Version history inside File Explorer

Version History inside  File Explorer with OneDrive Version 20.052.0311.0006

[Update 4/17/20]
After some problems, publishing was stopped and the date was moved to mid-May (end of April before). I myself have the problem that with some synchronizations only the error message shown at the end of the article is displayed. This happens with files shared with me and "older" syncs.


Microsoft has published a new insider version of the Next Generation Sync Client with the version 20.052.0311.0006. With this version the version history is now rolled out, which was already announced one month ago.

Not only the Sync Client has become more intelligent, but also the Windows File Explorer (Mac Finder) has become more intelligent. One could also speak of a third level. Because in the web browser it has always been possible to view the versions. But for this I had to switch to the web browser. This is no longer necessary. Of course, I could open the file with the corresponding app and then open the file with Word, Excel or PowerPoint and display the history there

Previous options for displaying the version history:

1. Webbrowser

Version history directly from Word, Excel and PowerPoint

and then…

Display of the version history in the browser


2. Inside of the Word, Excel or PowerPoint App

Display of the version history directly in Word, Excel, PowerShell

and then ….

Display of the version history directly from Word, Excel and PowerPoint


3. In the OneDrive App

View version history directly from the OneDrive app

Clicking on the OneDrive icon in the notification area opens the OneDrive Client and displays the latest synchronizations. This works from OneDrive version 20.052.0311.0006

If you then click on the 3 points, you have 4 possibilities:

1. opens the file with the corresponding app

2. share the file with other users.

3. view and edit the file in the browser.

4. start the version history

Display of the version history

Version History

This is displayed regardless of the file’s state.

Available locally, always available or only in the cloud.

So I can view the history of a file even if I don’t have the file on my computer at all.

With a click on the 3 points I can open the latest version…

Display of the version history : Actions

for an older version there are also several options available:

Restore a previous version

Downloading the file from the version history. This is interesting in so far as an older version can be saved on my computer with a few clicks.

No, you don’t need to do your own versioning of the file, as you might have been used to on the file server.

And without switching to the web browser, you can delete an older version from the history.


4. Inside Windows File Explorer

Display of the version history directly in Windows Explorer

Select file, right click and then the version history is available with another click. And it should be mentioned again: The version history is also retrieved, although the file is only available in the cloud.

Where does the Windows history work?

It works for synchronized files in

  • OneDrive for Business
  • OneDrive Personal (consumer)
    Yes, although there is no SharePoint behind OneDrive Personal, there is a version history in OneDrive Personal. But only up to 25 versions!



Error message when displaying (reading) the version history

It does not yet work for

old synchronized SharePoint document libraries.

– for synchronized files shared with me

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The user then receives the error message shown on the left.

6 Gedanken zu “Version history inside File Explorer

  1. It’s nice but.. the downloaded file has a date of ’now‘ instead of the version’s date, could be confusing.

    P.S. any hints as to when OneDrive search will actually work? Today I have to use Explorer Search syntax with ‚filename:*non-starting-chars‘ to search my OneDrive.

    Using the Web version’s Seach Everywhere only finds me getting frustrated!


  2. Etwas schade finde ich, dass man die Version im Windows Explorer nicht direkt anzeigen kann – sondern zuerst herunterladen muss…


      1. Nein, ich denke nicht, dass es sich um einen Fehler handelt. Ich glaube es ist schlichtweg so nicht vorgesehen: Ich hätte gerne eine Möglichkeit eine vergangene Version zu öffnen. Das wird mir aber nicht angeboten, sondern nur der download. (Mit dem Atribut ob Cloud Only usw. hat das nichts zu tun).


      2. Nun ein Öffnen im Explorer ist immer mit einem Download verbunden. Wenn also Cloud Only, dann muss die Datei heruntergeladen werden.
        ansonsten hast Du die letzte Version, dann kannst Du das ganze direkt im Programm vornehmen. (Word, Excel und PowerPoint)

        Bei anderen Programmen muss das durch die nativen Programme auch unterstützt werden.


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