Ever since Windows 10 was in preview and the modern OneDrive app was no longer an option like it was in Windows 8/8.1, users have wanted a touch friendly interface for working with their OneDrive cloud storage.
Last week there was a leak of a desktop Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app that could be side loaded on Windows 10 systems and so everyone had an unofficial poke around the app at that time but now we have the real deal available.
If you are running any version of Windows 10 you will be able to download and install the new OneDrive UWP app from the Windows Store.
Now before you get overly excited about having this new app you should be aware that its functionality runs parallel to the OneDrive app that we have had mobile phones for the last couple of weeks - Build 17.10.1. In fact, as you look through the gallery you will see the similarities between the two platforms. Of course, as a UWP that is to be expected.
However, one area this app does not change is how files are synched with your Windows 10 PC. The OneDrive desktop program that is installed with Windows 10 continues to handle that process and nothing has changed in relationship to that.
The new UWP app itself is also going to remind you a lot of the OneDrive website because it provides similar functionality but you no longer have to go to the website to perform those functions.
You can view, download and share any files that are in your OneDrive storage from within the app including creating links to those files to share through other channels.
As I tried this app out last night on both Windows 10 Current Branch (Version 1511 Build 10586.318) and the current Windows 10 Fast Ring (Build 14342) I made some notes as I worked with the app and have a few extra observations.
- This app shows you all of your files that are stored in OneDrive including those which you do not sync with your PC through the OneDrive desktop sync client. That means you can see everything and download a file that is not synched to your device but there is no offline mode. You must be connected to the Internet otherwise you can not access your files.
- The new app supports dragging and dropping files into the app interface but I noticed I can not drag those files over a folder and have them stored directly into that folder. In order to drag and drop items into a folder it must be open in the app first.
- I set up a test account to try out a few things with the new app and after dropping in a handful of files all I saw was the photo app icon for them. I had to log out of that account in the app, go to the OneDrive website and log in with that same account and then head back into the OneDrive app to log back in and finally see the files properly.
- One thing the app delivers that you do not get through the OneDrive website is multiple account support which is a huge plus.
The other item of discussion is about placeholders and this new app.
Many users liked the use of OneDrive placeholders in the cloud storage service in Windows 8/8.1 and have been hoping for their return ever since they were removed as part of Windows 10 however, it appears this app might be a compromise in that area. The app does give you a full view of all files in your OneDrive storage whether they are synched to your local machine or not however, you must be connected to access those files or to download them.
Now, when you think back to placeholders in Windows 8/8.1, they worked very similarly and needed a connection to the Internet to access and download those files so this compromise actually delivers similar functionality for those cloud based files that do not sync on your device.
That would make it a reasonable compromise and returns access to those cloud only based files like we had them before Windows 10. The big difference is that they do not appear in File Explorer under the OneDrive folder but now through the new OneDrive UWP app.