Cannot use OneDrive for business as backup

On internet, there are many users who search “backup to OneDrive for business”. Just like the following user case.

“Does anyone know of a step by step guide to automatically set up OneDrive for Business across all tenant users? I need a backup policy for my user and One Drive is included with our Office 365 Business Premium subscription.”

One Drive For Business

In fact, file backup or other backup types can be used to restore your data or system at any time. However, in OneDrive, you are only allowed to recover files or folders in the OneDrive Recycle Bin within 90 days, then it will go forever. Besides, if the Recycle Bin is full, the oldest items will be deleted automatically after 3 days. More seriously, the restore from OneDrive Recycle Bin is a partial recovery and around 20% of the files wouldn’t restore, saying, there are not in the location.

Fortunately, you still can backup data to OneDrive with other methods instead of itself.

OneDrive for business backup solution

As mentioned above, OneDrive is not a backup tool, so you cannot use it for backup. Fortunately, you can make use of the built-in tool file history or a third-party backup software.

For the first method, you need to move the OneDrive folder to another location, mapped the OneDrive as local drive, then use file history to backup and select the mapped drive as backup path. For the second one, you just need an installed OneDrive and then select it as destination path during the backup process. The details will be explained later.

Why use OneDrive for backup drive?

The benefits of backup files to OneDrive for business:

  • Online backup can avoid natural disaster. The one clear advantage that online storage has over local backup is that your data is stored away from home or office, meaning that your important data is free from local disasters like fires and floods that could impact your external hard drive, optical discs, or other local backup destinations or media

  • Online Backup can avoid hardware issues or other problems. Having your data stored in a physically secure, enterprise-grade data center also means that it's protected from theft as well as most common hardware failures.

Backup to OneDrive for business using built-in tool

Besides using the OneDrive for Business desktop app for synchronizing files from local to cloud, you can also use other backup tools like Windows Backup and Restore or File History to backup to OneDrive.

Move OneDrive folder to another location

By default, OneDrive folder is located in C: drive. You should never backup files to the same local drive that has to be backed up. The system drive may be the most vulnerable partition on your internal hard drive.

If the system drive gets virus infected and encrypted your files, this change will also sync to OneDrive cloud. Therefore, you may want to change the-the OneDrive folder to another location. For backup purposes, it is recommended to move OneDrive folder to external drive.

1. Right click on the OneDrive taskbar icon and then select "Settings".

2. Under the Account tab, select "Unlink this PC". Then you will the OneDrive setup screen appear, and just ignore it for now.

Unlink This PC

3. Open "File Explorer" and locate your OneDrive folder. In the File Explorer Home tab, click Move to button and then select a location to move the OneDrive folder.

Move to

4. When it completes, go back to the OneDrive setup screen, and sign in with your OneDrive account.

Setup OneDrive

5. In the "This is your OneDrive folder" interface, click "Change location". After that, select "Use this location".

Change Location

Map OneDrive for Business as a network drive

To use backup tool like Backup and Restore or File History to backup to OneDrive, you can map OneDrive as a network drive.

1. Open a web browser (IE 11 is recommended) to login to your OneDrive for Business account. At the login screen, you should check the Automatically login option.

2. Down the left corner, click "Return to classic OneDrive".

3. Copy the URL without “/Forms/All.aspx”.

Copy URL

4. Open "File Explore", and click "Map network drive". Then enter the link address you just copied to connect the OneDrive.

After that, you can see the mapped OneDrive in File Explorer. With a mapped OneDrive for Business drive, you can use backup tool like File History to directly backup to OneDrive. For detailed steps, refer to: 2 Workarounds That Let File History Backup to OneDrive.

Use free backup software to backup files to OneDrive for Business

Besides the File History, you can also use free backup software to backup files to OneDrive for business. AOMEI Backupper Standard is free backup and sync tool that allows you to backup files to cloud, network drive, external hard drive and other storage devices. And it’s easy to operate, even for beginners.

Here are two features you can use for backup, File Sync and File Backup. If you need to preview your files very frequently, you can use “File Sync”. If you want to create an image backup, then select File Backup instead. The steps are quite alike.

In the following, I’ll introduce you some features you may use later:

  • Schedule Sync: This feature is used to help users who may forget to create a backup but need to protect data continuously. It supports different sync mode, such as, daily, weekly, monthly, etc. After set, these operations will be performed automatically without human intervention.

  • Fast Synchronization: This feature is very smart and can only sync changed files in the source. If you don’t check this feature, it will sync changed files in source and target. That’s to say, if you delete files in the target, the deleted files will be synced to target again.

  • Email Notification: If you do not want to wait, but want to know if the backup was successful, you can check this function. After the backup task is over, it will inform you the final result or the error message during the process by email.

To use OneDrive for business as backup, follow the detailed steps below:

1. Free download AOMEI Backupper. Install and open this tool.

2. Then you can click on the Backup tab, and select File Sync. If you want to create an image backup, then select File Backup instead. The steps are quite alike.

File Sync

3. Click Add Folder to select one or more folders that you want to backup to OneDrive for Business.

Add Folder

Sourch Folder

4. Click the inverted triangle and “Select a cloud drive”, then choose OneDrive as the destination path and click OK to exit.

Backup To Onedrive

5. Click Start Sync. If you want to automatically sync to OneDrive, you can click “Schedule” to add schedule to run this sync task.


  • Since OneDrive for Business has 1TB or more cloud space, you can create more backups to OneDrive for Business. For protecting your system and installed programs, you can also use this free tool to create system image backup.

  • For being able to restore your system or files when system failed to boot, you can create bootable disc or USB drive to restore your data.

  • To enjoy more advanced features, such as, real-time file sync, USB plug in, Filter settings, etc, you need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

  • To backup files on server to OneDrive for business, you need to use AOMEI Backupper Server. Because the Standard and Professional version does not support server-based operating system.

After reading above methods, you can choose one of them. I personally prefer the free backup software, because it’ very easy to use and doesn’t cause you any trouble. on the contrary, with its Schedule Sync or other features, your backup will be more convenient.