New Microsoft OneDrive feature turns Windows 11 File Explorer on its head

Windows 11 logo on a blue, folded backdrop
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft has released a new version of Windows 11 that introduces tighter integration between cloud storage service OneDrive and the File Explorer app.

Available to members of the early-access program, Build 22593 allows Windows 11 users to configure OneDrive as the default File Explorer folder, for easy access to documents and other files stored in the cloud.

Until now, although users could add a OneDrive folder to the sidebar, File Explorer has always opened into a homepage designed to provide quick access to items stored on the local hard drive.

(ed: Check out our comparisons: Microsoft OneDrive vs Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive vs Dropbox and Microsoft OneDrive vs iCloud)

OneDrive and Windows 11

In addition to the new home page option, the latest Windows 11 preview places a new OneDrive icon in the top right-hand corner of the File Explorer window.

Clicking the icon opens up a dropdown menu that displays information about the user’s OneDrive status, including remaining storage capacity and file syncing progress. The menu also allows the user to launch OneDrive in the web browser and tweak their account settings.

Although it’s not guaranteed that these new integrations will make it into a full-fat, public Windows 11 build, they are consistent with a number of further changes recently announced by Microsoft, which place greater emphasis on a blending of local and cloud experiences.

Last week, the company lifted the lid on a series of updates for Windows 365 that allow users to switch seamlessly between their local and cloud-based Windows 11 desktops.

Broadly, the upgrades are designed to provide users with easier access to their virtual desktop, while also preserving functionality in scenarios in which an internet connection is unavailable.

At the time, we were told that Microsoft is looking for ways to erase the traditional mental demarcations that separate what’s going on at a device versus cloud level, thereby enabling a level of flexibility previously unavailable to workers.

The OneDrive changes currently undergoing testing can be seen as a logical extension of this ambition.

Via WindowsLatest

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.