OneDrive Files On-Demand Downloads – Block and Unblock Apps via Settings

OneDrive Files On-Demand, a new feature which is essentially like OneDrive placeholders, has been made available with the release of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. OneDrive Files On-Demand feature which is enabled by default, allows you to set a file or folder available “online only”. These “online” files in your OneDrive folder are shown with the blue cloud icon, indicating that they’re just placeholders where the real files exist only in the cloud.

onedrive on-demand online file
OneDrive Files On-Demand : “Cloud” file

These files appear like normal files and File Explorer shows the full file size although they’re 0-byte files.

Hint: To make a file available only online, open the OneDrive folder, right-click on the file and click Free up space option. This changes the file status icon to blue cloud.

onedrive on-demand 0 byte file

onedrive online file - dir command file size brackets
Onedrive online file: “dir” command shows the file size within brackets.

Automatic file downloads: Block or Unblock Apps

When you access the “online” file manually or when an app accesses it, the file is downloaded on demand.

In addition, Microsoft wants to make sure that the user is in control of all file downloads from the OneDrive cloud. When an app tries to open an “online” file, OneDrive app shows a message displaying: what’s being downloaded, which app is requesting the download, and options to dismiss the message, cancel the download, or block the app from downloading.

onedrive automatic download cancel or block

onedrive automatic download cancel or block

If you’ve inadvertently blocked an app, you can unblock apps in Settings > Privacy > Automatic file downloads (in Insider builds, the option was named “App-requested downloads”).

onedrive on-demand unblock all apps automatic file downloads

Block or unblock individual apps?

Note that there is no option to allow or disallow individual apps via the Settings user interface. The list of “Automatic file downloads” blocked apps listing is stored in the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\CloudFiles\BlockedApps

For each blocked application, a subkey is created which stores the App Name, Path and Package Name (in case of Store Apps).

onedrive on-demand allow registry app unblock

To enable a particular app from downloading OneDrive On-Demand files, double-click the DWORD value Enabled and set its data to 0. Value data of 0 means the Policy is disabled, which means the app is unblocked now.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

3 thoughts on “OneDrive Files On-Demand Downloads – Block and Unblock Apps via Settings

  1. Great article with accurate description/screenshot; only issue is i cant find that regedit path.
    Any chance it could be located elsewhere?

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