By Lily / Last update November 30, 2021

Why should you sync OneDrive to an external hard drive?

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

  • Make OneDrive files offline. If you constantly need to use those files on different devices, 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 on the C: drive, which may be easily affected by computer failure. For example, in the event of files corruptions of ransomware virus infection, if the OneDrive files are encrypted or corrupted, they will automatically be synced to the OneDrive cloud. To avoid 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 an external drive

If you do not want to keep the original OneDrive folder, you can redirect the OneDrive folder to other location. Note that One Drive will treat the missing files and folders as deleted, thus, please disable OneDrive before moving it. Otherwise this operation may result data loss. Then, follow the steps below to move OneDrive folder to external drive. 

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

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

Unlink This Pc

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

Move OneDrive Folder to External Drive

4. When all the content 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 to 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 the OneDrive folder to the 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 file sync tool to create multiple sync tasks to sync other folders apart from OneDrive folder.

Then, After a brief understanding, you may want to have a try. Assuming you have the OneDrive desktop app installed and configured, follow the steps below to sync OneDrive to external drive while keeping the OneDrive folder on your computer.
1. Download and install this free folder sync tool AOMEI Backupper.

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

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

File Sync

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

Add Folder


  • If you just want to transfer files from OneDrive to USB drive or external devices, you can  select one or more subfolders containing files you want to sync in the OneDrive folder as the source folder(s).
  • You can exclude some subfolders if there are files with a certain file extension that you don’t want to sync, which is available in AOMEI Backupper Professional edition.

Click Filter

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

Select Sync Destination

5. Click Schedule to configure an automatic sync task if need be. For more options like email notification, or sync deletions, you can click Options. After that, click Start Sync to sync OneDrive to external hard drive.

Start Sync

Then the content in the OneDrive folder will be synced to your external drive as you configured.

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


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

And the later way is suggested. By using it, you can sync files to OneDrive as usual and keep a copy of original files. Then, if something bad happens to your computer, you still can use the copy in the external hard drive. Except for this, you still can use it to backup files, system or disk, hard drive clone, and many more in the professional version, clone dynamic disk, for example.