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

Updated by Gemma on Sep 15, 2021
Written by Tracy King

Microsoft OneDrive, as one of the biggest cloud storage services, provides 5G free storage space for each user. However, when your data takes up the OneDrive space, what will you do?

You have two options: 1. Purchasing more space. 2. Backup OneDrive to external hard drive. Here, we'll offer you 3 practical ways to protect OneDrive data:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Backup OneDrive to External Drive Online Connect external HDD and set it as IE browser' download location > Open OneDrive online...Full steps
2. Backup OneDrive to External HDD via Sync Client Connect external disk and right-click OneDrive on the taskbar, select "Unlink this PC"...Full steps
3. Backup OneDrive to External HDD with Software Connect external disk, run EaseUS file backup software, select OnedDrive files...Full steps

How Do I Backup OneDrive Files to External Hard Drive

"My OneDrive backup files are taking full space of the D: drive on my PC. I want to move the OneDrive backup files to my external hard drive. Can anyone show me how to backup OneDrive files to external hard drive?" 

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

  • Avoid accidental deletion of files.
  • Access OneDrive files without an internet connection.
  • Protect files from OneDrive service outages or crashes.
  • Protect local OneDrive files from deletion, corruption, virus infection.
  • OneDrive space gets full, moving OneDrive files to an external hard drive can free up space.

Complete Guide: How to Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive in Windows | 3 Ways

Here, we'll cover 3 reliable methods to help backup OneDrive files and folders to the external hard drive:

Before You Start: Remember to prepare a big external hard drive (with larger free space than your OneDrive files) and connect it correctly to your computer.

Now, you are good to follow the tutorials below to backup OneDrive files to an external hard drive immediately.

Guide 1. How to (Download) Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive Online (Web Interface)

If you've saved OneDrive files online and you don't want to use any software, you can use a Web browser to download and back up OneDrive files to an external hard drive.

Here are the guidelines that you can follow to download the OneDrive files and save them to an external hard drive as a backup:

Step 1. Connect the external hard drive to your PC and set it as the download location of your web browser:

  • Open the Internet Explorer, click "Tools settings", and select View downloads.
  • Click "Options" in the lower-left corner, and set your external hard drive as the download location.
  • Then click "OK" once you're done.

Set external hard drive as download location to backup OneDrive files

Step 2. Open the OneDrive site online and log in to your OneDrive account. 

OneDrive site link:

Step 3. Choose to download the OneDrive files that you want to backup.

Step 4. Click "Download" to save and back up OneDrive files to external hard drive.

Download and backup OneDrive files to external hard drive

When the process completes, you can view and use your OneDrive files on the external hard drive by then.

Note: Remember to changed the OneDrive download location from your external hard drive to the original default location. Otherwise, all files will be downloaded to your external HD.

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

The other way to back up OneDrive online files to external hard drive is using the OneDrive Sync Client.

With it, you can backup files to OneDrive, download files from OneDrive, and synchronize files between OneDrive and your local or external storage devices.

Check out how to sync and backup 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".

Step 3. Select "Unlink this PC".

An OneDrive setup screen will show up, and you can choose to ignore it.

Unlink OneDrive from PC

Step 4. 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.

Locate OneDrive folder

Step 5. Sign in with your OneDrive account when the Set up OneDrive screen pops up.

Sign in with OneDrive account

Step 6. Click "Change location" on Your OneDrive folder screen, and set the external hard drive as the new OneDrive folder location.

Set external hard drive as target location to download and backup OneDrive files.

Step 7. Click "Use this location".

By following these steps, you can sync and backup OneDrive files to the external hard drive successfully.

Guide 3. How to Backup Local OneDrive Files to External HDD with File Backup Software

The last way for OneDrive file backup is to turn to reliable file backup software for help. If you mapped your OneDrive to a local disk on your computer, EaseUS Todo Backup is a great choice.

EaseUS Todo Backup Highlights

  • Support multiple types of backup, like file backup, system backup, and disk/partition backup
  • Support schedule backup, full, incremental, and differential backup.
  • Support migrating Windows 10 from HDD to SSD, clone/upgrade disk.
  • Simple to operate and simplify the backup process.
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It enables you to directly backup OneDrive files from a local drive to the external hard drive in only a few clicks. Follow to backup your local OneDrive data now:

Step 1. Run EaseUS Todo Backup and choose "File" on the main window.

choose file backup

Step 2. On the "File Backup" window, you can choose the target files you want to backup

choose files you want to backup

Then add the plan name or text description to the file backup and then choose a backup location.

To backup files to an external hard drive, click "Browse..." in the "Destination" area.

Product News
EaseUS Todo Backup now supports users to back up files to the cloud. All you need to do is sign up with an EaseUS account, then you could enjoy a large cloud storage space. More advantages of backing up to the cloud include accessing backup files anytime and anywhere, saving file copies offsite, so you don't need to worry about virus attacks or computer failures, and easier and faster backup and recovery operations.
choose external hard drive to backup files

Also, if you're interested in getting more backup features, go and find them by clicking "Schedule", "Image-reserve strategy" and "Backup options".

schedule file backup

Step 3. After settings were all made, click "Proceed".

