I specified a custom location for the personal OneDrive folder while installing the OneDrive client in my Windows 10 Pro v1903. I placed this folder in the root of the drive D. After using this folder for some days I found that not all apps like backup software work with this folder correctly. It seems, the OneDrive folder I see in the Explorer is a virtual folder and all my files are not really stored on the drive D, which causes the problems I have.

The Explorer itself tells me that my OneDrive folder is on the desktop:

enter image description here

, but my desktop does not show this OneDrive folder.

I also can't find OneDrive in the system Indexing Options dialog - though the files in my OneDrive folder are indexed by the system.

The file manager Total Commander I'm using shows the OneDrive folder like a reparse point too:

enter image description here

So can anybody tell me how the OneDrive folder is implemented in Windows 10 and whether it is possible to find the real location of my files inside this folder? I am afraid my files could be stored on the system SSD drive, and I would want to avoid this and save my files really on the HDD drive D for several reasons.

1 Answer 1


The OneDrive that appears under the Desktop is a namespace junction, similar to the user folders that appear under This PC, that 'points' to an actual file system location. The registry entry that places it on the Desktop is:


and, if the location of the OneDrive folder was changed from its default, you should see your D:\OneDrive path as the data for the value named {A52BBA46-E9E1-435f-B3D9-28DAA648C0F6} under:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

OneDrive does some unique things with attributes, one of which is setting the L (link) attribute on its actual file system folders, and that is probably confusing Total Commander. enter image description here

The best way to determine a folder's or file's location in the file system is to view its Properties dialog or add the Folder Path column to a Details view in File Explorer. enter image description here

EDIT: The dir /ad command distinguishes between directories & reparse points:

C:\Users\keith>dir /ad
 Volume in drive C is Windows
 Volume Serial Number is F057-590D

 Directory of C:\Users\keith

08/19/2019  04:12 PM    <DIR>          .
08/19/2019  04:12 PM    <DIR>          ..
10/26/2018  01:42 PM    <DIR>          .cache
07/21/2018  06:37 AM    <DIR>          .gimp-2.8
07/21/2018  06:37 AM    <DIR>          .thumbnails
07/19/2019  08:49 PM    <DIR>          AppData
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     Application Data [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming]
07/19/2019  09:31 PM    <DIR>          Contacts
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     Cookies [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCookies]
08/16/2019  05:38 PM    <DIR>          Desktop
08/09/2019  04:12 PM    <DIR>          Documents
08/12/2019  05:59 PM    <DIR>          Downloads
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Favorites
05/15/2019  11:20 AM    <DIR>          Google_files
08/17/2019  10:59 AM    <DIR>          IntelGraphicsProfiles
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Links
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     Local Settings [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Local]
07/21/2018  02:22 AM    <DIR>          MicrosoftEdgeBackups
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Music
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     My Documents [C:\Users\keith\Documents]
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          mycontacts
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     NetHood [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts]
08/17/2019  11:01 AM    <DIR>          OneDrive
08/21/2019  04:39 PM    <DIR>          Pictures
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     PrintHood [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Printer Shortcuts]
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     Recent [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent]
08/22/2019  01:33 PM    <DIR>          Sandbox
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Saved Games
08/21/2019  06:18 PM    <DIR>          Screenshots
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Searches
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     SendTo [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo]
07/20/2019  10:52 AM    <DIR>          Standalone Programs
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     Start Menu [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu]
07/19/2019  07:51 PM    <JUNCTION>     Templates [C:\Users\keith\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Templates]
04/30/2019  11:48 AM    <JUNCTION>     TESTJUN [\??\C:\users\keith\documents\recipes]
08/14/2019  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Videos
12/23/2018  09:18 PM    <DIR>          Work
               0 File(s)              0 bytes
              37 Dir(s)  692,424,450,048 bytes free
  • I see the Link attribute for all folders in my OneDrive, even for those I set 'Free up space'. Do such items are really on my hard drives? The Folder Path column in the Explorer still shows D:\OneDrive for them...
    – TecMan
    Aug 21, 2019 at 7:16
  • Free Up Space tells OneDrive it can delete the file contents from your drive, but the directory structure and file info remain. Aug 21, 2019 at 14:06
  • I created a directory symbolic link with mklink /d, but the Folder Path column in the Explorer does not show the real location of the folder. So either I am doing something wrong, or your solution does not allow me to know what I need.
    – TecMan
    Aug 22, 2019 at 7:11
  • Sure, Folder Path will show the path of the link, not the path to its target. I think what you're missing is this: OneDrive files & folders have the L attribute set even though they aren't Links. Aug 22, 2019 at 15:47
  • Did you want to say that the L attribute is set even for the files that are located in the OneDrive folder and its subfolders on their places - exactly as we see them in the Explorer? If so, then it's really confusing.
    – TecMan
    Aug 22, 2019 at 16:11

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