One of the most used features in Windows 8.1 that got removed in Windows 10 was OneDrive placeholders, which basically allowed users to browse the content of their cloud accounts without downloading anything - files were actually downloaded upon opening.
In Windows 10, Microsoft went for the traditional sync approach, requiring users to synchronize folders with their devices, but it turns out that the old behavior is coming back with the upcoming Redstone 2 update.
Twitter user @tfwboredom has discovered “more code present than what exists in RS1,” which could be an indication that Microsoft is at least considering the return of OneDrive placeholders in Windows 10 Redstone 2. Previously, it was believed that this feature would come back with the first wave of the Redstone update (officially called Windows 10 Anniversary Update), but since this didn’t happen, all hopes are now on the second wave coming in the spring of 2017.
People with knowledge of the matter previously revealed that Redstone 2 would bring features that weren’t ready for the first wave, and this seems to be the case of OneDrive placeholders, although there’s still no confirmation that it’s coming back.
Jason Moore, OneDrive Team Group Program Manager, said in late 2014, when OneDrive placeholders were removed from preview builds of Windows 10, that this feature was phased out because the company simply wasn’t pleased with the way it was implemented in the operating system.
“The changes we made are significant. We didn’t just ‘turn off’ placeholders - we’re making fundamental improvements to how Sync works, focusing on reliability in all scenarios, bringing together OneDrive and OneDrive for Business in one sync engine, and making sure we have a model that can scale to unlimited storage. In Windows 10, that means we’ll use selective sync instead of placeholders. But we’re adding additional capabilities,” he stated at that point.
Redstone 2 is projected to launch in spring 2017, and the first builds are likely to see daylight in the coming days, but if this feature is indeed coming back, expect it to show up later during the development process of the new Windows 10 update.