Rumor has it that Microsoft will release the OneDrive universal (UWP) app soon to Windows Insiders. But if you are hoping that the OneDrive UWP app will work like the OneDrive Windows 8.1 we sorely miss in our Windows tablets, I have bad news for you. In the near future, at least, the new UWP app will work like the OneDrive app on your Windows 10 Mobile phone instead of how it worked on Windows 8.1.
How OneDrive Metro wpp worked in Windows 8.1
The OneDrive metro app in Windows 8.1 worked with the sync engine and your File Explorer to display your files it the metro app.
You could use the app to browse your hard drive or your OneDrive folder. Here’s how it worked with your OneDrive files.
- You could browse all your OneDrive files and choose to open it.
- When you opened a file that you have synced to your PC, it would launch the file from your hard drive and wouldn’t download it.
- When you opened a file that you have not synced to your PC, it would download the file and launch the file. In the future, that file remains synced and would always launch from the hard drive unless you “unsync” it.
Here’s how the OneDrive UWP app will work in Windows 10
This is how the universal version of the OneDrive app will work for now. It may change down the line, as Windows 10 is always evolving. But it will likely not change this year.
- You can browse all your files in OneDrive
- When you click on a file, it will download the file to a temporary folder and launch it for you. Or, it might ask you to save the file. This depends on how Microsoft implements it.
- It doesn’t matter if a file is synced on your PC or not. The app will always download the file from the cloud. This app will have no relation with or understanding of the desktop sync client.
Why is it different?
The reason is simple. The OneDrive metro app in Windows 8.1 isn’t a true Windows Store app. It is not installed through the Store. It is located in your Windows root directory and is not sandboxed. It has full system access. It is updated through Windows Update and not the Store. This is exactly how Microsoft Edge works.
The Universal app, on the other hand, comes from the Windows Store. It is sandboxed. It does not have full system access. It is located in the isolated WindowsApps folder in Program Files. It will work like the OneDrive app on your phone.
Will this change?
You bet! Windows 10 is now run as a service. I will not be surprised if we see the app become as powerful as the Windows 8.1 metro app eventually. But I doubt we will see this change in 2016. I am counting on the Redstone 2 release for this to become a reality.