How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Microsoft OneDrive now has what is called a Personal Vault, and from what we can tell, it is a great spot to save your personal files. Personal Vault encrypts all files uploaded, but that’s not all since it takes advantage of two-factor authentication. Now, the feature became available to everyone last year and can be accessed by PC, mobile devices, and on the web.

Secure files with OneDrive Personal Vault

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

The software giant created this section primarily on the basis of security. Its more secure than other sections of OneDrive, therefore, for those with sensitive files, the best spot to store them is in the Personal Vault.

When its time to gain access to the Personal Vault, users are required to log-in by using two-factor authentication, fingerprint authentication, Windows Hello, PIN, or even facial authentication. After 20 minutes of inactivity, the vault will lock itself, which will force the user to reauthenticate once more.

Additionally, if you prefer to access the Personal Vault via the website, the web browser will never cache the page.

We should point out that on Windows 10, the Personal Vault stores and encrypt files via Bitlocker-encrypt. This will work the same even if Windows Home is being used, and as we already know, the Home version of Windows 10 doesn’t come with Bitlocker support.

Additionally, files stored in the Personal Vault cannot be shared with anyone, so right away that’s another level of security.

  1. Microsoft 365 is required for the best experience
  2. Let’s look at how to use the Personal Vault

1] Microsoft 365 is required for the best experience

Here’s the thing, the free version of OneDrive supports the Personal Vault, but users can only store up to three files in it. A smart person could upload multiple files in three ZIP files and store them in the vault, but if that is not adequate, then the best option is to subscribe to Microsoft 365.

By subscribing, you get the luxury of storing any number of files to the Personal Vault without having to do the ZIP trick.

2] Let’s look at how to use the Personal Vault

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

In terms of finally using the vault, well, this is super easy. From within the Windows 10 operating system, click on the OneDrive folder located the File Explorer, then scroll down until you come across Personal Vault.

Fire up the vault, then go through the set-up process which shouldn’t take a long time. The process includes a small description as seen from the image below, but the rest is pretty simple and straightforward.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

After clicking on the blue button that says Next, you should then be brought to a small window that requests the user to verify their identity. Click on that button, and from there, a new window should appear with several ways to identify yourself.

From the images below, you can see we have options such as verifying by email, or phone number. These are regular two-factor authentication options, but you might not be like us so therefore, keep an eye out for Windows Hello if that is something you use.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

When the verification is completed in full, the OneDrive Personal Vault folder will automatically open, so simply add any file you want to it, and right away the system will add encryption To lock the folder, you can stay inactive for 20 minutes, or right-click from within the vault and select “Lock Personal Vault.”

Keep in mind that after the setup process, two-factor authentication is required to sign in

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How to use OneDrive “personal vault” to protect your files

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service now includes a “Personal Vault” for your sensitive files. These files are encrypted and protected with additional two-factor verification, even when synced to your Windows 10 PC.

OneDrive Personal Vault became available on September 30, 2019. It works on Windows 10, Android, iPhone, iPad, and the web.

What is the “personal vault” in OneDrive?

Personal Vault is an extra secure storage area for your files on OneDrive. For example, if you’re going to store sensitive financial documents or copies of your passport on OneDrive, you’ll probably want to put them in your Personal Vault for added security.

Your personal vault requires additional authentication before you can access the files it contains. Every time you access them, you’ll need to provide a two-factor authentication code, a PIN, fingerprint authentication, or facial authentication. In Windows 10, you can use Windows Hello to authenticate. They will automatically lock after twenty minutes of inactivity, forcing you to re-authenticate before accessing them. If you access them through the OneDrive website, your browser won’t cache them.

Personal Vault encrypts the files it contains. In Windows 10, Personal Vault stores these files in a BitLocker-encrypted area of ​​your hard drive. This works even if you have Windows 10 Home and don’t use BitLocker for anything else. Microsoft says that your files are also encrypted at rest on Microsoft servers.

Files stored in the personal vault cannot be shared with anyone. Even if you share a file and then move it to the Personal Vault, sharing will be turned off for that file. This gives you peace of mind: you can’t accidentally share a sensitive file as long as it’s stored here.

With the OneDrive app on your phone, you can scan documents and take photos directly from Personal Vault, saving them to a secure location without first placing them elsewhere on your phone.

Other big cloud storage services (Dropbox, Google Drive, and Apple iCloud Drive) don’t offer a similar feature yet.

Works best with Office 365

Before we get started, it’s worth noting that the free version of OneDrive and the 100GB plan restrict you to a maximum of three files in your personal vault. You can add multiple files to an archive (such as a ZIP archive) and store the archive as a single file in your vault, but you are limited to three files.

