How to store unlimited files using Personal Vault (free) in OneDrive

"Onedrive Personal Vault Unlimited Files
"Onedrive Personal Vault Unlimited Files (Image credit: Windows Central)

OneDrive Personal Vault is a feature that creates a protected area to store files, such as documents, personal records, pictures, etc.) with sensitive information. The data upload to this area is protected with encryption and using more robust security with two-factor authentication, in addition to the typical sign-in process.

Although this is a useful feature, there's one caveat. If you are using the free version of OneDrive, you can only store up to three files. However, if you don't mind some extra steps, you get around this limitation using a zip container that allows you to upload unlimited files (but limited to your OneDrive storage space) to the protected area using the free version of OneDrive.

In this Windows 10 guide, we will walk you through the steps to upload unlimited files to the free version of Personal Vault in OneDrive.

If you don't want to go through the workaround to use the Personal Vault, you should consider getting a Microsoft 365 subscription to lift the file restriction.

How to store unlimited files using the free tier of Personal Vault

The workaround to upload more than three files to the Personal Vault with the free version of OneDrive is to group all files with sensitive information inside of a .zip extension file, allowing the service to see the file as a single item.

Configure Personal Vault on Windows 10

If you have already configured the Personal Vault feature, you can skip these steps and proceed with the upload instructions below.

To configure the Personal Vault feature in OneDrive, use these steps:

  1. Click the OneDrive icon from the Taskbar's notification area.
  2. Click the Help & Settings button.
  3. Select the Unlock Personal Vault option.Quick note: You may also see a Get started option when launching the OneDrive app, which can help you configure the feature.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Next button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click the Allow button.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Confirm your Microsoft account password.
  2. Click the Sign in button.
  3. Continue with the on-screen directions (if applicable).

Once you complete these steps, you can start uploading and downloading to the secure area of OneDrive.

If the option isn't available, check the Personal Vault setting page on your OneDrive account, and make sure to enable the feature.

Store unlimited files to Personal Vault

To upload and protect unlimited files with the free tier of OneDrive Personal Vault, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Browse to the folder with the file you want to protect.
  3. Click the New items menu from the "Home" tab and select the Compressed (zipped) Folder option.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Confirm a name for the zip folder and press Enter.
  2. Select the files to upload to the Personal Vault of OneDrive.
  3. Click the Copy button from the "Home" tab.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Double-click to open the newly created zip folder.
  2. Click the Paste button from the "Home" tab.

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  1. Click the Back button (Alt + left arrow keyboard shortcut) to return to your document's folder.
  2. Select the zip folder with the confidential files.
  3. Click the Copy button from the "Home" tab.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click on OneDrive from the left pane.
  2. Double-click the Personal Vault shortcut.
  3. Confirm the account credentials (if applicable).
  4. Click the Paste button from the "Home" tab.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete these steps, the zip folder with unlimited files will upload to your free version of the OneDrive Personal Vault.

Download files from Personal Vault

To retrieve your files from the Personal Vault, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Click on OneDrive from the left pane.
  3. Double-click the Personal Vault shortcut.
  4. Confirm the account credentials (if applicable).
  5. Double-click to open the zip container to access your files.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Right-click the document and select the Open option.

Once you complete the steps, you'll be able to view the contents of the confidential document.

If you need to modify the document, the process is a little tricky. First, select the file, choose a destination folder from the Compressed Folder Tools tab to extract, and then edit the document from the extraction location. After editing the file, right-click the original file from the zip folder and select the Delete option. Finally, copy the newly revised document and paste it inside the zip folder.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

4 Comments
  • It’s a nice workaround, but I wouldn't be surprised if MS starts limiting file sizes for vault storage.
  • Should they ?
    It must be pretty inconvenient at usage.
    You probably have to sync the whole thing at each change, download it completely too (instead of just the file you want)
    And in the end you're still limited the the free tier's 5GB
  • They shouldn’t. But if people start doing this, they probably will. I’m a subscriber, I wouldn’t do this workaround if I weren’t, just zip a file with password and load it. It’s a lot of work, as you said, syncing every time. But someone wrote how to do it, so I assume there are people interest, idk.
  • Wow. Here's how to cheat the system. Fine and upstanding!