From "Available on this device" to "Always available on this device"

Iron Contributor

With Files On-Demand, I am trying to understand the point of changing the status from "Available on this device" to "Always available on this device".


As I understand it, as soon as the status becomes "Available on this device" , OneDrive maintains a sync'ed copy available both online and on the local device. If so, what difference does it make when the status is changed to "Always available on this device"?

15 Replies
best response confirmed by Christophe Humbert (Iron Contributor)

"Always available on this device" means that you explicitly requested to sync permanently the item. Hence the system will never automatically delete the local copy.

"Available on this device" means that the item has been used locally and hence temporarily synced to the device. Hence the system will automatically delete the local copy when needed.

Makes sense?

Thanks Salvatore. It does make sense but still raises some questions. What does "when needed" exactly mean? And where is this documented?

Sorry, but I have never seen it documented...

Let us know if you find some detailed official article on this subject.

This time (end of 2017) there is no difference between the two diffrent status (local available) and always available). The difference is only a different Attribute in NTFS.

I have written 2 articles in German language, (have had no time to translate it to english)


The 3 Status of OneDrive Files on Demand (Part1)

2nd part is going a little bit deeper into NTFS

so try it with google translation


Hans, MVP Office Servers and Services, Mr.OneDrive


@Stephen Rose

Can you please tell us if and when the local copy of a file marked as "Available on this device" is automatically deleted by the system?

Instead, I assume that the local copy of a file marked as "Always available on this device" is never deleted automatically. Am I correct?

You are correct.


Only files that have been downloaded and not marked as Always Available On This Device may have the local version removed only if the disk is running out of space and the file has not been used recently.

Thanks, Stephen!

All is perfectly clear, now!

Hi Christophe, 

I have had a same question, and now I got an answer. Below is Summary


1. Available on this device

    . It means this folder or file temporarily occupy your space in your computer.


    . For instance, if you move any file in your PC into your onedrive folder, then sync will be started, but this sync is only available when you have internet connection. 


    . It means that if all the file or folder is synced between your machine onedrive and on-line onedrive, then this file will become only online available file or folder. And sync is finalized, then this file anymore occupy your space in your PC.


2. Always available on this device

    . It means this folder or file permanently occupy your space. 


 3. Available when online. 

    . It means that you need internet connection


    . Available on this device will be chanted into Available when online if sync is finished. 


Is everything clear? 


Best regards, 



You stated for Answer #2 that 


Always available on this device

    . It means this folder or file permanently occupy your space


Does this mean that your folder/file is permanently on your computer and erased off your OneDrive Cloud. Or does it mean that it's permanently on your computer and at the same time, on the OneDrive as well??

There's always an instance of the files on the Cloud. The status only determines what happens on your device.

Windows 10 has a feature called Storage Sense.  So you can set the limit of a disk to say 90% before it begins to trim old unused files.  This is incredibly useful for small SSD drives.

What does this mean for One Drive?

When Storage Sense goes out to trim from temp folders and such, it also looks at One Drive and will re-cloud the oldest files you opened and are resident on the machine so they are set back to the cloud.  If you on occasion open files that are very important to you, you can set them to always on this machine and they will not be subject to this cleanup routine.

@Salvatore Biscari 
this seems misleading. At least in the way I understood you. I mean the statement that "system will never automatically delete the local copy" for "Always available on this device" option.
I have MS Team and there are some files. I synced sharepoint folder containing those files to my laptop. I chose "always available" option in OneDrive. Then I created a copy of a 1 file on my machine, this file appeared in MS Teams. Then I deleted the file using MS Teams. I expected that this file will remain on my local machine as you suggested (system shouldn't delete local copy as I understood). But it was gone...
Maybe I misunderstood something? But it doesn't look like always working this way (at least with syncing of Sharepoint folders)

UPD: after some test I found how it works. So if I created some file using online version of OneDrive - it will be automatically downloaded on my machine to the folder which was marked as "always available". But it will not be automatically downloaded to machine if folder was not marked with this option (always available). So it works one direction but doesn't work another. Hope it's clear

The difference makes sense for Windows 10 users due to my knowledge with storage sense feature included, When you open an online-only file, it downloads to your device and becomes a locally available file. You can open a locally available file anytime, even without Internet access. If you need more space, you can change the file back to online only. Just right-click the file and select “Free up space.” or With Storage Sense turned on, these files will become online-only files after the time period you've selected.

Only files that you mark as "Always keep on this device" have the green circle with the white check mark. These always available files download to your device and take up space, but they’re always there for you even when you’re offline.
so i have not seen anywhere anyone say what happens to files that flagged as "always available on this device". in regards to are they ever sync'd to the cloud? all kinds of stuff about what happens to physical file on harddrive when status is changed i.e deleted or restored(downloaded to hard drive). So is a file flagged as "always available on this device" automatically synced to onedrive in the cloud, or do you have to do that manually? If never synced how do you manually sync? I do not have issue with space, right now, but do notice considerable lag from cloud to download. so would like to have all files as "always available on this device". is it risky?

which of these results in the fastest access when you are online with internet access and logged in to one drive?   I am having very very slow response to getting files.   I guess asked in a different way what is the order of access ?  i.e.  if file is local (always available on this device) does the file get sourced directly from your hard drive?  then if it changes is the sync to the cloud(onedrive) done asynchronously in the background  both during access/changing,  and at time of save.    is the save done to hard drive first then synced in background to one drive,   or saved to one drive then synced to hard drive.     the reason I ask is that depending on the speed and reliablity of your internet connect it can make a difference.   I cannot find any info on how the internals seem to work.    since i converted I have noticed significantly slower access ( could be something else, but need to understand the details here).