Run OneDrive as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

How to Run OneDrive 24/7 as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp

Start Microsoft OneDrive automatically when your PC boots. Keep it running in the background, synchronizing your important files all the time — even if you never log in!

OneDrive is Microsoft's popular cloud storage service integrated with Office 365.

To setup the OneDrive sync client as a Windows Service with AlwaysUp:

  1. Download and install OneDrive if necessary.

    Start it up, enter the library you want to synchronize and ensure that everything works as you expect.

  2. Download and install AlwaysUp, if necessary.

  3. Start AlwaysUp.

  4. Select Application > Add to open the Add Application window:

    Add Application

  5. On the General tab:

    • In the Application field, enter the full path to the OneDrive executable file, OneDrive.exe.

      You will find the executable in this folder:

      C:\Users\<YOUR-USER-NAME>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\OneDrive.exe
      where <YOUR-USER-NAME> is the name of the Windows account (on this PC) in which you installed OneDrive.

      (Note: You may have trouble seeing the hidden AppData folder when selecting the path, but Windows will accept it if you type it in.)

    • In the Start the application field, select Automatically but shortly after the computer boots. This setting introduces a 1-2 minute delay before launching OneDrive at boot — enough time to give networking and other critical services a chance to spin up.

    • And in the Name field, enter the name that you will call the application in AlwaysUp. The default of OneDrive will probably be fine, but you can change it to something else if you prefer.

    OneDrive Windows Service: General Tab

  6. Click on to the Logon tab and enter the user name and password of the Windows account where you installed and set up OneDrive. OneDrive must run in this account so that it can find the libraries/URLs you have configured.

    Note: Do not enter your OneDrive login and password here. Your Microsoft account won't work here either. Please specify credentials used to login to a local account on this Windows PC.

    OneDrive Windows Service: Logon Tab

  7. Click over to the Startup tab and:

    • Check the Ensure that the Windows Networking components have started box. OneDrive uses TCP/IP, the language of the Internet, and AlwaysUp must ensure that the underlying network components are running before OneDrive tries to sync your files.

    • Check both the Stop all copies of the application running on this computer and Also whenever the application is restarted boxes. These options will ensure that another copy of OneDrive won't prevent the instance launched by AlwaysUp from starting properly.

    OneDrive Windows Service: Startup Tab

  8. Almost there! Click the Save button and in a couple of seconds an entry for OneDrive will show up in the AlwaysUp window. It is not yet running though so the state will be Stopped:

    OneDrive Windows Service: Created

  9. Now that we have configured OneDrive to start as a Windows Service when your computer boots, let's turn off a few OneDrive settings that no longer provide a benefit. To do so:

    1. Start OneDrive, if necessary.

    2. Right-click on the OneDrive cloud tray icon (), hover over More, and select Settings from the menu:

      OneDrive Menu: Settings

    3. On the Settings tab, uncheck the Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows box. That is no longer necessary because AlwaysUp will start OneDrive long before you sign in.

      We also recommend unchecking all notifications and warnings. You won't be able to see (or confirm) them when OneDrive is running invisibly in the background. We don't want a silly prompt to stall file synchronization!

      And finally, you should probably deactivate Files On-Demand. Several of our customers have complained about slowness with that feature, so our advice is to disable it.

      Change OneDrive Settings

    4. Click OK to save your changes.

    5. Right-click on the tray icon and select More > Close OneDrive to exit OneDrive.

  10. Now back to AlwaysUp. To start OneDrive, choose Application > Start "OneDrive". OneDrive will spin up and the state of the entry should transition to Running in a few seconds.

    Click the green circle to see some practical details of the underlying process:

    OneDrive Windows Service: Running

    Note: OneDrive will be running in the background, in the isolated Session 0. Because of that, you will not see its tray icon — nor the colorful icons that OneDrive normally shows next to each file and folder it's managing:

    OneDrive Windows Service: No desktop icons

    However, despite the lack of visual feedback, your files will still be synchronized by OneDrive. Please validate by creating a file on your PC and checking that it shows up normally online after a minute or two.

    And if you want to start OneDrive on your regular desktop, you can either:

    • Stop OneDrive in AlwaysUp and start it on your desktop as you would normally, or

    • Select Application > Restart "OneDrive" in this session, to bring OneDrive onto your screen.

  11. That's it! Next time your computer boots, OneDrive will start up immediately, before anyone logs on.

    We encourage you to edit OneDrive in AlwaysUp and check out the many other settings that may be appropriate for your environment. Send an email when OneDrive stops unexpectedly (or someone accidentally shuts it down), run OneDrive without administrative rights, and much more!



Download & Import the OneDrive Settings File

For your convenience, we have provided an AlwaysUp Settings File with all the settings recommended in this guide.

To use the file:

  1. Download OneDrive_alwaysup.xml to your computer. Please make a note of where you save it.

  2. In AlwaysUp, select Application > Import from the menu.

  3. Choose the file you downloaded in step 1.

  4. Make the following adjustments in the Add Application window, to specify your local Windows account:

    1. On the General tab, in the Application field, replace ENTER YOUR USERNAME with the username of the Windows account where you installed and run OneDrive:

      Enter your Windows username in the path

    2. And on the Logon tab, delete the placeholder values and enter the credentials for your Windows account (the same one you entered in a):

      Enter your Windows account information

  5. Click Save to record your new OneDrive service.



OneDrive not working properly as a Windows Service?

  • Microsoft's guide to fixing OneDrive sync problems may help.

  • Consult the AlwaysUp Troubleshooter — our online tool that can help you resolve the most common problems encountered when running an application as a Windows Service.

  • From AlwaysUp, select Application > Report Activity > Today to bring up an HTML report detailing the interaction between AlwaysUp and OneDrive. The AlwaysUp Event Log Messages page explains the messages that appear.

  • Browse the AlwaysUp FAQ for answers to commonly asked questions and troubleshooting tips.

  • Contact us and we will be happy to help!

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