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OneDrive Desktop (Windows 10): Protect My Files

This article will walk you through how to set up an automatic sync between OneDrive and Windows Desktop for Windows 10. It will also cover the icons and errors that OneDrive may present during and after this process.

Before you begin

If you have never opened or logged into OneDrive for the desktop, please check out this article: OneDrive for Business: Windows Desktop

If you are on Windows 11, you may see different settings options. Please check out this article for more information: OneDrive Desktop (Windows 11): Sync and backup

Turning on "Protect My Files"

  1. In the bottom right, click the One Drive icon (Blue Cloud), select More, and then select Settings.

    onedrive settings

  2. Switch to the Auto Save tab and select Update Folders.


  3. Select the files you'd like to protect. The default folders are Desktop, Pictures, and Documents. You can deselect a folder if you don't want to sync it.
    **Please note that folders that are not synced will NOT be backed up to OneDrive.**

    file selection

  4. Select Start Protection.

  5. Your folders are now syncing with OneDrive. If you have a large number of files, this may take quite a while. This upload will go on in the background and you can continue to work on your computer.

In your OneDrive folder you will now have folders for Desktop, Documents, and Pictures. These are the files that are syncing directly with your computer.
**Note: Once you press sync, your files in Desktop, Documents, and Pictures will temporarily disappear. As they sync with OneDrive they will reappear. This make take a while depending on the number of files you have.**

OneDrive Sync Icons

cloud icon
The cloud icon indicates that a file is currently living on the cloud. The document is not physically on your computer but you can still open it. This usually indicates that you have not opened a file. Once you have opened a file, the icon will turn into a green check-mark. Please note that cloud icons also mean that you WILL NOT have access to the file if you are not on the internet.
check icon
The green check-mark means that the file is on your computer and also synced with OneDrive. This usually indicates that you have opened this file. If you have a green check mark then you WILL have access to the file when you are not connected to the internet.
solid check icon
The solid green check-mark is similar to the green check-mark. This file is on both the local computer and is being synced with OneDrive. This file also has the property of "always keep on this device". This will prevent the document from ever being removed from the local computer by OneDrive. It is still syncing with OneDrive, but will always keep a copy on the computer itself. This is good for files that you know you will need offline on a regular basis. You can add this property by right-clicking the file and selecting Always Keep On This Device.
red icon
The red X icon indicates that a file is not syncing with OneDrive. This can be a variety of reasons such as an invalid file name or an unsupported file type. Note that just because a folder (like the example) has a red X, it doesn't mean that the entire folder isn't syncing. A single non-synced document in a folder can result in a red X icon. Open the folder to find the document resulting in the error. If you need assistance in resolving a sync error, please contact the Technology Help Desk.

Keywordssync files folders protect backup onedrive windows automatic auto protectmyfiles win10 windows10 10   Doc ID87707
OwnerArthur C.GroupUW Stout
Created2018-11-13 10:25:13Updated2023-04-03 13:08:58
SitesUW Stout
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