OneDrive in Windows 8.1 had a handy space-saving feature called Placeholders. With Placeholders, you would be able to access any file on your OneDrive by double-clicking an icon as you normally would, but the file itself wouldn’t actually be downloaded to your PC until you opened the file.
Microsoft removed Placeholders from Windows 10, much to our dismay, but it looks like they’ll be returning soon. According to Thurrott.com’s Brad Sams, Microsoft is looking to reintroduce the Placeholders feature in the upcoming Windows 10 Redstone release, which is due to arrive sometime next spring.
According to Sams, Microsoft removed Placeholders in the first place because “not everyone understood how the feature worked.” That is, if you didn’t realize that your files weren’t stored on your hard drive and you tried to work on them while you’re offline, well, you’d probably want to curse out Microsoft. It’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft addresses these user-confusion issues—Sams suggests that Microsoft should have Placeholders turned off by default.
Why this matters: While the loss of Placeholders may not seem like a big deal on multi-terabyte drives, Placeholders were a great feature for those of us on notebooks or tablets with smaller drives. Needless to say, despite the potential pitfalls, there are plenty of Windows users who will be thrilled to have Placeholders back.