Microsoft resurrecting OneDrive ‘placeholders’ with upcoming On-Demand Sync feature

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It was an exciting announcement for enthusiasts when Microsoft announced that the OneDrive placeholders would be returning in the future. It seems the massive amount of support in the thousands for One Drive ‘smart files’ placeholders has been heard and is on the docket for Windows 10.

The feature is now going to be called On-Demand Sync which is a pretty accurate name for what it does. Users will be able to right-click on a folder or file then select to store it offline or re-enable online sync. It’s worth noting that while making a placeholder to store on your computer takes up space, it doesn’t nearly take the same amount as saving the full file.

As Neowin explains, Microsoft originally removed placeholders from Windows 10 early on because it was too ‘confusing’ for users. True that the ability to store some files offline while others were only available online could cause some people to scratch their head, but it was useful for determining which files would sync and when.

But there were further complications. According to Jeff Teper in an interview, they chose to remove it because it “never integrated with the Windows file system, meaning some apps, APIs and command line tools didn’t work as they should.” It looks like they’ve been working on fixing those integration issues for a while now.

We don’t have an estimated time when On-Demand Sync will be rolling out. but as we saw a couple of months ago, the feature could be releasing with Redstone 2. All we can really say for now is that it is coming.

The event has only begun so perhaps we’ll see more about it in the next few days with fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too much longer. Until then, keep watching WinBeta (OnMSFT) for more Microsoft Ignite 2016 news.