Do cloud files save a little space generally?
June 26, 2015 9:42 AM   Subscribe

(I have Windows 8.1 w/ OneDrive) I've been copying music files from my Western Digital Passport ext hard drive right over to OneDrive...have learned you don't really need to add them first to the local drive of my laptop where this is all happening. Have deleted any I had previously added there. Is a file the same size on the cloud as on my WD Passport? Yes, I checked a music file just now, and the ext HDD file and OneDrive replicant are equal in space. I've read OneDrive keeps all the same, doesn't convert down. So why is it that the more I add directly to OneDrive (cloud), the more space is taken on my laptop's hard drive? Is there some cleanup I have to do? The overall space on my local disk gets smaller. BUT, it seems in fact that it would be getting even smaller if OneDrive were truly hiding some copy locally. if that's the case I count myself lucky and ask myself if there's something I just don't know about the cloud -- that it somehow uses less space overall? If that's not the case, then what is taking my laptop's HDD space? I thought all the space needed was right there in my 1TB allowance from OneDrive.
posted by noelpratt2nd to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: OneDrive shows 271GB of my allotted 1TB.
posted by noelpratt2nd at 9:46 AM on June 26, 2015

Best answer: Is a file the same size on the cloud as on my WD Passport?

Due to the idiosyncrasies of hard drive formats and differences between file systems, the answer is technically no. However, in the vast majority of cases, the answer is that, yes, files in the cloud will take up the same (or a very similar) amount of space as files on a local hard drive.

What is most likely happening is that the OneDrive client on your computer is configured to mirror the contents of the OneDrive cloud files in a directory on your hard drive so that you can still access them at times you don't have an Internet connection. After you upload from your WD drive, your machine is checking OneDrive, finding that there are new files, and then is downloading them to your computer.

If you don't want files you put on OneDrive to be available on your laptop offline - ie, make them only available in the cloud to save space - you will want to turn the "Access all my OneDrive files offline" feature off.
posted by eschatfische at 9:58 AM on June 26, 2015

Best answer: Yes, OneDrive keeps a cache of all your files locally. Depending on your settings, these will be kept for a certain amount of time. I'm on a Mac and only use the (confusingly different) OneDrive for Business, so can't point you to the settings or cache location, but eschatfische's link is a start. (Though note that it's about turning synching off, not cacheing.)
posted by scruss at 10:02 AM on June 26, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks. I forgot I did click for also play offline. So much to keep up with, eh...
posted by noelpratt2nd at 10:12 AM on June 26, 2015

Response by poster: Anyone know whether even the play-offline space taken by Onedrive is less to some degree? Could I toggle between that mode and online-only, being able to get back to offline play without waiting a week to sync again?
posted by noelpratt2nd at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2015

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