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Microsoft OneDrive

What is OneDrive?

Microsoft’s cloud storage service, OneDrive, can back up your personal and work files online. It’s built into Windows 10. With it you can sync files on your Windows 10 PC to the cloud and to your other Windows PCs, smartphone or tablet (with the OneDrive app for Android or iOS installed on either). It can even sync your cloud files to your Mac (via the OneDrive desktop app).

It’s handy for collaboration, too. You can share files in your OneDrive with anyone by sending them a web link. If your file is a Microsoft Office file such as a PowerPoint presentation, they’ll be able to collaborate on it using the free PowerPoint Online web app or the corresponding Office desktop app, e.g., PowerPoint 2016 or 2019. The same is true for Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, although collaboration via the Excel desktop client is limited to Office 365 subscribers. Whether your collaborators have the Office desktop apps or not, though, they can always collaborate in Excel Online, Word Online, and PowerPoint Online.

Here are the essentials for using Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 10. OneDrive for Business, the version of OneDrive used by business users whose organizations have an Office 365 enterprise subscription, works the same way as OneDrive for storing and syncing files, but sharing files is a little different. We’ll provide instructions for both versions below.

Getting started

There are two ways to sign in to OneDrive in Windows 10. When you sign in to your Windows 10 PC with a Microsoft user account, OneDrive is already activated by default. (If your company uses Outlook or you have a free webmail account on, then you already have a Microsoft user account. If not, you can sign up for one for free.)

If you don’t want to sign in to Windows 10 with a Microsoft user account, you can sign in to OneDrive separately with your Microsoft user account. Right-click the OneDrive icon (it looks like clouds) in the notification area on the taskbar, select Settings, go to the “Account” tab, and click the “Add an account” button.