Splitting up OneDrive folders to separate disks

Disclaimer: only follow this guide if you have a backup of your data, don’t come to me telling you lost all data and didn’t make a backup before following this guide. Use at your own risk!

I am using OneDrive for a lot of things: my documents, my photos, my videos, etc. On my main pc, I have 2 disks:

  • C:\ => a combination 3 SSD’s in RAID0 to maximize performance for the OS and apps, available space is 300 GB
  • D:\ => A regular disk to store files that don’t need lots of activity, available space is 1 TB

Since I like to take RAW photos, my OneDrive usage looks like this:

  • Documents (5.88 GB)
  • Pictures (177 GB)
  • Videos (10 GB)

This means that after installing a few games (that also take quite some space) on the C drive, I am basically out of luck because to sync my OneDrive stuff, I would need more than what the C drive has to offer.

Possible solutions I tried in the past

The first thing I did was to uninstall a few games, but this was just a temporary solution because eventually the Pictures folder became bigger and bigger (Lumia 950XL shooting RAW can take quite some space).

The second thing I did was to move all the files to the D drive because it had much more space. But boy my documents (which I am working in daily) were… so… slow.

The third option I tried was not syncing the Pictures folder to this main PC at all. But then I wanted to edit my photos in Lightroom and got stuck again

The solution – directory symlinks

The something came to mind: why not try and see if we can use symlinks to store the Pictures and Videos on the D drive while keeping the rest of the stuff on the C drive. It was actually simpler than I thought. In order to move some OneDrive folders to a separate disk, use the following simple guide to do so.

  1. Stop OneDrive so it doesn’t sync anything
  2. Move both the Pictures and Videos folder (or any folder you’d like to move to a different disk) to a different drive (in my case D), so I ended up with:
    1. D:\Pictures
    2. D:\Videos
  3. Open a command prompt window (in administrator mode) and navigate to C:\Users\[yourname]\OneDrive
  4. Use the following command to create a symlink for a directory:

    symblink /D [name] [directory]

    In my case these are the commands:

    1. symlink /D Pictures D:\Pictures
    2. symlink /D Videos D:\Videos
  5. You will see the directories “appear” again in the OneDrive folder. Now you can start OneDrive and your data is ready to be synchronized (it should already be synchronized if you haven’t changed any files from the moment you performance step 1)

onedrive_symlinks

This way I can store my pictures, which I don’t edit that often, on a separate, very large and cheap drive while keeping my documents on a super fast drive and still sync everything with OneDrive.