Microsoft OneDrive gives you handy cloud-based storage for all your files. Used by businesses and schools, it provides a convenient way to share files and access documents on more than one device, letting you get to your files wherever you are.
If you’ve been set up to store your files on multiple OneDrive accounts, you may find yourself having to switch between them throughout the day. You might work on files for multiple clients or have schoolwork on one account while you use files for your job on another. Unfortunately, moving between OneDrive accounts can be a little tricky.
With the right tools, though, you can move seamlessly between OneDrive accounts throughout the day. We’ll work through all your options to find the one that works best for you.
The Problem With Multiple OneDrive Accounts
Having multiple OneDrive accounts can be convenient, but when one of your accounts doesn’t sync up, things get frustrating. Something as small as a missed update on one of your devices can cause syncing issues. When your OneDrive accounts won’t sync, you’ll have to stop to troubleshoot the issue, which takes time out of your busy day. At the very least, you’ll need to go to the other device to grab the latest version of the file.
The problem with this plan is that your devices may not always be available to you. If one account is on your work desktop, for instance, but you’re working from home on your laptop, you could be stranded without access to the latest version of a document.
Sometimes even if you have only one OneDrive account, you can get the dreaded “You’re syncing a different account” error. This is an issue with your credentials that can be fixed by going to the Credentials Manager and choosing the Windows Credentials tab. You can then take a look at all the credentials and remove any that aren’t legitimate.
There’s also the issue of mobile. OneDrive makes it easy to access your files from wherever you are, even on your smartphone or tablet. But you’ll want to make sure any changes you make on your mobile device are saved so that when you return to your desktop, you have the latest version. This is where setting things up correctly is important.
You can manage multiple OneDrive accounts in Windows or on your Mac O/S, but if you regularly move between accounts, an app might be the answer. You’ll eliminate the headaches that come with having more than one account and free yourself up to move back and forth easily throughout the day.
How to Manage Multiple OneDrive Accounts Using an App
The easiest way to manage multiple OneDrive accounts is through an app like Shift. With Shift, you add each of your OneDrive accounts to the dashboard. Simply name the shortcut and choose a color, and all of your accounts will be side by side. When you need to switch from one account to another, all you’ll need to do is click the appropriate icon.
The best thing about using Shift for OneDrive is that you’ll stay logged in. Instead of signing out under one account and signing in under another, you can toggle back and forth with just the click of a mouse button. You can still sync your accounts to keep files updated with the most recent version, but you also have the option of keeping files on separate accounts.
OneDrive is only one of many apps supported by Shift. That means you can add OneDrive and access it alongside all the other software you use throughout the day. The “multiple accounts” option works with all these other apps, as well. You can, for instance, set up your multiple instances of Gmail or Outlook and move between those accounts throughout the day, as well.
How to Create a Second OneDrive Account
If you have a personal OneDrive account, you’ll only be able to add a work or school account. Your Microsoft OneDrive account includes one login for personal use.
To add a second OneDrive account, follow the below steps:
- Click on the OneDrive icon
- Choose Help, then Settings
- Find Account in Settings and then click on Add an account
- OneDrive setup will launch
- Select Sign in and input your credentials
Manage Multiple OneDrive Accounts on Desktop
Once you have your accounts setup, you’ll need to manage them. You can use an app like Shift and set up a shortcut for each of your account usernames, you can operate them from separate folders, or you can sync your various accounts to see everything in one place.
Whether you’re in Windows or on Mac, you can operate multiple OneDrive accounts on the same device using the OneDrive desktop app. Follow these steps to operate your OneDrive accounts together.
- Download the new OneDrive sync app
- Click Open my OneDrive folder to see the files associated with that account username
- Click the OneDrive icon and choose Settings
- Double check the list that designates whether files are available only when you’re online, only when you’re offline, or at all times
- Click Add an account and sign in to the second account
- Choose Open my OneDrive folder to see the files associated with that account and their settings
- Go to Windows File Explorer and make sure you see folders for both OneDrive accounts
If you use any of your OneDrive accounts on other devices, the files will automatically sync to ensure you always have the latest version of any document. You’ll also see a cloud in your notification area that shows you the sync status of your OneDrive files.
Sometimes, you’ll find that you have multiple OneDrive folders by accident. If you switch computers, for instance, OneDrive might sync up your new device with an older folder you forgot was out there. To remedy this, you simply would need to unlink the account, but in some cases, you might have to edit the Windows registry to get rid of the extra file.
Manage Multiple OneDrive Accounts on Mobile
One of the best things about OneDrive is that you can access your files from your mobile device. This lets you view and edit your documents from wherever you are.
To get started, you’ll need the OneDrive mobile app. There’s a version for iOS and Android, and all you’ll need to do is input your phone number to get a link via text. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll just need to enter your account username and password to see your files.
To move between OneDrive accounts on your mobile device, you’ll need to sign out and back in again under the other account username. As with the desktop version, you won’t be able to have more than one personal account on your mobile device.
OneDrive Fact and Fiction
Q: Do I need a Microsoft Office 365 subscription to use OneDrive?
A: Fiction. Yes, OneDrive is included with an Office 365 subscription, but it’s available to everyone. You can download OneDrive for Windows or Mac and start taking advantage of cloud backup services.
Q: Is OneDrive free?
A: Fact and fiction. OneDrive is included with a Office 365 subscription, and those prices start at $5 per month per user. But if you don’t have Office 365, you can get up to 5 GB of storage on your personal account for free. If you need more than 5GB, or you’re using OneDrive for your business, standalone OneDrive plans start at $1.99 per month.
Q: Does OneDrive sync my entire hard drive?
A: Fiction. You designate the folders you want to sync to your OneDrive account. You wouldn’t want to sync your entire hard drive, though. You can set it up so that OneDrive copies your Pictures, Documents, and even your Desktop, which should capture all the files you’d need to recover if your files needed to be restored.
Q: Can OneDrive serve as my only backup?
A: Fiction. While having your documents in the cloud can certainly come in handy if you lose your hard drive, it’s not designed to be a backup. OneDrive’s core functionality is in giving you access to your files from all your devices. For advanced features like version history, a backup solution is better. If your hard drive suddenly crashes or you suffer a ransomware attack, OneDrive won’t provide the comprehensive file restoration you’ll need.
Q: If I back up a file to OneDrive, is it still private?
A: Fact and fiction. Microsoft uses top-notch security, including restricting access to accounts internally. That means nobody will see your files but you and anyone you invite to see them. However, it’s important to note that you’re responsible for some of that security. If your password is easy to guess or you share it with others, your files could fall into the wrong hands.
Manage Multiple OneDrive Accounts with Ease
Although you can set up your OneDrive accounts to sync on all your devices, the easiest way to manage multiple accounts is Shift. Using this handy app, you can move smoothly between your various accounts without signing out or in. You can learn more about Shift and view the supported apps on our website.