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Automatically Backup Important Windows Folders with OneDrive

When you subscribe to Office 365 from Microsoft, you have access to a whole host of programs in addition to applications such as Word or Excel. One of the most useful services is OneDrive. A bit like DropBox or Google Drive, OneDrive gives you significant online storage.

OneDrive is more than just a big flash drive on the Internet, Microsoft has built some pretty useful features into it. One of the most recent and significant changes is the ability to enable automatic synchronization for some “important” Windows folders. This provides an easy way to ensure that your most important information is always safely backed up to the cloud.

This feature was originally only available to OneDrive for Business users, but now everyone can use it. By default, it is configured to back up the Documents, Pictures, and Desktop folders, which currently cannot be modified. Unlike DropBox, you also cannot back up all possible file types.

For example, OneNote or Outlook .pst files are not allowed. For the most part, however, you can protect anything. It is not a replacement for disk image backups, only files. You will have to look for backups of the entire disk elsewhere.

Note. It should be noted that following the steps below will actually move the aforementioned folders to the OneDrive folder. If you want them to stay where they are, do not follow these steps.

Activate OneDrive Folder Protection

To set up protected folders, first left-click on the OneDrive icon in the taskbar.

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A menu will appear. Here, tap More (three dots), then tap Settings.

A new window will open. Click the Autosave tab. Depending on your version, the tab may be called Backup.

On this tab, click Update folders. For newer versions of OneDrive, the button will be named Manage Backup.

If this is the first time you are changing these settings, you will see this screen.

By default, your desktop, images folder and documents folder will be selected. You can cancel them here. When you’re ready, click “Start Protection”.

It may take several minutes to configure folder protection. You can preview the sync process, but you can close everything at this point. Any new files you add to one of these protected locations will sync automatically.

You can also access the contents of these folders from anywhere, including mobile devices, using the OneDrive mobile app.

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