Bonus Tips: What to Do After Backing Up OneDrive Files to External Disk

After backing up your OneDrive files to the external hard drive, what's the next? To make use of your OneDrive space, you may need to delete files or folders in OneDrive.

Here below are the steps, source from Microsoft, that you can follow to free up your OneDrive space:

#Tip 1. Delete Files & Free Up OneDrive Space Online (via Web Interface) - Windows & Mac

Step 1. Go to the OneDrive website and sign in with your OneDrive account.

Step 2. To delete files from OneDrive online:

Point to each item > Check the files that you want to delete > Select "Delete".

Delete files to free up OneDrive space

Step 3. To delete folders from OneDrive:

Go up or back > Select a whole folder > Click "Delete" on the top of the page.

Delete folders to free up OneDrive space

Note that if you deleted the wrong files in OneDrive, you can restore them from the OneDrive Recycle Bin. Don't worry if you empty your Recycle Bin. You may follow this link for help:

#Tip 2. Delete Items from OneDrive with OneDrive Desktop App in Windows 10/8/7

Step 1. Open File Explorer on your computer.

Step 2. Find and open the OneDrive folder, select useless items, and press "Delete" on your keyboard.

Delete OneDrive files from local drive on Windows

#Tip 3. Delete Files/Folders from OneDrive with OneDrive App for Mac

Step 1. Open Mac Finder.

Step 2. Go to the OneDrive folder, select items you want to delete.

Step 3. Right-click on selected useless OneDrive files and select "Move to Trash".

You can also drag and drop them to the Trash bin on Mac.

Delete OneDrive files from local drive on Mac

#Tip 4. Recover Deleted OneDrive Files on Windows/Mac

If you deleted the wrong files from OneDrive local drive, don't worry. You can recover deleted files from Recycle Bin or Trash Bin. If nothing shows up in the Recycle Bin or Trash Bin, a professional data recovery tool like EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help. 

Follow to learn how to recover deleted files from OneDrive with EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard:

Why is EaseUS data recovery utility able to recover deleted files from cloud? It's because your local files are always in sync with the cloud device. When you deleted data from a cloud drive, like Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive, you deleted the local files as well. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is able to scan the local drive to find the identical files disappeared from the cloud drive.

Step 1. Select a local drive

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard and select the local drive, on which the files were synced to the cloud drive. Click "Scan" to get started.

select a location and click scan

Step 2. Check for scan results

When the scan completes, you can start finding the files that were removed from both the selected drive and the cloud drive. To locate specific files, click "Filter" and choose the category. Or, use the search bar to directly search a file or folder using its file name/file format. You can also double-click the file to preview its content.

Choose files to recover

Step 3. Recover desired files

Select the files you're looking for, click "Recover" and choose a different location other than the previous local drive to save the recovered data. 

Recover lost data

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How to Repair Corrupted Photos?

Sometimes, you may find OneDrive files like documents, files, and images are broken, don't worry. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard can help.

Image of repairing onedrive photos

Backup OneDrive Files Now, It's Your Turm

This tutorial shows when and why do you need to backup the OneDrive files, also offers 3 reliable guides to show you how to backup OneDrive to an external hard drive efficiently.

If you saved OneDrive files online, you can either try Guide 1 or Guide 2 via the Web interface or Sync Client. Except for the online method, you can also turn to a reliable data backup program like Easeus Todo Backup for help.

$59.00 Buy Now $53.10

Huge sale on lifetime subscription

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

With it, you can simply back up your OneDrive files and folders from the local drive to the external hard drive. As long as your OneDrive files are valuable, it worths your effort to create a second backup. Back up OneDrive files now, it's your turn.

FAQs on How to Backup OneDrive to External Hard Drive

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

1. 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 the 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.

2. 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. To back up one hard drive to another external hard drive, the "Disk/Partition" option is for you. Click this option and let's start.

choose disk/partition backup to backup disk to external hard drive

Step 2. On the "Disk Backup" window, please choose the hard disk you want to back up. You can choose the entire hard disk or only its several partitions according to your own demands.

choose the hard disk you're going to back up

In the "Destination" area, click the "Browse" button. Since you're going to back up the selected drive to an external one, you should click the "Computer" tab and select the external drive. Click "OK".

choose the external hard drive under computer tab

Now you've identified both the source and destination disks. Search for more advanced backup plans in the "Backup option" such as incremental backup, differential backup and so on.

Step 3. Just click "Proceed", and you can back up one hard disk to another external hard disk in a minute!

3. 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.

4. 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.

  • Open any Office program like Word.
  • Then click on "File" > "Options".
  • 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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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

Read full bio

Written by Tracy King

Tracy joined in EaseUS in 2013 and has been working with EaseUS content team for over 7 years. Being enthusiastic in computing and technology, she writes tech how-to articles and share technical solutions about Windows & Mac data recovery, file/system backup and recovery, partition management and iOS/Android data recovery.

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