Now that I’m on a Windows 10 computer, I figure it’s time to learn how to use OneDrive too. Can you give me the basics so I can get started with this service, please?
First off, welcome to the world of Microsoft Windows 10. There’s a lot to like and you’ll definitely want to dig through the settings and preferences to have it match your expectations and requirements. Having said that, one of the best features of modern computing is cloud storage. Yes, there is an almost infinite amount of disk space online that you can access through your Internet connection. OneDrive is Microsoft’s entry into this busy world and they’ve done a really good job with integration. In fact, it’s so well integrated that you might not realize you’re using OneDrive at all, particularly if you have a fast network connection.
If you know zip about OneDrive you might start with Microsoft’s OneDrive basics page. Good overview content. I also strongly recommend you set up your account with the Microsoft Authenticator. It’s easy to set up (you’ll need a smartphone and it requires an app download) but makes your account so, so much more secure! Again, here’s an info page about Authenticator if you’ve never heard of it.
Having said that, let’s get OneDrive going. You’ll already need a live.com account but I suspect you’re already set up there and good to go. It’s hard to be running a modern Windows OS without a live.com account. Here’s the process of me logging in on one of my Windows PC systems using Authenticator, so you can see how it works!
Start by launching OneDrive. Easiest strategy is to search for OneDrive:
There’s that app! A click or tap and it’s launched. Which means it’s time to log in!
I’ve already set up Authenticator, but you could also log in with your password. So old school!
Instead, a tap or click on “Send notification” and here’s what I’ll see on the computer:
Meanwhile, on my iPhone, the Microsoft Authenticator app has popped up with a notification and when launched shows me this:
Without both elements I would have no idea how to proceed, but the process is really super easy: A tap on “84” on my iPhone display and within two or three seconds I’m logged in to OneDrive on my computer. It’s magic!
At this point you can quit the iPhone or Android app – you’re all done with it – and on the Windows PC, well, it’s not very glamorous. Just another folder. This one, however, is “in the cloud” not on your computer!
You can see that I have two folders on my own OneDrive account. Turns out the entire Microsoft Office suite and Office 365 all know how to work with OneDrive, so it’s really easy to forget that’s where all your files, images and photos are being stored. But they are, they’re being backed up, and if you accidentally lose or destroy your computer, you won’t lose a single darn file!
I could work within an Office app but it’s just as easy to drag and drop a file from my PC to the OneDrive virtual hard drive too, as you can see here:
It’ll then take a few seconds to upload the file, depending on how big the file is and how fast your connection is both. You might see something like this progress window:
More often than not this’ll flash past so quickly you won’t even notice.
This is where things get fun because now that the file is accessible online, you can get to it anywhere, from any computer. Even a Mac or Linux system, actually!
Not only that, you can jump to your folders and files in a Web browser on your own computer easily enough too. Just right click:
Choose “View online” and if it’s a file, it’ll open that file within the Web browser. If it’s a folder, you can see the folder and its contents online instead. Here’s the Documents folder in Edge, for example:
Notice all the functions on that third toolbar, and, of course, the “Log File Analysis and Co…” Word document on the bottom row too: that’s the file I just uploaded by simply dragging it onto the OneDrive folder. Yes, it’s that easy to work with OneDrive!
From this point there’s quite a bit more you can do with OneDrive but I think this will get you started with a secure connection to the virtual drive and some basics of moving files onto OneDrive and then reversing the process to drop it back into your computer, as needed.
Pro Tip: I’ve been involved with Microsoft Windows since the very beginning. And have a lot of tutorials here on my site! Please check out all my Windows help pages while you’re here, it’s bound to help you out!