OneDrive taking up space on C drive

Steel Contributor

My OneDrive is taking up a lot of space on my C drive. I thought OneDrive was in the Cloud. Did I set it up wrong? Any tips or ideas on how to save space on my C drive when I am using OneDrive? Thanks!

41 Replies
best response confirmed by Tim Hunter (Steel Contributor)

You might want to read up on it a bit. Assuming you are using recent W10 version, you can configure Files on demand:

Hi @Vasil Michev 


I was able to change the settings so the files are not stored locally, however, once you click on a file in File Explorer, then it downloads locally. Is there a way to stop the downloading when you click on the file or is the only way with the right-click then View Online?

If you simply click it, without opening the file, it should not be downloaded. If it does download it, it means you have some additional software messing things up - check every "scanner" type of application you have, as well as every application that has added entries to the right-click menu, applications that generate file previews/templates, etc.

Yes, the files only download locally if I double-click them. So then if I no longer want them locally I have to right-click "Free Up Space"? I am just curious as we are going to have several users that will share and edit files out of a Team OneDrive and I don't want a bunch of local copies on each users C drive. 

Well that's the "on demand" part - applications need to have access to the entire file to work with it. If you don't want that to happen at all, ditch the sync client and only access OneDrive via the browser.

That makes total sense. Thanks for all your help @Vasil Michev !!

It is also possible to move the library to another (larger) local drive, if you have one.

Hi @Tim Hunter,


You should consider filePod. 

filePod is miniature, encrypted, cloud-enabled, personal storage device (with support for up to 2TB SDXC card). It can be configured with as many OneDrive accounts and you can use it on any of your computers interchangeably.

To your computer, it looks like a simple USB flash drive but it has its own quad-core processor and does all the synchronization between your cloud storage accounts independently and automatically using its own WiFi connection. So you can even switch computers and continue working on any of your laptops at any time.

It will also natively work with other cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive allowing you to easily move your content around and organize it the way you want it. It is now available on Kickstarter -- 

A small, personal, smart quad-core computing device with up to 2TB SDXCA small, personal, smart quad-core computing device with up to 2TB SDXCUse as an ordinary USB drive (e.g. via Microsoft Explorer)Use as an ordinary USB drive (e.g. via Microsoft Explorer)Add as many OneDrive  accounts you likeAdd as many OneDrive accounts you like

@Tim Hunter 

This is a basic settings while we configure/sync one drive for business. When you sync one drive that time you can choose another drive instead of C:\ drive. 

One drive is a cloud storage but when you sync it on your system it will consume local storage but there is option that you mention which files you don't need to sync.

Hope this will help, if still you have any query than please let us know. We are here to help

my cloud one drive is full. one drive is taking uo 164gb on my hard drive

@Tim Hunter 

@Vasil Michev 
Still confused.  I have a lot of crucial data on my PC D: drive.  I tried to put into the OneDrive cloud as a backup and to be able to access it from elsewhere.  It ended up putting a lot of it, but not all, on my C: drive, who knows why.  I now have two versions of some of the data.  This poses a serious dilemma.  It doesn't seem to sync but I'm afraid that if I delete the C: drive version, it will also delete the critical D: drive version.  I just don't understand OneDrive at all.  It promises so much but delivers a hotchpotch.  Can someone please explain it in plain English, not computer jargon?  

@nino- this kickstarter has been cancelled.

@Bobapingu I am in the same boat. I would like OneDrive to mirror my C: drive and serve as a backup, instead I think I also have two or three versions of the same data. Also, every time I change anything in a file, OneDrive immediately begins to process the changes. This is great for small files, but when I am working with >1GB rasters is ESRI ArcMap OneDrive consumes my college-budget internet. 


Essentially, I would like to decrease the storage OneDrive is consuming on my C: drive without losing all of the data. Is this possible?



I feel your pain.  OneDrive appears to be a poorly thought through concept intended to push everyone onto cloud storage.  That meant someone else holds all your private and intellectual property.  Despite all the security safeguards, when you die, who gets to own your IP?  Your next of kin?  No, they won't know where to find it if they even know it exists.  Possession is nine tenths of the law and Microsoft possesses it.  Adobe and others are doing the same thing with photographic IP.
I have a lot of photographic data and private correspondence that I keep on an internal D: drive.  This gets backed up on an internal E: drive and the E: drive is mirrored onto an external X: drive.  I thought I could simplify matters by using OneDrive, exactly as you thought.  Not so!  I found I had the same data in triplicate on OneDrive, the C: and D: drives and never sure which was the latest.  In frustration, I checked every file for age, deleted the older files and kept the latest on D: drive.  So effectively I'm now happily out of OneDrive.  I must say, this was my third failed attempt to use OneDrive.  I may still be paying for the 1TB of storage that I never used.  That still needs to be checked.

I don't have the answer.  I wish you luck.  If you come up with an effective solution, please let me know.


I don't even understand OneDrive despite Mocrosoft continually telling me it's easy.  Yes, maybe I'm dumb.  However, your proposal sounds like a whole new level of complexity overlaid onto OneDrive.  Way too dangerous for my precious files.


I totally agree ... I just bought a new desktop and I was using OneDrive to sync between my laptop and desktop - until I suddenly got all these messages about running out of space ... wouldn't open certain crucial documents.   What a mess!   I do not recommend OneDrive at all.  Not user friendly at all!

I am a former Network Administrator and Onedrive still drives me bonkers.

It is taking up most of my space on my C drive.  I wanted to temporarily backup Onedrive from the C drive to a thumbdrive because I am going to move onedrive to a larger hard drive, and I do not trust that Microsoft will loose my data somewhere in the process.   The problem is when I backup the data from C drive to the thumbdrive, instead of copying the data from C drive, Onedrive wants to download the data from the cloud.  With the nearly 1 terrabyte of data I have stored there, it is going to take 40 hours to download and use up my monthly allotted amount of data I can download from my internet provider.  I am trying to figure out why it is trying to download it from the cloud if I am copying it from my local C drive.  If I turn off the network and try to copy it from the C drive, it tells me that an unknown error has occurred.  Then when I move onedrive to another drive, it is going to try and download the 1 terrabyte of data again.  What a truly stupid system. 

Yeah, welcome to OneDrive. It's really weird. Microsoft showers us with platitudes ad nauseam over OneDrive yet they are totally crap at explaining what it really is. I use it purely as a backup and forget drive and interact with it as little as possible because it's just too hard.

Yeah, so many things bug me about Microsoft, Please don't get me started.  I even received my MCSE and a few other certifications from them back in the 90's and early 2000's, and I still fight with their over bloated Windows that does not always work right.  For example, my search, cortana, news, DTS, and a few other Microsoft apps always stop working at random times on all my computers.  Anyway, I finally got my onedrive moved to another drive but never made a backup to a USB.  I was frustrated with Microsoft again and needed a place to voice my displeasure.  Thanks for the response.


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best response confirmed by Tim Hunter (Steel Contributor)

You might want to read up on it a bit. Assuming you are using recent W10 version, you can configure Files on demand:

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