How to Auto Sync OneDrive to External Hard Drive | 2 Methods

Want to sync OneDrive to external hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7? This page offers you a free tool to setup scheduled OneDrive sync task.


By Lily Updated on December 22, 2023

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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.


How It Works


📂 Method 1: Move OneDrive folder

You should disable OneDrive first. Then move OneDrive folder to external drive and setup OneDrive again. (Full steps)


🧿 Method 2: Use file sync software

Automatically sync OneDrive with external drive via the “Basic Sync” feature. (Full steps)

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. 

★ 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. Five schedule modes are available: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event Triggers and USB plug in.
★ Besides OneDrive, you can use it to sync Dropbox to external hard drive. Other cloud drives like Box, SugarSync, hubiC and Cloudme are also supported.

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:

AOMEI Backupper

Best free file sync software for personal use.

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.

Supplement: backup OneDrive to external drive automatically

Besides file and folder sync, this free software provides the file backup feature to help you backup OneDrive to external drive automatically. Click Backup > File Backup. Then, select the OneDrive folder to be backed up and select the external hard drive to hold the backup image. Finally, enable Schedule Backup and click Start Backup.

File Backup

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 of 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!

FAQs about OneDrive sync to external drive

1. What happens if I disconnect the external hard drive while OneDrive is syncing?

Answer: If the external hard drive is disconnected during syncing, OneDrive will encounter errors and might not be able to complete the syncing process. Reconnecting the external hard drive should allow OneDrive to resume syncing from where it left off.

2. Are there any limitations or considerations for syncing to an external hard drive?

Answer: One consideration is the storage capacity of the external drive. Ensure it has enough space to accommodate the OneDrive content you want to sync. Also, be mindful of the drive's health and reliability as it could affect the integrity of your synced files.

3. How often should I sync OneDrive to an external hard drive?

Answer: The frequency of syncing depends on how frequently your files change. For important files, you might want to sync daily or weekly. For less critical content, syncing monthly might be sufficient.

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.