It's happening: OneDrive placeholders are returning as Files On-Demand

When Microsoft released Windows 8.1 in 2013, it brought OneDrive integration to the OS. And not only that, but it would show a user's entire cloud storage, only syncing files as needed. These were known as placeholders, and while they were beloved by many, they were removed in Windows 10.

Microsoft had said that there would be some sort of alternative to placeholders before the end of 2015, then they were expected for the Anniversary Update in mid-2016, and then many thought it would show up in the Creators Update after the feature was shown off at the company's Ignite 2016 conference.

But today, Joe Belfiore showed off placeholders, now known as Files On-Demand, and confirmed that they will be arriving this autumn in the Fall Creators Update. In fact, Microsoft says that it is the #1 requested feature for OneDrive on UserVoice, linking to a post from July 2015 that has over 25,000 upvotes.

You'll notice from the above image that a 1.37TB folder actually says it takes up 0 bytes on the disk. It works the same way as the old placeholders did though. The icons are different, as are the menu options, but the concepts are still the same.

You can simply right-click on a file or folder and select "Always keep on this device" to sync it. Alternatively, you can open an online-only file directly, at which point it will automatically download and open.

Microsoft also announced OneDrive Offline Folders for Android and iOS, although it said that it's already available for Android. It should roll out to iOS within the next few months. Oddly, there was no mention of the UWP OneDrive app, since that's all that Windows 10 S users have.

Still, if you're like many of us, today is a day to rejoice, as OneDrive placeholder functionality is finally returning. The Fall Creators Update is slated for, you guessed it, this fall.

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