A complete guide to using OneDrive to transfer files to a new computer

OneDrive is a cloud storage platform offered as part of the Microsoft 365 suite. With it, your various folders and files may be stored online and downloaded for use from anywhere with an internet connection. As such, OneDrive is very useful if you’re looking to get files from one computer to another without wanting to mess around with storage devices.

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  1. Install the OneDrive sync app (if you don’t already have it)
    1. This is recommended for both devices
    2. You will need to set it up (ie, login/create an account etc)
  2. Open the OneDrive sync app via the cloud icon on the taskbar
  3. Select “Help & Settings”
  4. Select “Settings”
  5. Switch to “Account” tab
  6. Select “Add an account”
  7. Enter account email address
    1. This should match the email associated with the other computer
  8. (Optionally) Open OneDrive via the search bar on the alternate device
    1. You should be met with a OneDrive folder in the file explorer
    2. From here you may drag and drop files to download them to your other pc

In the next segment we’ll be providing a more detailed walkthrough (essentially being an image assisted guide for each step). That being said, feel free to follow along if you’re the least bit unsure. Afterwards, we’ll brief you on what exactly OneDrive is, and some alternatives you may also be interested in taking a look at.

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File transfer using OneDrive

Step 1 – Install the OneDrive sync app to transfer files to a new computer

  • To download and install this application, you’ll need to consult Microsoft’s official page (here) and follow the steps yourself.

Step 2 – Open the OneDrive sync app to transfer files to a new computer

  • Located on your taskbar is a cloud like icon. This icon is used to access the OneDrive cloud sync app. Please click it to proceed

Step 3 – Open the “Help & Settings” category

  • From the cloud sync app you will initially see 3 main options
    • Open folder
    • Go premium
    • Help & Settings
  • Select Help & Settings to continue. It should create a dropdown with additional options

Step 4 – Select settings

  • From the dropdown box locate and select “Settings.” Expect a new window- we’ll be continuing from there.

Step 5 – Switch to “Account” tab

  • From the settings window, navigate to the “Account” tab by clicking on it. Alternatively, use the “CTRLl+TAB” shortcut to cycle through the tabs.

Step 6 – Add an account

  • Using the accounts tab, you may add an account to your OneDrive cloud storage via the “Add an account” button. This will only require you to enter the account’s email. This should match the email your other computer is signed in to Windows with.

What is OneDrive

Cloud storage

OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive, is a cloud service, more specifically: a cloud storage platform. Cloud storage platforms serve to provide access to vast amounts of storage over the web. This works uploading files to a distant server, as opposed to keeping them on your computer. These files may then be downloaded to said computer if needed, or transferred to another device. Provided you decide to switch.

Creators of OneDrive

Credit to OneDrive’s creation in 2007 goes to Microsoft- having originally created the service under the name of “SkyDrive.” This name is likely a play on cloud storage, as clouds are in the sky. Microsoft itself is a US based tech giant run by Bill Gates and founded in 1975. It’s most notable products being the Windows series of Operating systems, Xbox (through the owned company Xbox) and the 365 Office suite.

OneDrive’s competitors

Greatest competitor

As of now, it’s fair to say Google Drive (being pushed by Google) is ample competition for OneDrive. This is inferred by the popularity of most Google products versus Microsoft products. Take for instance Google consistently beating Bing in searches- including where bing is used to locate a google chrome download.

Additional mentions

While these services are either not as accessible, or not as popular as OneDrive and Google Drive, we’d like to make you aware of potentially useful alternatives. Such as: MegaSync, Cloudflare (announced but not released), Dropbox, iCloud and Proton Drive.

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Jack Mitchell

Jack Mitchell has been the Operations manager at telecoms and MSP Optionbox for more than 4 years. He has played a crucial role in the company, from marketing to helpdesk, and ensures that the IT requirements of over 300 clients are continuously met. With his innate passion for technology and troubleshooting and a particular interest in Apple products, Jack now delivers the most comprehensive tech guides to make your life easier. You can connect with Jack on LinkedIn.

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