How to use OneDrive on another computer

OneDrive is an established cloud storage platform, though many users are familiar with only half of its functionality. OneDrive allows you to access your cloud drive via several devices, keeping the most up-to-date version accessible wherever you are— this is syncing.

In the guide below, I have illustrated the steps needed to use OneDrive on your PC:

  1. Download OneDrive’s installer (here)
  2. Open the installer’s folder
  3. Run the OneDrive installer
  4. Sign in to your Microsoft account

As I previously mentioned, few OneDrive users understand what syncing is or why it exists; hence, I’ll be discussing OneDrive’s setup and what you can do with syncing. You’re bound to find a use by the time we’re done, so consider sticking around.

I have listed this post’s key topics below; use the links to access topics relevant to you:

  1. What is OneDrive syncing
  2. How to set up OneDrive on your PC
  3. How do I know my OneDrive is syncing correctly
  4. Blog post recap

What is OneDrive syncing

Syncing is OneDrive’s alternate primary function; its appeal results from a user’s documents becoming highly more accessible.

What exactly is syncing

Syncing is a OneDrive process that keeps your documents the same across all your devices. Say you have a Word document on your PC that needs some adjustments, but you’re away from the office. With syncing, you can adjust your Word doc using the mobile app, and when you return to the office, OneDrive will update the file on your PC via the new copy in the cloud.

Will syncing affect all of my documents

Syncing is a process within OneDrive applied to documents stored via OneDrive. Locally stored files (outside your OneDrive folder) will not be synced by OneDrive; however, OneDrive will also sync locally stored files within the OneDrive folder.

  • If a file was locally stored before a change but not set to “Always remain on this device,” it will not be downloaded again until opened.
  • If the opposite is true, the file will be re-downloaded upon the sync’s completion.

What are the prerequisites for syncing

Storage space for your OneDrive drive

Cloud storage is finite to a (subscription-dependent) extent; you need space for files. Suppose you’ve only got 100MB of cloud space remaining, but you need to make some changes to a project. At present, your presentation consumes 95MB out of the remaining 100, but your additions have increased the file size by 10MB. You no longer have enough space to sync the latest file version— the sync cannot be completed.

An internet connection

OneDrive is a cloud service, with the cloud loosely referring to the internet. In short, when we say our data is “in the cloud,” we mean it’s stored online. You cannot download (or upload) documents to the internet without first being connected. Hence, you require an internet connection to sync data with OneDrive.

How to set up OneDrive on another PC

The following guide will demonstrate how you download, install, and set up Microsoft OneDrive on your Desktop PC. Your computer will need to be connected to the internet.

You can download an alternate version of OneDrive for desktop via the Microsoft Store.

Step 1 — Download OneDrive

Start at There, you will find a download link for OneDrive; click the blue “Download” button— you may be prompted to select a download location, use an accessible location like the Downloads folder or your Desktop.

Step 2 — Run OneDrive’s installer

Despite the download’s completion, we cannot use OneDrive. We have downloaded a tool used to install OneDrive— this is the setup program, otherwise known as the installer. If you did not specify a download location, open your Downloads folder. Otherwise, open the specified folder. Find the file and left-click on it twice— this will run the program.

Step 3 — Sign in

Before using OneDrive, you will need to sign in to an account. Enter the credentials for your Microsoft account. The credentials in question would be your account’s email and password. Although, if you have enabled MFA (multi-factor authentication), you will additionally require your trusted device.

Step 4 — Optional settings

Optionally, back up some commonly used system folders: the DocumentsPictures, and Desktop folders.

Step 5 — Skip or read tips

If you’re new to OneDrive, you may consider reading the several tips displayed; otherwise, skip through them. Your choice will affect the process in duration alone.

How do I know my OneDrive is syncing to my computer correctly

Below I have demonstrated how you can be sure your OneDrive files are syncing. To follow along, you will need at least two devices.

If your OneDrive is syncing correctly, your changes to a file on one device will carry over to your other connected devices.

Step 1 — Open your OneDrive folder

Open your OneDrive folder using your primary device. You can do so by selecting the blue or grey cloud in your taskbar and clicking “Open folder.”

Step 2 — Create an empty text file

Right-click a blank space in the folder to reveal the context menu. Hover overNew” in the context menu and select “Text Document.”

Step 3 — Edit the file with another device

Use your secondary computer to access your OneDrive folder once more; this time, left-click the text document twice. After opening the file, enter some text— you can save your changes with the Ctrl+S shortcut.

Step 4 — View the change on your original device

Return to your primary device. We can preview the file to ensure our change has been synced. To do so, select the file and use the Alt+P shortcut to create a preview. Alternatively, refer to your file explorer’s “Date modified column“— Windows should have updated it.

Blog post recap

Syncing is the process executed by OneDrive to ensure the latest instance of a document is available across all of your devices. Being that OneDrive is a cloud service, OneDrive and its syncing functionality require an internet connection.

You may also be interested in the following related posts:

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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