Microsoft brings placeholders feature back to OneDrive, but now the feature is known as OneDrive Files On-Demand, and users can try it immediately as a preview — of course, if you’re a participant of the Windows Insider Program, and you’re running Windows 10 build 16215 or later.
OneDrive Files On-Demand, similar to placeholders, is the concept to store just tiny pieces of metadata with a thumbnail of a file, instead of downloading the entire file to your computer. This process allows to access hundreds of gigabytes of OneDrive files without having to download them and use storage on your computer.
If you need to use a file, you simply double-click the placeholder which will trigger the rest of the download, and once opened it’ll stay on your device.
OneDrive File On-Demand will not change the way you already do work, and it’s available for OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, as well as for SharePoint Online.
The only difference is that files will now include three types of markers depending on the status of the file. If you see an icon with a blue and white cloud, it means that the file is online-only, and it’s not taking space on your device. In this case, you simply need to double-click the file to download the rest of the file.
Once the file is on your device, you’ll notice that now it shows an icon with a green check mark, which means that you can access the file even when you don’t have an internet connection. If you want to make room on your device, you can always right-click the file and select Free up space, which sends it back to online-only.
For files and folder you need to access offline, you can always click them and select Always keep on this device. Then you’ll know they’re synced because their icons are solid green with white check marks.
OneDrive On-Demand is available now for testers. The OneDrive client should update automatically if you’re running Windows 10 build 16215 or later, but you can always update manually with this download. Everyone else will get this feature with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update later this year.