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[Full Guide] How to Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive in Windows 10

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Tracy King updated on Mar 04, 2021 to Todo Backup Resource | How-to Articles

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Part 1. 2 ways to backup OneDrive to external hard drive Backup OneDrive to external hard drive by downloading OneDrive files to external drive or backup OneDrive files using OneDrive sync client ...Full steps
Part 2. Recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive Recover deleted files from OneDrive in Recycle Bin or restore permanently lost files from OneDrive with EaseUS data recovery software...Full steps
Part 3. Backup files/disk/partition automatically Backup files with EaseUS file backup tool instead of OneDrive. This Windows backup program helps to backup files automatically without limitation...Full steps

How to move or backup OneDrive to external hard drive?

"Did you ever meet this problem that the OneDrive folder was getting full of files? I'm having this problem that my OneDrive backup files are taking full space of the D: drive on my PC. And I don't know how to move the OneDrive backup files to my external hard drive. Can anyone show me how to backup OneDrive files to external hard drive? Thanks." 

Cloud storage service is becoming more and more popular because it's cheaper, more reliable, and more secure. One of the biggest cloud storage services is Microsoft OneDrive, which is available for both Windows and Mac users. OneDrive provides 5G free storage space for each user, and if you want to get more, you need to pay for it.

Many users choose to backup files with OneDrive and also know how to backup files to OneDrive. In this article, we will talk about another hot topic, which is how to backup OneDrive to external hard drive.

Why do you need to backup OneDrive to external drive? Here are some common reasons:

  • Limited cloud storage space, move files from OneDrive to external hard drive to free up space
  • Accidental deletion of files 
  • Files deletion or corruption caused by ransomware or malware when OneDrive is connected to the file system of your local hard drive
  • OneDrive files inaccessible due to no internet connection
  • Cloud service outage or crash

Now, you've already known the need to backup OneDrive to external drive. There comes the question of how to backup OneDrive effortlessly and successfully. Here, we cover two methods to help backup OneDrive files and folders.

How to Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive in 2 Ways

Two methods to backup OneDrive files to external hard drive are explained in detail below.

1. How to Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive Using the Web Interface

If you don't want to use any software or use any tools to backup OneDrive, you can resort to the web browser. You can download the OneDrive files that you've saved online to an external hard drive by following the guidelines here. 

Step 1. Login to your account on

Step 2. Choose to download the OneDrive files that you want to backup.

Step 3. Click "Download" once you've selected the files in your OneDrive account.

how to backup onedrive to external hard drive

Note: Do remember to change the location of your downloaded files to your external hard drive with the below guidelines:

  • Open the Internet Explorer, click the Tools setting button, and select View downloads.
  • Select Options in the lower-left corner and choose a different default download location - set your external hard drive as the default download spot by selecting Browse, then click OK once you're done.

Step 4. Once you've changed the OneDrive download location to your external hard drive, all files will be downloaded to your external HD.

2. Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive Using OneDrive Sync Client

OneDrive sync utility is a built-in Windows application that is available in the latest Windows versions, with a version for macOS. This tool allows you to mount OneDrive on a directory of your Windows file system. It allows you backup files to OneDrive, download files from OneDrive, and synchronize files between OneDrive and your local or external storage devices.

You can change the OneDrive location and move OneDrive files to external hard drive with the tips listed below.

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your PC.

Step 2. Right-click on OneDrive in the taskbar and select "Settings", click the "Account", then select "Unlink this PC". An OneDrive setup screen will show up, and you can choose to ignore it. 

Move OneDrive files to external hard drive.

Step 3. Open File Explorer and locate your OneDrive folder, click the "Move" to button, create and select a folder on your external hard drive. All files in the OneDrive folder will be moved to the external hard drive automatically.

Transfer OneDrive files to external hard drive.

Step 4. Sign in with your OneDrive account when the OneDrive setup screen pops up. 

Change OneDrive location to external hard drive.

Step 5. Click "Change location" in This is your OneDrive folder screen, and select a new OneDrive folder location, click "Use this location". By following these steps, you can sync and backup OneDrive files to external hard drive.

Set external hard drive to save OneDrive backup files.

Bonus Tips: How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from OneDrive Windows 10

If you mistakenly delete files and folders from OneDrive, don't worry; you still have a chance to restore them within 30 days. You can go to the Recycle Bin to restore the removed files from OneDrive.

If 30 days limit exceeds and you lose the files permanently, you still have the chance to recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive with a professional data recovery tool - EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.  

This world-known data recovery software can recover lost files, pictures, documents, videos after deleting, formatting, partition loss, OS crash, virus attack, and other data loss scenarios. In addition, it's also capable of repairing corrupted photos, videos, and documents.

See the steps below and learn how to recover permanently deleted files from OneDrive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard.

