2 Answers to “How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only”

How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only?

  • 1st Method: Making OneDrive Files Locally Available
  • 2nd Method: Deleting Local Copies of OneDrive Files

OneDrive Files offers numerous benefits for users, including the ability to access files from anywhere, sync documents across devices, and save valuable hard drive space by storing content in the cloud. In this article, we will focus on the advantage of saving hard drive space and provide instructions on managing your OneDrive files effectively.

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How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only

Categorizing OneDrive Files

When viewing your OneDrive account through File Explorer, files can be classified into three categories:

  1. Online-Only Files: These files don’t occupy space on your local machine and can only be accessed with an internet connection. They are denoted by a cloud icon.
  2. Locally Available Files: Former online-only files that have been downloaded to your device are categorized as locally available. They are marked by a green tick in a white circle.
  3. Always Available Files: These files are downloaded onto your computer immediately after creation and are consistently accessible. They are represented by a white tick in a green circle.

How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only

How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only

If you want to remove OneDrive files from your local computer without deleting them from your cloud storage, the approach depends on whether the files are always available or locally available.

Making OneDrive Files Locally Available

To ensure constant access to OneDrive files on your local PC, even when offline, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on OneDrive in the left-hand column.
  3. Navigate to the desired file or folder.
  4. Right-click on the file or folder.
  5. Select “Always keep on this device.”
  6. The icon will change to a white tick in a green circle, and the selected files will sync to your PC. The time taken for synchronization depends on the file sizes. Once the process is complete, any modifications made to the files on other computers will automatically update in your local copy.

If the category icons are not visible next to the file, launching the OneDrive app should resolve the issue.

Deleting Local Copies of OneDrive Files

When you have finished working on a project and are ready for the files to reside solely in the cloud, follow these steps to unsync OneDrive files from your PC:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on OneDrive in the left-hand column.
  3. Navigate to the desired file or folder.
  4. Right-click on the file or folder.
  5. Choose “Free up space.”
  6. The green circle will revert to a cloud icon, indicating that OneDrive has deleted the local copies of the file or folder, freeing up space on your hard drive.
How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only

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Efficiently Deleting Local Copies on OneDrive

If you need to free up storage space by removing all local copies, there is a faster method available:

  1. Launch the OneDrive app.
  2. Go to Settings > Sync and back up.
  3. Expand the Advanced Settings menu.
  4. Click on the “Free up disk space” option in the Files On-Demand section.
  5. OneDrive will now store all files in the cloud, requiring an internet connection to access them. Ensure that you have sufficient storage capacity to avoid any loss of important data.

Removing OneDrive Local Folders with Selective Sync

If you prefer not to remove every local folder from your OneDrive, you can utilize OneDrive’s Selective Sync feature. This allows you to choose which folders should be kept online and which ones you want to store locally.

To remove specific folders from your computer:

  1. Open the OneDrive app.
  2. Go to Settings > Account.
  3. Click the “Choose folders” button.
  4. Uncheck the folders you wish to remove from your computer.
  5. Click OK to save the changes.

Utilizing Selective Sync is just one of the many tips that can help you maximize the benefits of using OneDrive.

Deleting OneDrive Files Without Removing Them from Your PC

Before proceeding with the deletion of OneDrive files, it’s important to note that OneDrive uses a two-way synchronization protocol. This means that when you delete a file or folder from OneDrive, it will also be deleted from your computer, and vice versa. To maintain a local copy on your PC while removing it from the cloud, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on OneDrive in the left-hand column.
  3. Navigate to the desired file or folder.
  4. Left-click on the file or folder to select it.
  5. Press CTRL + C to copy the file/folder.
  6. Navigate to the location where you want to save the local copy. Ensure you are not within the OneDrive file hierarchy in the left-hand panel.
  7. Press CTRL + V to paste the file into its new location.
  8. Return to OneDrive in the left-hand panel of File Explorer and delete the original file.

In some cases, certain files may prove challenging to delete. If you encounter this issue, refer to our guide on how to delete stubborn OneDrive files and folders.

Don’t Forget to Make Backups!

As with any process that involves modifying files and folders, it is always recommended to create backups beforehand. Backups can be made on other cloud services like Google Drive, on USB sticks, or on external hard drives. For enhanced file and folder protection, consider utilizing a secure cloud storage service.

By following these instructions, you can effectively manage your OneDrive files, optimize your storage space, and enjoy the convenience of accessing your files anytime, anywhere.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

About How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only

Q1. How to Delete OneDrive Files from Computer Only?

To delete OneDrive files without deleting them entirely, follow these steps:
Copy the file/folder from the OneDrive location.
Paste the file/folder outside the OneDrive folder.
Delete the original file from the OneDrive folder, keeping the local copy on your PC.

Q2. How do I delete local OneDrive files but not the cloud?

To delete local OneDrive files without removing them from the cloud, perform the following steps:
Open File Explorer and navigate to the desired file or folder.
Right-click on the file/folder and select “Free up space.”
The local copies will be deleted, but the files will remain stored in the cloud, freeing up space on your hard drive.

Q3. How do I save files to my computer instead of OneDrive?

To save files to your computer instead of OneDrive, use the following steps:
Open File Explorer and navigate to the file or folder in question.
Right-click on the file/folder and select “Always keep on this device.”
The files will be synced to your PC, allowing you to access them even when offline.

Q4. How do I delete files from the OneDrive cloud only?

To delete files from the OneDrive cloud only, follow these steps:
Open File Explorer and navigate to the desired file or folder in OneDrive.
Right-click on the file/folder and choose “Delete” or “Move to Recycle Bin.”
The files will be deleted from the cloud storage while remaining intact on your local computer.

Q5. Can you remove files from OneDrive but keep them on PC?

To remove files from OneDrive but keep them on your PC, follow these steps:
Copy the file/folder from the OneDrive location.
Paste the file/folder outside the OneDrive folder on your computer.
You can then safely delete the file/folder from the OneDrive folder while retaining the local copy on your PC.

Q6. Does deleting files on OneDrive delete from the computer?

Yes, deleting files from OneDrive will also delete them from your computer. OneDrive uses a two-way synchronization protocol, meaning changes made in OneDrive will reflect on your computer and vice versa.

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