Folder Backup in OneDrive

Folder Backup in Windows

„Installed through the back door (automatically).“ „I just kept pressing and pressing. And now I can’t find anything.“ My game results are synced to OneDrive.“ „My OneDrive is overflowing, I can’t save anything anymore!“

These are just some of the comments in forums like Reddit. Microsoft only wants to do good. But maybe the semi-automatic step is a step too aggressive for many. I can still remember the early days, when Microsoft didn’t even implement an explanation during the setup/configuration of OneDrive. And today, it has not become quite easy, because the selection is somewhat hidden.

Manual Installation

Whether we’re talking about OneDrive for Business or OneDrive Personal, a wizard adorned with lots of colorful images accompanies us during setup. And you should pay attention at the latest with the following pictures:

OneDrive Personal

Manual installation of folder backup in OneDrive Personal

OneDrive for Business

Manual installation of folder backup in OneDrive for Business

Actually looks the same. The difference is minimal. For one thing, in the labeling. Either it says

OneDrive – Personal or OneDrive – [Tenant Name].

And the images are still shown the remaining space in the cloud. Otherwise, we find a link in the upper area that leads to extended explanations. Namely, what this backup means. Very important are the explanations starting at second 40 of the video. And the short lighting up of the three check marks show that the different folders can be selected or deselected. So if you haven’t seen the video, you will either click on „Next“ or cancel the process via the X.

However, the three blue check marks indicate by default that all three areas are activated. And with a click on the tick, you can switch the respective area on or off.

OneDrive Personal

Select or deselect desktop, documents or images under OneDrive Personal

OneDrive for Business

Select or deselect desktop, documents or images under OneDrive for Business

By deselecting them in the above screens, only the „Documents“ and „Images“ folders will be included in the order backup.

OneDrive Personal

Complete deselection of Desktop, Documents or Images under OneDrive Personal

OneDrive for Business

Complete deselection of desktop, documents or images under OneDrive for Business

If all currently possible folders are „deselected“, the folder backup will not be activated.

Folder backup – is super

That the files are backed up sounds great. Actually, it is. But you have to know that Microsoft uses a technical trick for this. The techies among us may have heard KFM = „Known Folder Move„. The currently possible folders „Desktop“, „Documents“ and „Pictures“ are moved with the complete content on your device.


C:\Users\[User Name]\Desktop
C:\Users\[User Name]\Documents
C:\Users\[User Name]\Pictures


C:\Users\[User Name]\OneDrive\Desktop
C:\Users\[User Name]\OneDrive\Docuents
C:\Users\[User Name]\OneDrive\Pictures

Programs that write to the specified „old“ path are then of course not backed up. It is especially important for the user that all files are now synchronized to the cloud. With OneDrive for Business, this is not a big deal, most of the time, but with OneDrive Personal, this can quickly lead to problems, especially if the free available storage is already exhausted. Then users try to delete. And create chaos. Because deleting and deleting are two different things.

Windows Home Image

OneDrive Personal under Windows Home

Windows 10 - Home
Directly in the image OneDrive Personal can be selected a folder backup


The „Next“ button is active and then the folder backup is created automatically. For the Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders.

That you can deselect it is not explained.

During the installation of Windows 10 OneDrive folder backup was selected. And can be seen directly after installation

The result:
all integrated

Often the question comes up, „I don’t have a Windows account, I don’t want one.“ Then you have to either unplug the network cable and/or prevent access to the WLAN during the installation. Then a local account is created.


If you are not careful, you will quickly activate the complete folder backup. Quickly „click Next – click Next – click Next“ and complaining afterwards doesn’t help. The newcomer cannot know that a button for deselecting is hidden behind each of the three blue dots.

Die Frage für die Zukunft ist: Es gibt ja noch mehr bekannte Ordner: Wird Microsoft dafür ebenfalls die Ordnersicherung bereitstellen?

OneDrive Folder Backup direct from Windows Installation
OneDrive Folder Backup direct from Windows Installation

OneDrive Folder Backup manual Installation
OneDrive Folder Backup manual Installation

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