The power of feedback from the community will bring OneDrive placeholders back to Windows 10. Back in Windows 8.x, Microsoft introduced the concept of placeholders for OneDrive. Basically, this feature was meant to only store a very small piece of metadata with a thumbnail about a particular file. Then whenever you double-click the “placeholder” for a particular file, OneDrive would download the remaining pieces of data to make the file usable. This is very similar to files you access through a web browser — you can see a list of files, but you need to click and download the files before you can open them.
One of the advantages of placeholders was to enable devices with limited storage to be able to access hundreds of gigabytes utilizing only a fraction of the local storage. However, an internet connection will always be required.
The issue with the placeholders approach was that not everyone really had a good understanding of how the feature worked. For example, a big number of everyday users complaint of not being able to access their files, even though they could see them in their computer. Of course, the reason was the problem that they were offline and they didn’t manually set to make the needed files available offline.
In Windows 10, Microsoft pulled the plug on placeholders in favor of selective sync, which forces users to sync all their files they want to make available offline. This means that users need 1GB of local storage for each gigabyte of OneDrive storage they want to access in their computer.
For those who understood the feature was a very upsetting news. However, today, a new report from Thurrott, suggests that Microsoft is expected to bring back OneDrive placeholders with the release of Windows 10 Redstone, which should arrive in Spring 2016 (possibly in June).
While, indeed this is a good news for many users who had to resource to different workaround to simulate placeholders, it will be interesting to see how the software giant is planning to implement the feature. Perhaps, selective sync will be the default configuration in Windows 10 with an option to enable placeholders for people who understand the feature, or may be Microsoft figured out a way to make OneDrive placeholders work for everyone. We’ll know soon enough.
Is OneDrive placeholders a feature you miss in Windows 10? Do you like the idea of having the feature back in the operating system? Tell us in the comments below.