A look at the OneDrive updates in Windows 10 Technical Preview

Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 4:29 PM by CoreyRoth

The second update to the Windows 10 Technical Preview (Build 9879) came out today and there are a lot of exciting updated.  Today’s release in particular had a large number of changes in how OneDrive worked.  The way you sync files has changes and I am thinking this is going to lead us to a more reliable sync experience. 

Sync Changes

After you login for the first time, you will see a new prompt for OneDrive.  Clicking on it will allow you to select which folders you would like to sync.  If your OneDrive is massive like mine, then you understand the importance of selective sync. 


Select the folders that you want to sync and OneDrive will start doing it’s thing.  However, if you were running a previous build of Windows and had files synced already there will be a few peculiarities.  If you don’t select the folder here but you still have it on your PC, then you will get a notice after a while that there are some sync issues.


This notice instructs you to delete the folder on your local PC if you want it to fix itself.   This does in fact fix the issue.  Just delete the folder and the error goes away.   However, you may not want to do this if you aren’t sure things are synced back up to the cloud.  Instead if you decide you want to sync the folder in question, go back and choose it in the OneDrive settings.  To do this, you’ll find a new icon in your taskbar.  Click on it, go to Settings –> Choose Folders.  Here you can pick the folders you want to sync like you did.

Be careful here people!  Don’t ruin your day by accidently losing a folder in OneDrive.  Make sure your files are where you think they are.  I haven’t had any issues, but you can see where there is plenty of room for error here as we make this transition.

According to the Windows Blog, people really struggled with what files were synced and what were not.   For this reason, the direction is to not show any folder on the file system that has not been synced.  Therefore there may be folders in the cloud, that you cannot see unless you go to the OneDrive web site.  I’m not sure if I like this change or not.  They’ve added some nice enhancements to the shell (which I’ll cover shortly) and that means you cannot take advantage of these unless you have the files synced to your file system.

Progress Updates

When OneDrive is doing something, it’s actually easy to tell.  First, you’ll see a moving bar undeneath the cloud icon.  Even better though is if you hover over it, it will tell you how many files it is syncing and how large they are.  This is a great improvement!


Shell Changes

If you take a look at OneDrive on the file system, you’ll notice slightly different icons to indicate which folders are sycned and which one have issues.  You’ll notice a lot of mine have the red icon because I have the folder present but I am not syncing the file.


Right clicking on the folder, I can see in the context menu that my only option is to View Sync Problems.


However, when you click on a folder that you have synced, you get a few more options.


The first menu item is Share a OneDrive link.  Be careful with this one!  This will share whatever folder you have highlighted anonymously.  It will share the folder immediately anonymously and put the link in your clipboard. 


If you want to control what you share and what permissions, then be sure and use the More OneDrive sharing options link.  This will take you to OneDrive.com where you can fine-tune the permissions.

Lastly, the View on OneDrive.com link will open a web browser with a link directly to your document or folder.  I think these will be useful improvements when using explorer to view your synced files.

New Settings

There are some new settings in the OneDrive app.  Available by right clicking on the icon in your task bar and choosing settings.  One of the most exciting settings that you will find here is the setting Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC.


This setting disappeared from Windows 8.1 and I am glad it is back.  It lets you access any file on your PC through the OneDrive web site.  Just look for the list of PCs available in the navigation.  Clicking on it the first time will prompt you for a security check.  I assume it is supposed to send a text message to your phone like other checks but this time it just let me right in.


Once you continue, you will be able to see the files on your computer and access them.  This is great when you forgot to put a file in OneDrive.


Buried in the settings, on the Performance tab, you will also find a new setting Improve upload speed by uploading files in batches.


This leads me to believe that they have made improvements in how file syncing occurs.  I’ve selected in and I am going to see how performance goes, but it does warn you that it uses significantly more bandwidth.


I’m pretty excited about this latest round in improvements in OneDrive.  If you are running the latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, give it a try.  Just be careful so that you don’t accidently lose something.

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