How to fetch files remotely from your Windows PCs using OneDrive

Storing your files in OneDrive is a great way to conveniently access your data. Once your files are in the cloud, you can view or edit them using any device with Internet access. But what happens if you have a file you need but it isn't stored in your OneDrive account? You may think you're out of luck, but that isn't the case. As long as you've got the Fetch feature configured properly and you are using Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 on the computer containing the file, and that computer is also connected to the Internet, you can find the file and download it right from the OneDrive website. Read this guide to find out how to use this simple yet awesome feature.

IMPORTANT: You cannot fetch files located on a Windows 8.1 PC or device. This feature works only on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 computers. If you're using Windows 7 or Windows 8, you'll have to have the OneDrive desktop application installed. If you're using Windows 10, everything is embedded into the operating system, so all you have to do is make a few settings.

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We don't know why Microsoft has removed this feature from Windows 8.1 and we still hope that it will be made available for this operating system also.

How to enable the OneDrive fetch feature in Windows

In Windows 7 and Windows 8, in order to be able to use the Fetch feature, you need to be using the OneDrive desktop application. The application is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. You can download it for free from the OneDrive website.

If you need guidance on how to download and install the OneDrive desktop app for Windows 7 or Windows 8, follow the steps from the first section of this article: How to sync your files with OneDrive in Windows 7.

If you're using Windows 10, you don't have to install anything as OneDrive is already embedded into the operating system.

No matter which operating system you're using, look at the Notification Area on the taskbar and right-click or tap and hold the OneDrive icon. You may need to click or tap on the small arrow next to the tray in order to see the hidden icons. Then, click Settings from the context menu.

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Go to the Settings tab and then check the setting which says: “Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC”. Click or tap OK to apply this setting.

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How to fetch files using OneDrive

Once you have the Fetch option configured and your Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 computer or device is connected to the Internet, you can access all of your files from your OneDrive account.

Log in to OneDrive from any computer or device with Internet access. Then, in the PCs section from the left side of your OneDrive, select the computer or device that holds the files you want to access.

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A new browser tab opens and it grants you access to your computer's file system.

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Folders in your file system are depicted by dark blue tiles. Files will be given icons based on their filetype. You can go ahead and click or tap on folders to open them and view their contents, and you can use the directory tree listing at the top to go back through the directories you've drilled down into.

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Locate the file you want to fetch and click or tap on the white square from the top right corner of its tile to select it. Then click or tap Download or the “Upload to OneDrive” link from the top menu.

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Another way to “Upload to OneDrive” or directly Download a file is to right click on it and then select the appropriate action from the contextual menu.

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If you chose the “Upload to OneDrive” option, now you will have to select a folder on your OneDrive where the fetched file will go to storage. Then, click or tap Upload.

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Wait for the file to upload. Once it’s done, it’ll be listed with the rest of your OneDrive files in the folder in which you chose to store it. You can now download, edit or share the file as you would with any other file from your OneDrive.

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Conclusion

Now that you have the Fetch option configured in Windows 7, Windows 8 and in Windows 10, you'll always be able to access the files you need, whether or not you remembered to store them in your OneDrive, as long as the computer with the files is turned on and connected to Internet. How to do you feel about this feature? It's undeniably useful, but does it make you nervous? Let us know in the comments below.

About the Author: Codrut Neagu
Codrut is a Senior Editor on Digital Citizen. He's passionate about technology and he is fluent in working with several operating systems, including Windows and Linux. He likes to test security products and he feels like at home when digging through the registry, optimizing things or having fun on Telnet.