Setting up your cloud backup using OneDrive App

Starting from Windows 8, Microsoft has bundled OneDrive app in their OSs.
This app allows to keep a synchronized copy of the selected OneDrive folders.

The question is: can I use it in order to have a backup of my personal files in the OneDrive cloud?

The first problem is that you can select only folders on the cloud ‘disc’, but not vice-versa.

This means that you have to rearrange your personal files in order to fit the app architecture. It can be very annoying since you may have to update all your backup procedures, the shortcuts, and possibly your habits.

Another problem that may be that your files are saved in a different drive that the system one.

The OneDrive local folder is located into the path below, and, up to now, it cannot be customized:

<system drive>:\users\<user folder>\OneDrive

In my case, the solution came from NTFS almost hidden features (at least for many Windows users): junction, hardlink or symbolic link.

The Junction is a sort of low-level folder shortcut from which you can access a folder stored anywhere in your computer. If your files are grouped in a folder, this is the ‘tool’ you need.

The Hardlink is almost the same thing but for a single file that shall be in the same drive.

If you meet some of their limitations, you can try with a symbolic link.

The idea is:

  • create a dedicated folder on the cloud to host a copy of your files avoiding to mess up your existing cloud folder organization.
  • go into OneDrive App settings into the Account tab, and select the created folder.
  • create the needed junctions into local Onedrive folder, in order to start the cloud synchronization.

This will give you the ability of a backup to Onedrive, without affecting any of your usual habits.

If your problem is “how do I create them?“, give a look at this post for the needed command lines and related utilities.