By Lily / Last update May 23, 2023

Why should you sync OneDrive to external hard drive

OneDrive is a very useful cloud storage that helps to manage your personal files everywhere on any platform. With the OneDrive app installed, your files saved in the cloud will be synced to your local storage in real-time. But besides the local computer, sometimes users want to sync OneDrive to external hard drive because of the following reasons:

  • Make OneDrive files offline. If you need to use those files on different devices constantly, you can sync the OneDrive folder to a removable storage device just in case of the internet network offline.
  • Avoid any potential data loss. The default location of OneDrive folder is in the C: drive, which may be easily affected by computer failure. For example, in the event of files corruptions or ransomware virus infection, the corrupted or encrypted files may be synced to the OneDrive cloud immediately. To avoid such unexpected data loss, you should backup your OneDrive folder offsite for an extra layer of data protection.

Then, how to sync OneDrive to external hard drive? Please keep reading below and you will get 2 helpful ways.

Method 1: Move OneDrive folder to external drive

If you do not want to keep the original OneDrive folder, you can redirect the OneDrive folder to another location. Note that One Drive will treat the missing files and folders as deleted, so please disable OneDrive before moving it. Otherwise, this operation may result in data loss.

Step-by-step to move OneDrive folder to external drive:

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

2. Click the Account tab and select Unlink this PC. A OneDrive setup screen will pop out, and just ignore it for now.

Unlink This Pc

3. Open File Explorer and locate your OneDrive folder. Then click the “Move to” button from the upper column and then select a folder on the external hard drive.

Move OneDrive Folder to External Drive

4. When all the contents in the OneDrive are moved to the external drive, bring out the OneDrive setup screen, and sign in with your OneDrive account.

Set Up OneDrive

5. In the This is your OneDrive folder screen, click the link “Change location".  Then select the new OneDrive folder location and click Use this location

Your OneDrive Folder

6. Click Next and complete the setup process via on-screen instructions. After that, it will sync your files again. 

Method 2: Sync OneDrive with external hard drive automatically

Except for moving OneDrive folder to external drive, you can still sync OneDrive with a free and reliable file sync software for Windows 11/10/8/7 to ensure your files are always safe. AOMEI Backupper Standard is a great option because of the following advantages. 

  • It allows you to sync OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive files to computer and vice versa.
  • You can set up a one-way sync task to sync some or all files in OneDrive folder to a removable storage device.
  • If you want the files to be synchronized automatically, you can add a schedule to run the sync task or sync the OneDrive folder in real time (available in Professional edition).
  • You can use this free sync tool to create multiple sync tasks to sync other folders apart from OneDrive folder.

After a brief understanding, you may want to have a try. Assuming you have the OneDrive desktop app installed and configured, you can simply download and install this sync software to have a try:

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to sync OneDrive to external drive with a schedule:

1. At the main console, click Sync and choose Basic Sync.

File Sync

2. In the Basic Sync screen, click Add Folder and select the OneDrive folder as the source folder to be synced. 

Add Folder

💡 Tips:

  • If you don't want to sync the whole OneDrive folder, you can select one or more subfolders containing files you want to sync as the source folder(s) to transfer files from OneDrive to USB drive or other external devices.
  • You can exclude some files with a certain file extension that you don’t want to sync with Filter settings, which is available in higher editions.

Click Filter

3. Select a folder on your external hard drive as the destination path.

Select Sync Destination

4. Click Schedule Sync to configure an automatic sync task based on your need.

Sync Automatically

5. After that, click Start Sync > Add the schedule and start sync now or Only add the schedule. Then the contents in the OneDrive folder will be synced to your external drive as you configured.

Start Sync

📖 Notes: 

  • For more options like email notification or syncing deletions, you can click Options.
  • The steps are same to sync external hard drive to OneDrive. You just need to change the source folders and destination path.

📖 More sync modes available in advanced editions:  

  • Real-Time Sync: sync changed files from the source directory to the destination directory in real time.
  • Mirror Sync: always keep the files in the destination directory exactly the same as the source directory.
  • Two-Way Sync: any changes in the source of destination directory will be synced to the other side mutually.

Besides file and folder sync, this free software provides you with file backup feature, you can use it to backup OneDrive to external drive automatically. By comparison, it adds an extra protection layer to your files by compressing all the files to an image file, and you can only access them by restoring files from image first.

Moreover, if you create an AOMEI account, you are able to backup files to AOMEI Cloud. It offers you 1TB free storage for 15 days after you sign up for an AOMEI account.


As mentioned, the default OneDrive folder location is not ideal for data protection, so you should either move the OneDrive folder to external drive or sync OneDrive to external hard drive with the original OneDrive folder intact. 

And the latter way is suggested. By using it, you can sync files to OneDrive as usual and keep a copy of the original files. Then, if something bad happens to your computer, you still can use the copy on the external hard drive. Except for this, you still can use it to backup files/system/disk or clone C drive to SSD. Try it out to discover more!