How to Access SkyDrive Files Offline in Windows 8.1

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File only available online

In Windows 8.1, SkyDrive is deeply integrated into the OS, giving you the option to open or save files to the cloud storage service from every desktop and Modern app. However, in the name of saving room on your hard drive, the service only stores some of your files locally, showing all your images, videos and documents when you browse your folders, but only downloading the data when you open them. Dubbed "smart files," this space-saving feature works well as long as you have a fast Internet connection. However, when you lose your home Internet connection and try to open that PowerPoint document you saved at work, you may be in for a rude awakening.

Here's how to make sure all SkyDrive files are available offline.

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1. Navigate to the Desktop. You can get there either by clicking the Desktop tile on the Start screen or hitting Windows + D.

Navigate to the desktop

2. Open File Explorer. Unless you moved it, you can find its folder icon on the taskbar.

launch file explorer

3. Right click on SkyDrive and select Make Available Offline.

Make available offline

After taking a few minutes to download all of your files from the cloud, your entire SkyDrive will now be stored locally. This setting applies only to your current PC. If you want all files offline on other computers, you must repeat this procedure on every Windows 8.1 device you own. 

If you want to only make your pictures or documents available offline, you can right click those folders and select Make Available Offline on them instead.


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Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
  • Lorne Says:

    Your suggestion for making files available offline is only temporary in windows 8.1. Microsoft updates keep changing the setting back to online. It makes windows 8.1 impossible to use on a laptop that you travel with as you never know when you will switch it on and find you have no access to your files.

  • Miranda Says:

    Hello, thank you for this help. I bought a new laptop and the skydrive on the new one is empty even though I think I'm signed in under my Microsoft Office password. How do I get the documents I had saved in Skydrive on my old laptop to the new one?

  • Jon Says:

    thanks, quick, concise advice... rare and valuable....

  • Rebecca Petruck Says:

    This was really helpful, but my only option is "Make available online only." Despite being connected to the internet, when I try to open a file, it errors as "available online only." Argh.

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