws in Microsoft ‘change default storage locations’ and the new OneDrive storage ‘move then sync’ turned PC management into an incredibly difficult task because there are now 3 locations where files can be found.

What should be done?

  1. Redirecting data onto an alternate drive/location should be built into Windows.
    • Define OS and root DATA locations during windows install
      • For example: OS files are put in C: and DATA files are put in D:
      • Single UI tool can change they system values for user files ( C:\Users\username)
      • This needs to work for ALL PC applications including Microsoft Office 
    • This used to work over a decade ago using the DOS SUBST command
  2. OneDrive needs to have two options 
    • data is moved to a different folder(ie: documents to Documents\OneDrive) and that syncs to the cloud
      • Google’s equivalent is Google Drive File Stream
    • data stays in place and those files sync to the cloud
      • Google’s equivalent is called Backup and Sync


1 Reply

This is indeed very important.

I have files on different drives, my Desktop is on C: and my photos and music on an external drive.

Based on how OneDrive works, if I want to sync everything then my options are,

1) To have my Desktop on my external drive (resulting in low speed and inability to access my desktop if I remove the USB drive)

2) To have all my files on the OS drive, which is a more expensive storage (resulting in risk of losing my documents when the next Windows update messes the OS)


With Google Drive I could sync all those folders with the cloud, but I now regretfully notice that the creators of Windows do not allow on their equivalent program a similar behavior.