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How Do I Download All OneDrive Files to My PC?

There are a couple of ways.

Downloading all your OneDrive files isn't particularly difficult; it's just not particularly obvious. I'll show you two ways to do it.
Puzzle pieces of various digital file icons (documents, photos, videos) coming together to form a large cloud symbol, which represents the OneDrive cloud.
(Image: DALL-E 3)

OneDrive is confusing to many people. It can be difficult to understand where your files are at any point in time on your PC or online.

Some folks want to download everything. They may want to walk away from OneDrive or just make sure all OneDrive files are included in their backups.

Depending on your situation, there are a couple of approaches.

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Downloading all OneDrive files

To download all the files stored in OneDrive, first make sure your PC has enough disk space. Use the OneDrive app to make all files and folders visible and select “Download all files” to ensure the files are completely downloaded. Alternatively, you can download files manually from online. If you use that approach, be sure not to download the files into the OneDrive folder on your PC.

First, a caveat

The disk to which you’re downloading must have enough room for all your files.

I know this sounds obvious, but OneDrive includes several features that make it look like all the files in your OneDrive are present on your machine, just not taking up space. You might think you have enough room when you do not.

To see how much space your entire OneDrive is taking, visit online, sign in to your account, and click the gear icon in the upper right. Then click on Settings.

Click on Manage storage on the left (if it’s not opened by default).

OneDrive space used.
OneDrive space used. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

Check the number under “Total used” (“< 0.1 GB”, meaning less than one-tenth of a gigabyte, in the example above). Your hard disk must have at least this amount of space available to be able to download all your OneDrive data.

Using the OneDrive app

The OneDrive app on your PC will download all of your OneDrive files if configured properly.

Click on the app icon in the notification area. Then click on the gear icon in the resulting pop-up and click on Settings.

Click on Choose folders.

Choose folders button.
Choose folders button. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

Ensure that Make all files available is checked. OneDrive can hide certain folders and files from your PC. This checkbox ensures that all files are visible.

Selecting all folders to be visible.
Selecting all folders to be visible. (Screenshot:

Click OK.

In the left-hand pane, click on Sync and backup and then on Advanced settings.

OneDrive Sync and Backup settings.
Getting to advanced settings. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

In Advanced settings, scroll down to Files On-Demand. Files On-Demand is a feature that makes it appear as if a file is present on your machine when it isn’t. The file name appears as normal but the actual contents of the file are not downloaded until you attempt to use the file.

OneDrive Files On-Demand
Downloading all files from OneDrive. (Screenshot:

Click on Download all files to… download all files. Smile

That’s it. Once the OneDrive app finishes syncing, all of your OneDrive files will be in the OneDrive folder on your machine. Specifically, that folder is:


The files will be included in any image backup of that drive, and you can also copy any or all of the files elsewhere as you see fit.

The OneDrive app will continue to operate and sync these files with online and any other PCs signed into the same OneDrive account.


Another approach is to download all of your files from online yourself. This is a fine option if you don’t have the OneDrive app running or want to download in segments because you don’t have enough room on your hard disk. It is, however, a bit of work.

Begin by visiting in your browser and signing in to your account.

Make sure that “Files” is selected on the left. has a habit of defaulting to other views that don’t include all of your files or don’t show them in the folder structure you’ve set up. “Files”, or “My Files”, as shown near the bottom of the image above, gives you access to all of your OneDrive files and folders. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

Scroll down to view “My files”. This will display all of the top-level folders and files stored in your OneDrive as well as your Personal Vault.

My Files at
My Files at Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

Right-click on a file or folder; in the pop-up menu, a Download option will appear.

OneDrive online download.
The download option on (Screenshot:

Some points:

  • If you right-click on an empty folder, no Download option appears as there’s nothing to download.
  • If you download a folder containing sub-folders and files, the contents of that entire folder will be downloaded as a single zip file.
  • If you download an individual file, it’s a simple file download like any other.
  • Sadly, it appears your personal vault cannot be downloaded as a folder, but you can click on it to see its contents and then download the contents the same way as above.


If you have multiple top-level folders, it’s tempting to select them all in order to create a single download of everything.

OneDrive multi-select at top.
Attempting to select multiple top-tier folders. (Screenshot:

Unfortunately, it appears that either the Download link will not appear or attempts to use it will silently fail. I’m hoping this is a bug that will be resolved in the future.

Fortunately, within folders multi-select works fine.

OneDrive download using multi-select.
Selecting multiple folders with a top-tier folder is successfully. (Screenshot:

Click on the empty circle in front of each file or folder you want to download (or click where it should be since the circles are hidden until at least one is selected). Right-click on any of the selected items and click Download, and a zip file containing all the selected items will be downloaded.

Where to download?

There’s one thing I want to caution you about.

If you’re running the OneDrive app on your PC and you’re downloading files manually from online, be careful where you place your downloads.

Specifically, do not download them to the OneDrive folder on your PC. That’s the job of the OneDrive app. It will notice that you’ve placed a file into your PC’s OneDrive folder and then dutifully upload it to OneDrive. That’s typically not what you’re looking for if you’re doing a manual download.

If you manually download something from, place it in a folder outside of your PC’s OneDrive folder. Sadly, because of OneDrive’s horrific “backup” feature, that does not include your Documents folder or any of the default Windows folders. I recommend you create a new folder somewhere on your machine (e.g. C:\Users\<username>\MyLocalFiles) and download your OneDrive files there.

Of course, if you’re manually downloading directly to an external drive, as is one of the common intents for this question, you’ll avoid this problem.

Do this

Personally, I rely on the first approach, which uses the OneDrive app. I have Files On-Demand turned off and all folders visible. The app ensures that the OneDrive folder on my machine always contains all of the 568 gigabytes of files I have in OneDrive. If you have the disk space, I recommend this approach so the files stored in OneDrive are automatically backed up by your image backup.

If, however, you need to download from directly, that’s now an option as well.

Here’s another good option: Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

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5 comments on “How Do I Download All OneDrive Files to My PC?”

  1. Speaking about Files on Demand. I have OneDrive installed on my Android phone. By default, it’s set to Files on Demand because most phones don’t have enough storage space to hold them. When I open a file it’s downloaded to my phone. This probably works on iOS.

  2. Leo has perfectly demonstrated the confusing and complex nature of OneDrive for what should be a relatively straight forward task. But I’m surprised that Leo did not start this article by saying “first backup everything”. “Sync” is not the same “download”. With OneDrive you can easily overwrite the most current files on your PC. Be careful.

  3. My files are automatically downloaded and backed up with Google Drive. I would like to just have all my files backed up and downloaded with OneDrive instead of duplicating the process Google One and One Drive. Is there a way of doing this? Thank you.

  4. I have avoided OneDrive since its inception. Without consulting with me, it transferred all the files on my Windows10 desktop to OneDrive, then replaced them with shortcuts.
    Terrifying, as I regard the integrity of my personal files very highly.
    I DO NOT recommend OneDrive to anyone!


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