With a paid Office 365 Personal or Office 365 Home plan, you can store as many files as you like in your personal vault, up to the OneDrive storage limit, which will likely be 1TB or more.

At $10 per month for , a plan that can be shared by six people, Microsoft’s Office 365 plans are a great deal if you want Microsoft Office, or just some cheap cloud storage. $10 per month gives up to six people for every 1TB of storage and access to Office 365 apps.

What platforms does it support?

Personal Vault works in OneDrive on Windows 10, Android, iPhone, iPad, and on the web at .

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Not available on OneDrive for macOS, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, Xbox, HoloLens, Surface Hub, or Windows 10 S. See Microsoft’s for details.

Personal vault is also only available in OneDrive Personal. It is not available in OneDrive Business.

How to use the personal vault

To use Personal Vault, simply open your OneDrive folder and click or tap on the “Personal Vault” folder. You can do this on a Windows 10 PC via the website or via a smartphone app, whichever you prefer.

For example, in Windows 10, you can open File Explorer, click “OneDrive” in the sidebar, and double-click “Personal Vault.”

The first time you open it, OneDrive will require User Account Control authorization to enable Personal Vault, likely due to the BitLocker features it uses. Click on the short setup wizard to set things up.

Put the files you want to protect in your personal vault.

Your vault will remain unlocked until it is inactive for twenty minutes. You can also immediately lock it by right-clicking inside the Personal Vault folder and selecting “Lock Personal Vault”.

When you try to access the personal vault while it is locked, you will be prompted for additional authentication.

For example, if you’ve set up two-factor authentication for your Microsoft account, you’ll be prompted for an authentication code. It works the same as if you were signing in to your Microsoft account from a new device for the first time.

You’ll find Personal Vault in the main folder of your OneDrive account on all supported platforms, from Windows 10 to the website and smartphone apps. Simply open it to unlock it and access the files it contains.

Should I use OneDrive Personal Vault?

Personal Vault is a welcome feature that’s available on most modern platforms except Mac. If it’s supported by the devices you use, it’s a more secure way to store sensitive files than just dumping them into your regular OneDrive folder.

It’s also nice that Personal Vault also encrypts files on your Windows 10 system. We think Microsoft should offer full disk BitLocker encryption to everyone on Windows 10, but this is better than nothing.

If you already have qualms about storing sensitive files on OneDrive, you might want to pause before downloading them all to Personal Vault. Another solution, such as storing sensitive documents along with your website login details in your password manager’s vault, may be more secure. They will be encrypted with the master password from your password manager.

For example, it notes that “Personal Vault in Windows 10 does not protect the names and hashes of files in your Personal Vault when the Vault is locked.” If you want maximum privacy for your files, you’re probably better off using another solution. Microsoft promises that it is “committed to extending protection to these attributes in a future update,” but this is the kind of problem you won’t have with more mature file encryption solutions.

Overall though, the personal vault is a great feature. More cloud storage services should offer additional protection for sensitive files like this one. It’s a shame that people who don’t pay for Office 365 are limited to three files.

Learn how to make specific folders and files on OneDrive more secure by using Personal Vault.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files
Image: iStockphoto/vladru

If you use OneDrive to store and sync your files online, you may be concerned about the security and privacy of your files, both on your devices and in the cloud. To give your files an extra layer of protection, Microsoft now offers a Personal Vault for OneDrive users. Through the OneDrive Personal Vault, you can secure any OneDrive files you choose with two-step verification. When you need to view those files, you authenticate the access through password, PIN, fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, or a one-time code emailed to you.

You select which files you want to put into the Personal Vault, so you can protect only your most sensitive and private files if you wish. The files are automatically locked after 20 minutes of inactivity, after which time you’ll need to authenticate them again to access them. The feature automatically disables sharing of any files you secure this way so they’re not accessible by other people. You can use your Personal Vault on your computer as well as on your mobile devices. The vault protects any OneDrive files of your choosing on your computers and devices as well as in your online storage space.

The main downside with the Personal Vault is that it’s available only for the consumer and Office 365 versions of OneDrive, not OneDrive for Business. But if you use the consumer flavor of OneDrive to store and sync your files, the vault is a useful security tool. Here’s how it works.

SEE: End user data backup policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Assuming you’re already using OneDrive to store and sync specific folders and files, right-click on the OneDrive icon in the Windows System Tray. In the section for Meet Your Personal Vault, click the button to Get Started (Figure A).

