Upload Files to OneDrive without Syncing to Computer: 3 Ways

Do you know how to upload files to OneDrive without syncing? This article provides a complete guide to uploading files to OneDrive from PC without syncing.


by Jonna Lasted Updated February 10, 2023

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Can I Use OneDrive without Syncing?


I use OneDrive to upload my files. The problem is that I have a huge amount of files on my OneDrive, and whenever I run the OneDrive app, it automatically begins syncing my cloud files to my local drive. How to save folders to OneDrive without syncing?

If you've ever used the OneDrive desktop app to upload files, you've noticed that files saved in OneDrive are automatically synced to the computer. Not only do these locally synced files take up a lot of hard drive space, but due to the two-way sync of OneDrive, if you delete the synced files from your computer, they will also be automatically deleted from OneDrive.

Hence, there should be a solution that allows you to upload files to OneDrive without syncing. Three ways are available for you on this page.

How to Upload Files to OneDrive without Syncing Back to Computer in 3 Ways

Here we will provide you with two ways to remove OneDrive locally synced files. Also, we will introduce you to a free backup tool that allows you to move files to OneDrive without syncing.

Method 1. Upload to OneDrive without Syncing by Selective Sync Certain Folders

The selective sync feature of OneDrive allows you to choose which OneDrive folders to sync to your computer. The unselected folders will only stay on the OneDrive cloud, thus you can perform OneDrive one way sync from local to cloud.

You can follow the steps below to know how to upload files to OneDrive from PC with sync.

Step 1. Click on the OneDrive icon on the taskbar and tap Help & Settings > Settings.

OneDrive Settings New Windows 10

Step 2. Select the Backup tab and click Choose folders.

Choose Folder Min

Step 3. Untick Make all files available or select only the folders you want to sync locally and click OK. Then, these unselected folders will be saved only in the OneDrive cloud, so you can upload files to OneDrive on Windows 10 without syncing back to PC.

Unselect Make All Files Available

Method 2. Upload to OneDrive without Syncing using On-Demand Sync

On-Demand sync is a function of the OneDrive desktop client that enables you to access files in OneDrive without having to download them and use storage space on your computer. You can use this feature to set all OneDrive files synced locally to “Free up space” status, so to solve OneDrive takes up space on computer.

Here are the steps of how to upload files to OneDrive without syncing:

Step 1. Head to the OneDrive Settings.

Step 2. Go to the Settings tab, select Save space and download files as you use them to click OK.

Enable Files on Demand

Step 3. Open the OneDrive folder on your computer and right-click the files and folders that you want to save online only, then choose Free up space.

OneDrive Free Up Space

Method 3. Upload to OneDrive without Syncing with Third-party Tool

Except for using features in the OneDrive app, there is another way to upload to OneDrive without local copy - using the free cloud backup and sync service CBackup. Compared to OneDrive, it has some advantages:

Comprehensive file sync. It allows you to sync files and folders inside and outside OneDrive folder automatically. And you can use it to synchronize files to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and multiple mainstream cloud drives.
Easy to use and fast sync. It has a user-friendly interface and it has no limitations on file upload, including file sizes and upload speeds.
Flexible schedule sync. It supports daily/weekly/monthly schedule sync, allowing you to set up OneDrive auto sync according to your needs.
Easily exclude files from sync. It offers a File Filter feature to help you exclude files from OneDrive sync with simple clicks.

Please download and install this freeware and go on with the simple steps below to upload files to OneDrive without syncing.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Apply for a new CBackup account and sign in to the OneDrive desktop app.

Step 2. Click Storage > OneDrive > Authorize Now to add Google Drive to CBackup.

Select OneDrive

Step 3. Tap Sync > Sync PC to Public Cloud to create a new file sync task.

Choose PC to Public Cloud

Step 4. Choose the files and folders you want to upload to OneDrive, specify a OneDrive folder as the destination, and hit Start Sync to upload to OneDrive without syncing locally.

Select Folders to Sync to OneDrive

Tip: If you want to know how do I automatically upload files to OneDrive or how do I exclude files from sync in OneDrive, click Settings, then set up OneDrive auto sync under the Scheduler or exclude files in OneDrive sync under the File Filter tab.

How Do I Use OneDrive as Backup not Sync?

When you use OneDrive, you should remember that OneDrive is a sync tool to get to your files and photos from anywhere, on any device, but not a backup tool. If you wish to use OneDrive for backup only, CBackup can help you.

This utility lets you back up files to OneDrive and restore files when something unexpected happens, like file deletion, file corruption, file loss, etc.

Notes: The differences between syncing and backing up files to OneDrive using CBackup
The data synchronized to OneDrive can be used directly. And if multiple synchronizations are performed (assuming that the data has changed), the data of the subsequent synchronization will overwrite the data of the previous version.
The data backed up to OneDrive cannot be directly used in the cloud, but the files can be recovered through the Restore function. Backing up files multiple times does not overwrite previous file versions but will create multiple file versions.

Below are the detailed steps to use OneDrive as a backup not sync tool.

Step 1. Launch CBackup and select the Backup section. Click on Backup PC to Public Cloud.

Create Task

Step 2. Select items for backup and pick OneDrive as the backup path.

Step 3. Press the Start Backup to backup data to OneDrive easily.

Start Backup Files to OneDrive


Uploading files to OneDrive without syncing locally is a great way to help save hard drive space and protect data online. If using the selective sync and on-demand sync features on OneDrive is bothering you, turn to use any third-party tool like CBackup to make the process easier.

Moreover, the CBackup backup tool could help you perform data backup to OneDrive and use OneDrive as a cloud backup tool.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

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