Files On Demand settings lost on a fresh Windows 10 install

Occasional Contributor

Hi All

In my company, i use Windows 10 + OneDrive for Business + Files On Demand. The main reason is that i store a loooot of data in OneDriver, most of them i don't need locally and anyway my company laptop hard disk is smaller than the size od data i am allowed store in the cloud.

My company IT Dept sometimes need to reinstall out laptops with a fresh Windows 10 install. But in that case, my Files On Demand settings are lost, ie OneDrive on the fresh Windows 10 install will start dowloading again EVERYTHING from the cloud and i have to set-up manually again my folder-by-folder setting of Files On Demand, with is extremely long to do and almost impossible since i can not remember the setting for each folder. It also make the download extremely long for nothing as the vast majority of my data is only needed in the cloud.

Is there a way no to loose this Files On Demand setting on a fresh Windows 10 install, ie to have this setting stored not locally on the client side but on the server side ?


Most sincerely



14 Replies
No, all OneDrive client settings are local to the OS. I recommend setting up onedrive with your account and using selective sync but not selecting folders to make sure File-OnDemand is on first. Then Adding in all your folders.

Hi @Chris Webb First of all, thanks for the very quick reply. But i am not sure to understand how it helps for my issue. Indeed, even if set selective sync (Always keep a local copy, never keep a local copy, or allow the os to delete the local copy if space is needed) on files instead of folders, the issue is the same i guess : on a fresh Windows install by my company IT Dept, all folders/files will be syncdd back on my laptop...

Moreover, my OneDrive folder structure is hugely complex, as it is for most people in the world i guess. It is nearly impossible for me to set the syncing files on demande option on a file per file basis… there are indeed some huge chunks of my OneDrive folders tree that i want only in the cloud and thus i have set the "cloud only" option on the top folder. In the same way, i want a permanent copy of more than a few files, so i have to set the option on a folder and can not do it on each file one by one...





Your folder structure is irrelavant to the issue here. You setup sync, by not selecting folders, make sure Files on Demand is on. Then you go back into your options and pick sync folders, and just select all at the root save and done. Now you have a files on demand without downloading everything.

If you're trying to save all your document settings on a per folder basis it's not possible. However it is a good idea and would be neat if they did have a way to flag the folders on the cloud side for the setting to keep local or not so you could have that push down to each device so I would highly suggest adding a uservoice for it and posting it here, I would vote for the idea.

Hi @Chris Webb Not sure completely that i made my problem clear as English is not my native language and thus i have poorly explained it. What i would find nice is that everytime my IT Dept reinstall a fresh Windows 10 on my laptop, OneDrive could somehow know which folders/files i want in the cloud only, which folders/files i Always want a copy on my laptop and which folders/files i allow the OS to delete the local copy.

Last time IT reinstalled my laptop, all this setings were lost and my OneDrive dowloaded all my OneDrive data and i had to set again the Files On Demand options (cloud only, Always local, local that can be deleted) on my folders/files.


But my guess is that  what i am asking indeed does not exist and you kindly suggest me to post the request for this option on the MS uservoice, which i will do.

Yes correct, the client stores the settings and when reinstalling OS the settings get overwrote with it. Therefore need setup again.

Hi @Chris Webb this is really not a great idea not to remember the settings on the server side because :

- OneDrive gives  1TB of space which most laptops don't have. Thus, most of us keep most of their data in the cloud only. Having OneDrive trying to re-download everything will fail for users with a lot of data in the cloud since there is not enough space locally.

- On a fresh Windows 10 install, OneDrive will start to download everything locolly again, which can take an extremely long time depending on the data size of the data and the internet link speed. And only when this long download is done, the user will start setting again the syncing options to remove from local storage most of the data that was just dowloaded. At least, by default, on a fresh Windows 10 install, OneDrive should set all data to "cloud only" and let the user decide which ones to redowload and store locally.

- Having to set the syncing options again from scratch is almost impossible for people like me who don't have a simple organisation of data and syncing settings (for example, one top folder and all its content always in the cloud, another top folder and all its contents always locally… etc).

Not sure what you are talking about great Idea, I said I agree with the idea, I'm just telling you it's not possible now, and I gave you a work around and how you can setup a computer without first downloading everything, turning on the on-demand setting, then selecting all the root folders to now "Sync" the metadata / files to your machine without downloading them.
Yes! What Chris says works without issues! Also having the settings per client makes sense since all devices are different regarding space, what kind of documents needed etc...

But as i mentionned, i can  not remember my particular syncing setting for each folder and file… and even if i could remember it, it would take an incredible long amount of time to set it again… i feel that i do need the server side to remember it for me :)

Anyway, i followed your kind advice and i created a suggestion on uservoice :)

Do you need to remember it? You aren’t changing computer all too often I suppose and just set everything to FOD then through time you’ll find out what you need offline

Hi @adam deltinger

I thought about that but i think that most people do sync their OneDrive on one computer only, so i feel it would make sense to have at least the possibility to keep the syncing options on the server side for users who always want the same syncing options after a fresh Windows install. And at the same time, for users who want different syncing options across different devices, to allow them not to enable this option.
Moreover, i read @Chris Webb answers cafrefully, and i am not exactly sure i understood how his proposal allows that. But again, i am absolutely not a native English speaker, and i probably have misunterstood his answers. I will take time tonight at home to read his posts again.

It doesn't allow it, never said it did, but you said you had two problems, 1. it doesn't remember your settings which it doesn't. 2. you said when IT sets it up it downloads everything. That is what my work around eludes too. You don't have to download everything when setting up and that is what my instructions were geared towards.
No really, through time, i came to have a particularly "messy" setting if you want but this is the setting that suits me.
Moreover, half of my office time i am offline (i am a train/subway test engineer and when on a train in a tunnel 30m below groud level, i have no data connection whatsoever :-)) and thus i need some data to be always local, but not all of them (some have nothing to do on my harddsik as i need them rarely and i need them only when in the office and can just get OneDrive to dowload them when i want to access them and some can be stored locally but deleted when needed). Moreover, my company laptop hard disk size is far below the amount of cloud storage size so i can definitively anyway not store everything locally.

Lastly, Files On Demand allows to set the syncing options file by file if needed. So no harm to have a complex syncing setting and use it like that. I just think that, due to this high setting flexibility allowed by OneDrive, it would make perfect sense that the syncing options are somehow remembered on the server side.
Believe me, my IT Dept has a tendency to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch quite often on our laptops rather than finding solutions to some HW/SW issue we have. They already worked like taht years ago before we had the cloud storage, and i feel that now that we moved to a "all cloud solution" (Office/Microsoft 365), they do it even more :)