Figure A

The next screen lists some of the features of the Personal Vault. Click Next. The next screen asks for your permission to continue. Click Allow. You’re then asked to sign into your Microsoft Account to unlock your Personal Vault. File Explorer opens to a new folder within OneDrive called Personal Vault (Figure B).

Figure B

Move any OneDrive folders or individual files that you want to secure to the Personal Vault folder. When you’re done, you can close File Explorer. The files in the Personal Vault automatically lock after 20 minutes of inactivity. If you want to secure the vault immediately, click on the OneDrive icon in the System Tray and click the button to Lock Personal Vault (Figure C).

Figure C

To unlock your Personal Vault on a computer with OneDrive, open the folder through File Manager or right-click on the OneDrive System Tray icon and select the option to Unlock Personal Vault (Figure D).

Figure D

You’re then prompted to use whatever authentication method you’ve already set up for your Microsoft Account, whether that’s a password or an authentication app on your phone, such as Microsoft Authenticator. Alternatively, you can opt to receive a one-time code via text or email. After you authenticate the access, you can then open and view the folders and files in the vault (Figure E).

Figure E

To access your vault from an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you’ll need to use the OneDrive app. The first time you try this, the app prompts you to create a Personal Vault PIN, but you don’t have to use the PIN; instead, you can elect to use your fingerprint or facial recognition, assuming your device supports one or the other. The next time you try to access the vault on your mobile device, it will prompt you to scan your fingerprint or face for authentication. From the OneDrive app, you can also lock the Personal Vault after you’re finished working with your protected files (Figure F).

Figure F

Tricks for working with the files in the Personal Vault

You can’t open a protected file directly from within an application on your computer. For example, if you’ve moved all your Excel spreadsheets to the vault and you launch Excel and try to open the Personal Vault folder to get to your spreadsheets, you’ll simply receive an error message. You must first unlock the vault through the OneDrive icon and then you can open the vault folder and any protected files inside using the default applications.

Also, you can’t open PDFs from the vault even when it’s unlocked if Adobe Reader is set to open in Protected Mode at startup—if you try, you’ll receive an error message that you can’t access the file. To work around this issue, open Adobe Reader, click the Edit menu, and then select Preferences. In the Preferences window, click on the setting for Security (Enhanced). Uncheck the box to Enable Protected Mode At Startup. Close Adobe Reader and you’ll now be able to open PDFs in your vault after unlocking it.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

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Learn how to make specific folders and files on OneDrive more secure by using Personal Vault.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

If you use OneDrive to store and sync your files online, you may be concerned about the security and privacy of your files, both on your devices and in the cloud. To give your files an extra layer of protection, Microsoft now offers a Personal Vault for OneDrive users. Through the OneDrive Personal Vault, you can secure any OneDrive files you choose with two-step verification. When you need to view those files, you authenticate the access through password, PIN, fingerprint recognition, facial recognition, or a one-time code emailed to you.

You select which files you want to put into the Personal Vault, so you can protect only your most sensitive and private files if you wish. The files are automatically locked after 20 minutes of inactivity, after which time you’ll need to authenticate them again to access them. The feature automatically disables sharing of any files you secure this way so they’re not accessible by other people. You can use your Personal Vault on your computer as well as on your mobile devices. The vault protects any OneDrive files of your choosing on your computers and devices as well as in your online storage space.

The main downside with the Personal Vault is that it’s available only for the consumer and Office 365 versions of OneDrive, not OneDrive for Business. But if you use the consumer flavor of OneDrive to store and sync your files, the vault is a useful security tool. Here’s how it works.

SEE: End user data backup policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Assuming you’re already using OneDrive to store and sync specific folders and files, right-click on the OneDrive icon in the Windows System Tray. In the section for Meet Your Personal Vault, click the button to Get Started (Figure A).

Figure A

The next screen lists some of the features of the Personal Vault. Click Next. The next screen asks for your permission to continue. Click Allow. You’re then asked to sign into your Microsoft Account to unlock your Personal Vault. File Explorer opens to a new folder within OneDrive called Personal Vault (Figure B).

Figure B

Move any OneDrive folders or individual files that you want to secure to the Personal Vault folder. When you’re done, you can close File Explorer. The files in the Personal Vault automatically lock after 20 minutes of inactivity. If you want to secure the vault immediately, click on the OneDrive icon in the System Tray and click the button to Lock Personal Vault (Figure C).

Figure C

To unlock your Personal Vault on a computer with OneDrive, open the folder through File Manager or right-click on the OneDrive System Tray icon and select the option to Unlock Personal Vault (Figure D).

