Access and fetch any file on your Windows PC remotely using OnrDrive

Many of us must have used OneDrive for accessing files anywhere and sharing with anyone. With OneDrive, you can securely store your files and get to them from any of your devices be it your PC, Mac, Smartphone, iPad or iPod. Another cool feature of OneDrive many of us may not have used is, if you have forgotten to put your files in the OneDrive Folder, you can access your Windows PC and fetch that or any file from it remotely. As long as your PC that has the file is ON and running OneDrive, you can access any file you need, from anywhere.

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Let us see how to do this!

NOTE: SkyDrive is now OneDrive

As mentioned, the PC must be running OneDrive. So if you haven’t yet installed the OneDrive app , get the free OneDrive desktop app and install it. During the set up, leave the box checked “Make files on this PC available to me on my other devices” that will allow you to “Fetch your files from anywhere.”

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If you have already set it up but haven’t noticed this option (though its checked by default), no problem. You can do this from OneDrive System Tray icon (Notification area).

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Right Click on OneDrive icon > Settings , check the “Make files on this PC available to me on my other devices” option and press OK.

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Once this is done, your PC can be accessed from your other devices remotely.

Now from your other device, say other PC or even a Smartphone, Open Internet Explorer or other browser and sign in to OneDrive.com.

Your remote PC that has the OneDrive app running and from where you want to fetch files, will appear under ‘PCs’. Choose the computer by Clicking on that PC’s name.

In some cases, when you click on PC name to browse remote PC, for security check, if its not a trusted PC, it’ll send a Security code to the device from which you are accessing the remote PC.

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A code will be sent by the Microsoft Account Team to the email connected to the account which has to be entered for Security check. This is one-time process for Trusted PCs. Once this is done you can start accessing that PC, remotely.

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Now you can just  browse the whole PC as if you were sitting in front of it. You cannot delete or edit, but you can view, print, or download the file you forgot. Want to show someone a photo on that home PC? You can even stream video and view photos in a slide show.

This feature will be very useful for those who want to access PCs remotely and has not put files on SkyDrive or forgotten to do so. As mentioned earlier, you can even access the PC remotely using OneDrive with your mobile device , say Windows Phones, iPad, Android tab and so on.

Here are some screenshots of accessing PC remotely with iPod.

When you sign-in to OneDrive.com on your iPod, make sure you scroll down and click on ‘PC site’ for full site version. And start browsing the PC remotely.

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That’s all, its so simple – but so useful!

Some points to note:

  • You can use a Mac to fetch files from a Windows PC, but you can’t fetch files that are on a Mac.
  • On a network, if the Fetch files setting is unavailable on your PC, it might be blocked by Group Policy. So contact Network Admin.
  • To check OneDrive is running on a PC or not, check for the OneDrive icon in the Notification Area (Bottom right in your Taskbar). If not, search for OneDrive, and click on Microsoft OneDrive. This will open your OneDrive folder and also starts the OneDriveYou can even check the option of ‘Start SkyDrive/OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows’ from the Settings.

Give it a try – access your PC remotely from your Smartphone or other PC using OneDrive, and let us know how it goes for you!

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The author has been a Microsoft MVP awardee in various Windows categories (2006-2016) and currently a Windows Insider MVP. A Technology Enthusiast, interested in anything technical and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products. He is actively associated with various Microsoft online communities, forums, Newsgroups and has been actively involved in Beta testing various Microsoft products and bug submissions.