Microsoft OneDrive; How It Works/Syncing Things


Hello Community.

I have just recently begun to utilize cloud storage, and I thought since I use windows, for PC and laptop, and there is a OneDrive App on the App store, I would just use something that is already native to two of my devices (and for the reason that OneDrive has a document scanner built in); it is the free, basic version of OneDrive. Also, please note that I am not using the GUI application for OneDrive, that is apparently littered all over Microsoft’s support pages when there are any questions regarding OneDrive, or at least the few articles I researched before seeking “professional” help here :wink: (and no, I don’t, by principle, if I can help it, use or rely upon Microsoft’s support pages for guidance, but that is a rant for another time).

The issue I’m facing is kind of a two sided coin, and hopefully this first portion didn’t need to be addressed in a separate thread. if so, my apologies, though, to understand the ultimate issue I am facing, I believe an explanation of how OneDrive works needs to be ironed out.

Up until I read a syncing folder guide - I don’t remember where the guide was, nor by whom it was written - I thought that OneDrive simply saved files to Microsoft’s cloud servers. if this is the case great, but in part of the guide, the person mentioned changing local file destinations from where OneDrive would initially save files. What this told me was, apparently, OneDrive saves files locally, and not to Microsoft’s cloud servers, That files are saved on the device, or computer that was used to initially sign into OneDrive, and OneDrive simply acts as an intermediary with any devices which sign into it. I am hoping this is not the case, because this just seems counterproductive.

Once that is cleared up, the next Challenge I am trying to figure out is that I want files that I save directly to OneDrive via the App, to, in turn, sync to a folder on my laptop, or any other external place, not OneDrive (a backup essentially). For a sort of flowchart:

Doc is snapped from OneDrive phone app -> Doc is saved to folder in OneDrive App -> Doc syncs to local destination on designated device (PC or laptop in my case).

I know this is seemingly a simple task, and maybe I am just looking too much into things, but I need to have all this information kosher before I start utilizing OneDrive for the workflow I am trying to achieve.


Assuming this means you are not running the OneDrive Client Software on the PC then that explains why it doesn’t synchronize. All PC Synchronization is done through the OneDrive client running on the PC.

With the OneDrive client running on my Win10 PC and using the app on my phone the process goes like this.

OneDrive app on the phone also saves Doc to the OneDrive cloud.

Client software left running on the PC sees the new file and


Thank you @Paul_Hutchinson!

So, the docs sync to both the OneDrive cloud and too a local destination via the Client software left running on the PC?



I have the OneDrive client running on two of my PC’s via a single Microsoft account. So wherever I edit one of those files on my, phone, iPad, either PC or directly via a web browser on any other device, the edited version automatically ends up on two local hard disks plus the cloud.

FYI - Google Drive & Dropbox also offer this feature.