Figure D

You’re then prompted to use whatever authentication method you’ve already set up for your Microsoft Account, whether that’s a password or an authentication app on your phone, such as Microsoft Authenticator. Alternatively, you can opt to receive a one-time code via text or email. After you authenticate the access, you can then open and view the folders and files in the vault (Figure E).

Figure E

To access your vault from an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, you’ll need to use the OneDrive app. The first time you try this, the app prompts you to create a Personal Vault PIN, but you don’t have to use the PIN; instead, you can elect to use your fingerprint or facial recognition, assuming your device supports one or the other. The next time you try to access the vault on your mobile device, it will prompt you to scan your fingerprint or face for authentication. From the OneDrive app, you can also lock the Personal Vault after you’re finished working with your protected files (Figure F).

Figure F

Tricks for working with the files in the Personal Vault

You can’t open a protected file directly from within an application on your computer. For example, if you’ve moved all your Excel spreadsheets to the vault and you launch Excel and try to open the Personal Vault folder to get to your spreadsheets, you’ll simply receive an error message. You must first unlock the vault through the OneDrive icon and then you can open the vault folder and any protected files inside using the default applications.

Also, you can’t open PDFs from the vault even when it’s unlocked if Adobe Reader is set to open in Protected Mode at startup—if you try, you’ll receive an error message that you can’t access the file. To work around this issue, open Adobe Reader, click the Edit menu, and then select Preferences. In the Preferences window, click on the setting for Security (Enhanced). Uncheck the box to Enable Protected Mode At Startup. Close Adobe Reader and you’ll now be able to open PDFs in your vault after unlocking it.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

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How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Personal Vault is a protected folder within OneDrive that can only be accessed with a second step of identity verification. It gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files and photos like your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information, so you can access them from virtually anywhere.

Personal Vault works on your desktop, in the browser, and on a mobile device. Here’s how to set it up on your mobile device:

Note: Go to Protect your OneDrive files in Personal Vault to learn how to set it up on other devices.

Download and install Microsoft OneDrive from the Google Play Store or the App Store.

Open the OneDrive mobile app on your Android or iOS device, and sign in with your Microsoft account.

Select Personal Vault under the Files tab.

Select Continue.

Verify your identity by entering your password. Then use text or email to get a verification code and enter it.

Create a 6 digit PIN code and confirm it. If your mobile device has face recognition or a fingerprint reader, you will have the option to use that to unlock your Personal Vault.

After you’ve set up your Personal Vault, you can add photos, files and folders to it. See the articles below to learn how to use Personal Vault on different devices.

A Microsoft 365 subscription is required to add more than three files to your Personal Vault.

Personal Vault is available for OneDrive home and personal plans, not available in OneDrive for business, or work and school accounts. For more information, see plans here.

The Personal Vault is an easy way to secure your most important files, and it’s an essential tool for OneDrive users.

Microsoft’s OneDrive is a nifty cloud storage service that people can use to store their personal files, share them with others and, most importantly, access them from any device. These files and documents reside in your account's Personal Vault.

As such, learning about the Personal Vault and what it can do is very important for getting the most out of OneDrive. So, let's explore what the Personal Vault is and how it can help you.

What Is a Personal Vault on OneDrive?

OneDrive is a cloud storage service from Microsoft which houses a built-in personal encrypted vault. However, what sets it apart from its competitors is its added layer of security.

OneDrive's Personal Vault is a protected area where you can store your most confidential and delicate files like passport, tax records, insurance information, etc. without having to compromise on the ease of access.

This folder can take up a significant portion of your OneDrive quota, sometimes up to 1 TB. The folder locks automatically after 20 minutes (by default), and is guarded with two-factor authentication, making it a virtually-impenetrable fortress.

How Do I Enable the Personal Vault in OneDrive?

To take full advantage of your OneDrive, be sure to enable the personal drive from the settings menu; it only takes a couple of minutes and ensures no breach of privacy. Here's how to use the Personal Vault in OneDrive:

1. Access your OneDrive and log in to your account if you haven’t already.

2. Once inside, tap on Settings (the gear icon), and then click on Options.

3. A panel on the left side of the screen will pop up. From there, select Personal Vault and click Enable. It might also you for verification before allowing Personal Vault's usage, so head over to Verify your identity > Show pop-up, and verify through text or some other alternative to enjoy all those extra perks of Personal Vault.

4. You should receive a prompt from the server that your OneDrive’s personal vault has been activated.

Why Can’t I See the Personal Vault in OneDrive?

