OneDrive Files On Demand – Perfect for BYOD

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Credit: TechoFAQ

Over the last couple of years it has been evident that increasing numbers of BYOD laptops have transitioned to Solid State Disks (SSD) which is terrific since they are significantly faster than traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDD), have lower failure rates and also improve battery life.

However, due to their higher price point, the actual available storage volume of SSD is often markedly lower than equivalently priced HDD.  This means students are faced with the difficult decision around what content do they store locally on the their device versus using selective sync in the OneDrive cloud and/or storing on an external USB drive.

Selective Sync effectively allows you to upload content into OneDrive that you don’t access frequently, and then download it when you do need it. Critically, however, this content will not appear in your local File Explorer browser so you can’t “see” it unless you log into OneDrive via a web browser and choose to sync it locally to your device.

OneDrive Files On Demand Coming In Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

This is why the announcement last Friday at the Build 2017 conference was so exciting. A new feature will allow you to see all of your content in OneDrive in your File Explorer, irrespective of whether it is stored locally on your device, or only in OneDrive in the Microsoft Cloud. Then, if you want to access any content that is only in OneDrive it will automatically be downloaded “on demand” when you click to open the file/folder.

You can optionally choose to then “always keep on this device” if you are going to be requiring regular or off-line access to this file.

Read the full blog post about this here.

Here are some images from the original blog post to show you how this works:

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Note that the selected folder takes up 1.37TB of storage in the OneDrive cloud, but that locally in File Explorer it shows 0 bytes on the local device.

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The various status of each file and folder is shown in the “Status” column, indicating whether it is in the OneDrive Cloud only or stored locally on the device. Right mouse clicking allows you to choose to “Always keep on this device”

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If a file is not stored locally, simply double clicking on it as you normally would to open a file will immediately trigger a download to open the requested file.

My Point of View:

I see this as being a massive aid for schools, helping both teachers and students maximize the performance of their devices. Getting more SSD into teacher and student devices will drive longer battery life, lower failure rates and faster accessing of content. However, by being able to seamlessly see what is in the Cloud and what is stored locally removes any barrier or confusion around the location of content for end users.

With many BYOD devices starting with 64GB of storage, this opens up the vast OneDrive storage capacity to students and teachers in an easier, more seamless way, meaning there is even less reason to use USB hard drives for storing content.

This feature will be available in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update as well as new OneDrive features for iOS/Android devices.

Upgrading BYOD Devices To Win10 Education

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UPDATE: I have had a number of schools asking me whether this upgrade path below allows students in a BYOD programme with MacBooks to upgrade to Win10 Edu for dual booting. The good news is that the answer is YES. Because Mac OSX / Mac OS is considered a qualifying license for the Windows Volume Licensing programme, students would be able to obtain a copy of Win10 Edu if their school sets up the Kivuto portal below. This PDF is the best source for further information.

I’ve come across a few schools that are unsure how they can upgrade student-owned BYOD devices from Windows 7/8 or 10 Home edition to Windows 10 Education edition. The main reason schools would want to do this is to manage the devices using a tool such as Microsoft inTune to push out apps or policy and, in rare instances, joining BYOD to the school’s domain. Provided the school is licensing their faculty correctly, they can extend a free upgrade to Win10 Education to their students too.

There is a good comparison between Windows 10 Home / Pro / Education editions here.

To achieve this, Microsoft has partnered with Kivuto to manage the software distribution through a private portal for each school. The process is pretty straight forward:

  1. Schools need to sign up for the programme by clicking here
    1. Schools need to provide their EES / MoE Agreement Number
  2. Verification generally takes only a few days
  3. The Kivuto Store Front is set up for the school
    1. This can be branded / themed to match school requirements
  4. Promotional material can be acquired to encourage students to upgrade to Windows 10 Education edition.

windows-10-student-300x250-v2 There are plenty of reasons why schools want to be standardizing on Windows 10 as a platform for staff and students and with this option, they can now easily ensure student-owned BYOD devices are running the same platform as school-owned devices for no additional cost.

Additionally, the Windows 10 Education license is a perpetual one so even after the student leaves the school they can retain the Windows 10 license on their current device, which adds even more value to this opportunity for students.