Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

ODFolders-headerHave you ever started a brand new Microsoft365 subscription and looked at your OneDrive? I haven’t – but when I recently gave a basic tour of the Microsoft365 suite to a new colleague she asked me what I meant with the “Attachments” folder in OneDrive, as she did not see it.
Nor did I when she shared her screen.
But once she saved a file from Outlook to her OneDrive the folder was created.

I had already noticed earlier that I sometimes get these folders in my OneDrive, which I could not remember creating, so I decided to find out.

I removed all folders in my OneDrive and ended up with a completely empty page:

ODfolders-empty14-05-2020
An empty OneDrive at the start of the experiment. In fact, when I refreshed the page I got that “Let’s get started” popup as if I was a newbie!

And then started to do a few things and noted when a folder was being created and what it was called. The end result šŸ‘‡

ODFolders-allfolders
This was the result of my experiment.Ā 

1. Attachments

When you save an attachment from Outlook to OneDrive, the Attachments folder is created. By default you add all attachments there, although I wish you could select a folder of your own choice, which saves time.

ODFolders-attachments
Attachments from Outlook – I guess we all know this one!

2. Notebooks

When I created a new Notebook, this folder was added. It is pretty straightforward. I think your personal Notebook gets created in the top level but as I do not have it anymore, I am not 100% sure.

ODFolders-notebook
This is where your Notebooks are stored.

3. Apps

This folder is created when you create a Form with a File Upload as a Q&A type.
Fortunately, you get an explanation of this behaviour.

ODFolders-FormsFileUpload
As soon as you select this Q&A option, you get an explanation

Apart from the name of the folder being rather generic, you have to click through 3 nested subfolders before you get to the file that has been uploaded.
I sense an opportunity for optimization. šŸ˜‰

ODfolders-Forms
The “Document Upload” is the name of the Form, so that is a logical structuring.

3. Microsoft Teams Data

Have you ever seen the option “Open meeting notes” when you were on a Teams meeting? I am still finding out why I sometimes see it and sometimes not. At first I thought it was an organizer’s privilege (like “End Meeting”) , but the organizer of our daily work meeting does not see it either.
But I digress! If you click “Show meeting notes” in your Teams popup behind the … you will open a small side panel where you can start typing meeting notes. They will be stored in the Microsoft Teams Data folder in a subfolder called Wiki.

ODFolders-MeetingMinutes
Your meeting minutes. The document name could have been a tad more intuitive.

5. Microsoft Teams Chat files

This folder is created to store files that you share during a chat. This can be both a 1:1 chat, a group chat (outside of a Team site), or a chat in a meeting.

ODFolders-chatfiles
Files you have shared in a chat. No subfolders to distinguish meeting chats or other chats.

6. Pictures

This folder gets created when you connect your phone camera to OneDrive. After that, your pictures will automagically be added to OneDrive. Unfortunately it has a lot of nesting, like year and month.
šŸ‘‰ Be careful if you have a F3 license – you only have 2 GB of storage space so using this option may fill your OneDrive quickly.

ODfolders-Pictures
If you want to see your pictures, you have to click a lot!

7. Office Lens

If you install the Office Lens app on your telephone and you select OneDrive as the storage place of choice, a new folder is created with your first image. It is a plain list of files. I prefer to use the Office Lens functionality that comes with the OneNote, OneDrive and Teams apps, however. It saves me an app. šŸ™‚

ODFolders-OfficeLens
Your Lens pictures will be stored in this folder.Ā 

Wait, there’s more!

I tried adding documents to a few other applications (Yammer, ToDo, Planner) but they do not store files in OneDrive. I expected it in ToDo, being something personal.
The other day I installed Visio Data Visualizer which also created a folder. As I could not get it to work and it kept popping up in an annoying fashion I deleted it, and did not want to install it again just for this test. Guess I am not alone in my dislike according to the reviews.

Have I missed any?

Conclusion

šŸ‘ Your OneDrive serves as the hub for your personal documents in Microsoft365, so it makes sense that documents from all kinds of actions and applications are stored here. I expect that more applications will create folders over time.
šŸ‘ You can delete these folders and their content; when you start using the app again they will be recreated.

šŸ‘Ž Behaviour is explained for Forms and Pictures, but it should be explained everywhere.
šŸ‘Ž The naming convention and experience could benefit from streamlining, e.g. folder names, or the structuring of subfolders.
šŸ‘Ž I would like to see this also for attachments in ToDo, as this is your personal task list
šŸ‘Ž Users with an F3 license only have 2 GB of storage space in their OneDrive and they should be made aware of these folders, to avoid unpleasant surprises with a full OneDrive. I have written about cleaning your OneDrive before.

4 thoughts on “Who created those folders in my OneDrive?

  1. Sam May 18, 2020 / 12:27 am

    Ellen. Thanks so much for this wonderful summary. Much appreciated.

    • Ellen van Aken May 18, 2020 / 6:51 am

      You are most welcome, Sam! I hope this solves a mystery šŸ™‚

  2. Dave May 18, 2020 / 1:46 pm

    Thanks Ellen for the comprehensive list!

    • Ellen van Aken May 18, 2020 / 6:30 pm

      You are welcome Dave. Hope it clarifies some things.

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