If your local files are in sync with the cloud device, when you delete the cloud device data (like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive), the local files will also be deleted. And you can use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover the local files, which works the same as recovering data from the cloud drive.

Step 1. Select the local drive (with synced Cloud data) to scan.

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the local drive, which is in sync with the cloud drive to scan. 

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Select the files you want to recover.

When the scanning completes, select the deleted cloud drive files to recover. To locate specific files, click "Filter" and choose the category or use the search bar. You can also double-click the file to preview its content.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover the deleted data.

After choosing the Cloud drive files, click "Recover" and choose a location on another drive to save the data.

Recover lost data

See More: How to Backup Files/Disk/Partition Automatically

Despite the high popularity of cloud storage services, a lot of people still rely on the traditional local or external hard drive as the go-to solution for backups. Besides, there are some deficiencies of OneDrive, like incremental backup is not available and location limitation. Therefore, we highly recommend you try a specialized file backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup to back up your important files or your entire computer through its user-friendly interface.

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Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP

This Windows schedule backup software support multiple types of backup, for example, file backup, system backup, and disk/partition backup in full, incremental, and differential backup.

What's more, it enables you to clone the system by migrating Windows 10 from HDD to SSD without reinstalling Windows.

Download this file backup software on your Windows computer and back up your files automatically.

Step 1. Open EaseUS Todo Backup and select "File" on the main window.

Run EaseUS Todo Backup

Step 2. Select the files to backup and select the backup destination.

You can choose specific files that you want to back up by browsing the left pane and click "Browse" to select a destination for saving the file backup.

You'd better create the backup file in some other storage media or in some other drive in case of getting the backup file corrupted or destroyed.

select the files to back up

Step 3. Create a backup plan to automatically back up selected files.

1. Click "Schedule: Off" to create a flexible and automatic backup plan. 

Create automatic backup plan

2. Set the automatic backup schedule by day, by week or by month and click "Save" to keep the changes.

Set schedule backup frequency

If you can also click "Backup options" at the left bottom to set more advanced parameters for the plan. 

backup options

And the Image-reserve strategy will help you to keep the backup image as per image retention rule.

image-reserve strategy

Step 4. Click "Proceed" to execute your operation.


This tutorial shows how to backup OneDrive to external hard drive by using the OneDrive free native functionality. You can backup OneDrive to external drive from the website or using the OneDrive sync client.

Except for cloud storage service, you can also back up your files, disks, or partitions with a reliable data backup program. EaseUS Todo Backup offers full-around data backup and restoring features to protect your data.

  Free Download

Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP

How to Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive FAQs

Here are more relevant questions about OneDrive backup. If you have any of these problems, troubleshoot here.

Can I sync OneDrive to an external hard drive?

You can sync OneDrive to external hard drive. When the external hard drive is connected to your PC or laptop, OneDrive will treat it as if it is just a regular part of your local storage. You can change the storage location to sync OneDrive folder to your external hard drive.

  • Right-click the OneDrive icon. Click on Settings and select Account.
  • Choose Unlink this PC.
  • Go to your original OneDrive sync folder. Move the folder to your external hard drive.
  • Sign in to your OneDrive account. Select the Change location to select the folder in your external hard drive to backup OneDrive.

How do I backup my OneDrive files? 

You have two ways to backup OneDrive files to external hard drive:

  • Manually download files and move photos in the web interface of OneDrive and storing these files in your external hard drive.
  • Sync OneDrive to an external hard drive on the OneDrive desktop client by changing the file sync location.

How do I backup my entire hard drive to an external hard drive?

To back up an entire hard disk or partitions to an external hard drive, the most effective way is applying an ultimate file backup software, like EaseUS Todo Backup.

You can back up your entire hard disk drive to an external hard drive with its Disk Backup feature in simple steps:

Step 1. Download and run EaseUS Todo Backup. Choose Disk/Partition backup mode.

Step 2. On the pop-up window, choose the hard drive or partition(s) you're going to back up. Then, select the external hard drive as a backup destination.

Step 3. Click Proceed to start to backup your hard drive to the external hard drive.

Is OneDrive good for backup?

Microsoft OneDrive is one of the biggest cloud services to back up, sync, and share folders and files. It supports PC, mobile, and web pages. Each user has a 5GB storage space for free. You can upgrade the available storage to 50GB for $2 a month, but the best deal is an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription, which includes 1000GB (1TB) of storage for up to five users.

How do I save to my hard drive instead of OneDrive?

You can configure the storage location to save files to your hard drive but not OneDrive. First, open any Office program like Word. Then click on File and click on Options. Now, click on Save in the left-hand pane and then check the box that says Save to Computer by default.

You can change the default local file location if you like in the box below the checkbox. Now when you go to save a file, it will save it locally rather than to your OneDrive account.

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