Free Up Space from Locally Available OneDrive Files

Onedrive Big Icon

OneDrive is the online document storage solution created by Microsoft which comes bundled as a free service with Windows 10. It can be used to store your documents and other data online in the cloud. It also offers synchronization of stored data across all your devices. "Files on-demand" is a feature of OneDrive which can display placeholder versions of online files in your local OneDrive directory even if they were not synchronized and downloaded. In recent Windows 10 versions, you can free up space with OneDrive and make your files online-only.

As you may already know, the Files On-Demand feature is not a part of the core operating system. It is a feature of the bundled OneDrive software in Windows 10. See the following article:

How To Enable OneDrive Files On-Demand

Once the Files on Demand feature is enabled, File Explorer will show the following overlay icons for files in the cloud.


These are online files only, which are not stored on your computer.

File placeholders will have the following icon.

When you open such a file, OneDrive will download it to your device and make it locally available. You can open a locally available file anytime, even without Internet access.

Finally, the following overlay icon will be used for always-available files.

Only the files that you mark as "Always keep on this device" have a green circle with a white check mark. These files will always be available even when you're offline. They are downloaded to your device and occupy space.

Tip: Starting in Windows 10 version 1809 (build 17692 and above), you can make certain OneDrive files on-demand online-only. See

Automatically Make OneDrive Files On-Demand Online-Only in Windows 10

Here's how to do the same manually for select files and folders.

To free up space from locally available OneDrive files, do the following.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Navigate to your OneDrive folder by clicking on the OneDrive icon on the left.
  3. Select the desired files and folders.
  4. Right click on them, and select Free up space from the context menu.
  5. You can make all items in the folder online-only by clicking on the empty space (folder background) when no files have been selected, and selecting Free up space from the context menu.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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