Microsoft OneDrive now offers to “protect” the contents of your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders. You can use your standard file storage folders, and OneDrive will synchronize them as if they were saved in the regular OneDrive folder.

This feature isn’t enabled by default, but you can activate it in a few clicks. It’s part of the OneDrive software included with Windows 10, but it’s also available in OneDrive for Windows 7.

How This Works

Cloud file storage services like OneDrive are convenient, but there’s one annoying thing about them: You have to save files to your OneDrive folder rather than your standard Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders.

Microsoft’s new “Folder Protection” feature will optionally “protect” the contents of your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders by synchronizing them to your OneDrive account. You can then recover their contents if you ever lose your PC, or just access them on your other PCs.

If you enable Folder Protection for a folder on two different PCs, the contents of that folder will be synced between the two PCs. For example, OneDrive will ensure you have the same files in your Documents folder on all your PCs, and a file you add to the Documents folder on one PC will be placed into Documents on the other PC.

In other words, it’s just like using OneDrive to sync your files normally, except you get to save files in your regular folders.

How to Enable OneDrive Folder Protection

To find this feature, click the cloud-shaped OneDrive icon in your notification area, click “More,” and click “Settings.”

In the Microsoft OneDrive window, switch over to the “Auto Save” tab and click the “Update Folders” button.

Note that if you don’t see an Update Folders button here, Microsoft says your account isn’t “eligible” for Folder Protection yet. We’re not sure what constitutes eligibility, but we do know that Microsoft is rolling this feature out slowly. If you don’t have it yet, check back again in the near future.

OneDrive will prompt you to “Set up protection of important folders.” Select the folders you want to synchronize with OneDrive and click “Start Protection” to begin. Unfortunately, OneDrive only offers to protect these three folders and not other built-in folders like Music, Downloads, and Videos.

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