Microsoft OneDrive placeholders return as 'Files On-Demand' in Fall Creators Update

Microsoft is releasing a ton of news in the month of May, but perhaps none more satisfying than its new OneDrive "Files On-Demand" feature destined for the Fall Creators Update, formerly known as Redstone 3.

OneDrive placeholders were a hallmark feature back in the Windows 8 days but disappeared in Windows 10. Many fans cut Microsoft some slack accepting the "newness" theory of why the feature was missing, but months dragged on into years, and user frustration grew.

Now, the function returns, better than ever and with a new name, too. OneDrive Files On-Demand lets users see their gigabytes (terabytes?) of data stored on OneDrive without having to up your device storage locally.

Microsoft described the feature in a press release:

Files On-Demand also allows you to open online files from within desktop or Windows store apps using the Windows file picker. Simply select the file you want to open in the file picker, and the file will automatically download and open in your app. Furthermore, you're covered in both your home and professional life since it works with your personal and work OneDrive, as well as your SharePoint Online team sites.

A new status icon in File Explorer denotes if the files are locally available or online only. Users will be able to right-click on the selected file and mark "Always keep on this device" to make sure it's available offline, whenever, wherever.

Previously, consumers had to preselect and download locally all the OneDrive folders and files they wanted, consuming data and large amounts of space. Besides the needless duplication, users then had to use the separate OneDrive app to "see" their other files and then download them if needed.

Now, with Files on Demand, you can always see your OneDrive files due to the thumbnails being locally cached. Users can then just click the file and have it download, making the process of managing your online storage nearly invisible.

Microsoft notes that Files On-Demand is the No. 1 requested feature on OneDrive UserVoice, so all we should say is Welcome back, and it's about time.

Consumers can look forward to the new OneDrive feature later in September or October with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Insiders will begin to see the new feature rollout to the Fast Ring sometime "early this summer," according to Microsoft.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.