How to bring OneDrive placeholder back to Windows 10

Here's how you can bring back placeholders to Onedrive on Windows 10. It's not the same, but it won't waste much of your hard drive space.

OneDrive - One place for everything in your life

In Windows 10, Microsoft has included various new changes to the operating system. However, OneDrive also received new improvements, but some of the new changes weren’t well received. This is the case of file placeholder, in Windows 10, the software giant decided to remove these “smart file” on an attempt to make OneDrive easier to use by users.

For those who are not familiar with “placeholder”, these are pointers that look like actual files when you browse OneDrive from your computer, but they only contain a thumbnail and metadata information. And the actual file only gets downloaded once you open the file.

Apparently this caused some confusion among users, so Microsoft is testing new changes that make it more clear what files are online and which are offline. The problem is that without placeholders, you can’t search files in your computer that are stored in OneDrive. Fortunately, I came across a great article from McAkins Online that details a workaround to this problem. Basically all you have to do is map your OneDrive to your computer like if it was network drive, then you can view all the files without having to go online or having to download all the files from the cloud service.

In this Windows 10 guide, you’ll learn the steps to map an OneDrive account to mimic placeholders on your computer, which will allow you to access files stored in the cloud without having to sync them first.

How to bring back placeholders to OneDrive

  1. Sign-in to your OneDrive account in your web browser

  2. Click on Files

  3. From the address bar copy the CID ID. This is the part of the URL after “?cid=”. The URL looks something like this: In this case, I will copy the this part d1sareageat38asde9ec6.

  4. Open File Explorer and go to This PC

  5. From the ribbon menu, go to Computer, and then click Map Network Drive

  6. In the Folder field type the following address:

    And at the end of the URL append the CID ID, you copied in step 3. It should look like this:
  7. Make sure you check the Reconnect at sign-in and click Finish

Now the drive should appear under This PC. Here, you can also right-click the drive and name it OneDrive to make better for the eye.

Though, this is a great workaround for Windows 10 users, there are some benefits and some limitations:


  • Browse all your OneDrive files from the File Explorer.
  • Search for files without having to sync anything.
  • No syncing require, so little space is used.
  • You can open files with the appropriate software quickly and easily.
  • You can create, rename, and delete files as you please.


  • You always need an internet connection. No offline browsing or adding and removing files.
  • You can’t make set the files to be stored offline or copy them to your local hard drive. The best way to sync files is by using the new selective sync in OneDrive.
  • Slow file browsing.

Update: Be aware that this workaround may not work for everybody. Although, it works in certain cases, some users are reporting that mapping the OneDrive drive to File Explorer won’t work and others can map the cloud storage drive, but it will show up as an empty drive.

Update, March 28, 2016: After a numerous feedback, Microsoft is bringing back placeholders back to Windows 10. User will see the feature back with the first Redstone update rolling out later in 2016.

Source McAkins Online

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].