How to make OneDrive files online-only automatically to free up space on Windows 10

Storage sense can now make content you don't use on OneDrive available only online to free up space — Here's how to configure the future.

Free up space with Storage sense Locally available cloud content
Free up space with Storage sense Locally available cloud content

On Windows 10, Storage sense is a feature that helps you to free up space automatically when your device is running low on storage deleting temporary files, emptying your recycle bin, and cleaning up the Downloads folder.

Starting with Windows 10 version 1809 (October 2018 Update), Storage sense is getting updated with a new feature that makes unused content stored on your OneDrive folder available online-only to free up space.

The ability to make files online-only has been part of the OneDrive for quite a while as part of the Files On-demand set of features. However, it was a feature that you needed to use manually, and Windows 10 version 1809 is now simply adding a new option to automate the process.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to configure Storage sense to make your unused OneDrive content locally stored on your device available on-demand.

How to make OneDrive folder take less local space

If you’re running low on storage space, Storage sense can make content that you haven’t access after certain amount time in the OneDrive folder available online-only, and here’s how:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Devices.

  3. Click on Storage.

  4. Under “Storage sense, click the Change how we free up space automatically link.

    Storage sense settings on Windows 10 version 1809
    Storage sense settings on Windows 10 version 1809
  5. Under “Locally available cloud content,” use the drop-down menu and select when content should become available online-only. Options available, include:

    • Never.
    • 1 day.
    • 14 days.
    • 30 days.
    • 60 days.

    Storage sense Locally available cloud content option
    Storage sense Locally available cloud content option
  6. Click the Clean now button.

Once you’ve completed the steps, content that hasn’t been opened on your device in more than time you specified will become available only with an internet connection. However, you’ll still be able to see the files in the OneDrive folder, but you’ll need an internet connection to re-hydrate the file you want to open.

When using this feature, those files that you selected as “Always keep on this device” won’t be affected.

In the case that you don’t see these settings, it’s because you’re not running a supported version of Windows 10. The OneDrive option appears in the Storage sense settings page starting with Windows 10 October 2018 Update. If you’re running version 1803 or earlier, you can still use this feature, but you need to manually right-click the files and select the Free up space option.

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].