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.

7 Comments

  1. The forerunner of this was Microsoft MESH; then Windows Live MESH, first as a separate thing, then via Skydrive. Now it’s just the Skydrive app’s remote file access capability. Microsoft is actually devolving regarding this particular feature’s brand name recognition.

    It’s nice, though, that Microsoft is growing and evolving this feature (it has come a LONG way since original MESH), but as is common with Microsoft, each new iteration involves almost sea change; and so the user must get used to the new way, adapt to no limitations, and download new software. It’s trying on one’s patience.

    But, then again, we’re talking Microsoft, after all, so no surprises, I guess.

    ______________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  2. Vasudev

    Gregg, now SkyDrive with the latest update , you can select what to Sync

  3. @Vasudev: Yes, but if you think about it, you could do that with MESH, as part of Skydrive, too. Original MESH was its own thing, of course: 5GB of nothing-but-syncable storage space. But then MESH became part of Skydrive’s 25GB of storage. So, then, all one had to do wasput what one wanted to sync into the MESH part of Skydrive; and leave all else, that one didn’t want to sync, in the non-MESH part of Skydrive.

    Now, all that said — and in fairness (to Microsoft) — I realize that the way it works now is both more elegant, and permits more granularity. And, don’t get me wrong, that’s very cool. But it’s not anything truly new under the sun.

    It’s good, though… don’t get me wrong. No complaints, here. Actually, I was more upset that Microsoft completely ignored Android for so long; and so there were no Microsoft-made Android apps that allowed the use of Skydrive from the Android phone. We had to rely on third-party apps, some of which were pretty shaky… though I eventually found an excellent one.

    Also, as long as we’re talking about it, the very notion of “sync” to the cloud is anathema to at least some of us… usually old-timers, like me. I don’t trust “the cloud.” Simple as that. Never will… that is, unless I’m the one who owns the servers in it, and am completely controlling them.

    If you knew what I knew about “the cloud’s” practices, at the nuts-and-bolts logistical level; and the cavalier attitude that most who operate “the cloud” have toward users and their data, you’d not trust it, either. That said, I have been complimented by clients in my career for my almost religious-like reverence for data, so maybe I set the bar a little high. I dunno.

    But I don’t sync anything to “the cloud”… at least not for backup purposes. In fact, I don’t “sync” at all… except to the USB-connected hard drives that I weekly swap between home and office as part of a fairly sophsticated routine backup system to which I’m disciplined. Unless both my home and office burned to the ground or blew-up or something on the same night, my data — in fact, all my software installations, even my temp files (because my system includes periodic bare-metal disk imaging, too) — is completely safe, even without the cloud.

    All I use any part of the cloud for, mostly, is sharing something with someone, or enabling my access to certain documents/files when I’m out in the field without my computer. And the truth is, I’ve found a better way to do even that, now. I’ve got a free account on all the major cloud systems — and a free 25GB Skydrive account (I’m one of the old-timers grandfathered-in before the 7GB downsizing of free Skydrive accounts) — which I’m basically not using… at least not very much.

    The way I now have things set up in life , I can get at any file I own on any hard drive (and there are several… pushing 6TB of data, in all, including archives… a 56-year-old IT pro’s nearly an adult lifetime of even emails, dating back to the ’80s) from anywhere I happen to be, at any time, with or without either my notebook computer or Android phone, as long as I can sit down at at least someone’s Internet-connected computer. And as long as I have my keys with me (on the ring of which is a 32GB LaCie USB flash drive that looks like a key) I have even better tools for so doing, even on someone else’s computer. But I have it set up, actually, so that I could do it from any computer, no matter what.

    And not a single bit of it relies on services like Skydrive, Box, or any such service. It’s, in effect, my own sort of cloud. Only if either the electrical power or the Internet connection at BOTH my home and office were down would my system not work. And since I own my own servers in a data center if Florida, all I’d have to do is dedicate a server with 6TB of hard drives in it to the task, and I could have yet a third place where all of my files are accessible online. So I kinda’ don’t really need “the cloud” because I have, in effect, my own. I even have a way to share things with others within my own cloud that I control, without using any of the public ones.

    Even Google Play Music, with its whopping 20,000 songs that it’ll hold, per account, for free, doesn’t appeal to me; though, in that case, it’s because I refuse to stream my own music to my devices, and use-up the bandwidth. It’s easier to have a 32GB SDHC card in my Android phone, and just keep a few gigabytes of a representative sampling of pretty much anything I could possibly want to listen to, while out and about, on it. Putting entire CDs of music onto the phone, or taking it off, takes no time at all, once I’m at home or office, either by USB connection or WI-FI. Streaming music is just dumb.

    So, me and at least the public cloud hava a sort of arm’s-length relationship… and that’s just fine with me. I don’t see that changing in my lifetime.

    So, then, it matters not to me WHAT Skydrive allows me to sync. I’ll likely never use it. Yet I still need to know about it because I still have to recommend good solutions — including the public cloud, when necessary — to my clients.

    Bottom line, though: Yes, Skydrive, now, is cooler than ever. I grant it that. So, your point is well-taken.

    ____________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  4. Vasudev

    Thanks Greg for the elaborate reply with minute details!

  5. Aliasgar Babat

    Remote support tools such as RHUB remote support appliances can be used for various purposes including file transfer, desktop sharing, etc.

  6. Pratyush Nalam

    How to do this on Windows 8.1?

  7. vasudev

    As you read in this post, that feature has to be enabled from the Desktop app. While there’s no support for desktop app in Windows 8.1 as its already integrated into OS. https://www.thewindowsclub.com/deep-integration-of-skydrive-in-windows-8-1

    So this feature not there in WIndows 8.1 and the SkyDrive team informs about the same here; https://www.thewindowsclub.com/new-features-other-highlights-from-skydrive-team-at-reddit-ama

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