Sometimes it might just happen that, despite being enabled from the settings, your Personal Vault is nowhere to be seen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that your files and sensitive documents are lost in the wind. There are usually a few simple reasons that the personal vault disappears. Here's what you can do in case you can’t find it:

1. Check Other Folders

A common mistake people usually make is that they move their Personal Vault folder to another folder on their OneDrive. If that is, in fact, the case then you will have to sift through each of the folders on your drive individually to find the one that has the Personal Vault. Since the Personal Vault doesn’t show up in the search result or on the quick access panel, this is your only option.

2. Identify and Correct System Errors

The problem might also lie in a corrupted system file that is causing the Personal Vault to disappear. This is an easy fix, however. Just run the SFC scan and Windows will automatically run the scan and fix files that are causing trouble. Here's how you run the scan:

  1. In the search bar, search for Command Prompt, right-click the result, and select Run as Administrator.
  2. Type "sfc /scannow."
  3. Press Enter.

3. Reset Your OneDrive

If the aforementioned methods don’t help, then try resetting your OneDrive. This will not erase or delete any of your data but will simply resync all files. This might take a good while depending on how much data you had in your drive and how fast your internet speed is; if it brings the personal folder to the surface, then it will be worthwhile.

4. Try Reinstalling the OneDrive App

If all else fails, there is still the option of reinstalling the OneDrive app. This will remove all the corrupt files and ensure that OneDrive is not prone to any malfunctions. To carry out this step, simply uninstall and then reinstall the OneDrive app.

Can I Share the Personal Vault on OneDrive?

Unfortunately, there is no way for a user to share their files and items directly from the Personal Vault. If you've shared a particular file with someone but then moved it over to the Personal Vault, it will automatically disable sharing for this file.

Sharing it would mean first removing said file from the Vault and then giving people access to certain files and folders through the associated link. The freedom of control that the person you share it with will have depends on which settings you choose.

For example, blocking download, setting an expiration date on the link, and disabling editing will curtail the recipient’s ability to make changes to the document.

OneDrive's Personal Vault, a Secure Cloud Storage Solution

Despite some small issues users might face here and there, Microsoft’s OneDrive is one of the best cloud storage services out there, especially, with Personal Vault’s added security. We recommend going through the hassle of recovering your Personal Vault because your files are much safer and quickly accessible here than on an external HDD.

“Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service now includes a “Personal Vault” for your sensitive files. These files are encrypted and protected with additional two-factor verification, even when they’re synced to your Windows 10 PC.

OneDrive’s Personal Vault became available worldwide on September 30, 2019. It works on Windows 10, Android, iPhone, iPad, and the web.”

Click on the link below to learn more.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

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Here’s how to create a personal vault and set up a password:

  1. To set up personal vault, open the OneDrive desktop app and, under the File tab, select OneDrive. In the Personal Vault area, click Set up and follow the wizard.
  2. To access your OneDrive Personal Vault, first, click the OneDrive icon. Then open the OneDrive folder and select Personal Vault if prompted to enter your security code.
  3. To upload a file or folder to your Personal Vault: Right-click the Personal Vault and select Upload Files or Folder.
  4. To protect a file or folder using the Personal Vault, you must first upload the items to your Onedrive account. From there, you can use the Onedrive client to access them on other devices.

Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud storage solution that allows you to keep your files in sync on all your devices. You can also password protect any number of folders within your OneDrive account using the Personal Vault feature. This ensures that only those you choose to share the vault with have access to the files within.

OneDrive Personal Vault is a nifty security feature that provides an extra layer of protection for your files and folders. Since anyone with access to your computer can see everything in your Documents, Pictures, and Videos folders, it’s important to lock them down so only authorized people can see what’s inside.

Protecting a folder or file with a password is an easy way to keep people out of your stuff if you’re sharing files with someone who doesn’t need to see everything in the folder. If you are looking for the best way to password protect a file or folder using OneDrive Personal Vault, then this article will help you. Here’s how you do it:

How to best protect your files using OneDrive Personal Vault

  1. To set up Personal Vault, open the OneDrive desktop app and, under the File tab, select OneDrive. In the Personal Vault area, click Set up and follow the wizard.
  2. To access your OneDrive Personal Vault, first, click the OneDrive icon. Then open the OneDrive folder and select Personal Vault if prompted to enter your security code.
  3. To upload a file or folder to your Personal Vault: Right-click the Personal Vault and select Upload Files or Folder.
  4. To protect a file or folder using the Personal Vault, you must first upload the items to your OneDrive account. From there, you can use the OneDrive client to access them on other devices.

Encrypt your files

Password protection is a crucial security feature. It keeps your computer data safe from others who have physical access to it but also prevents your data from being accessed by hackers remotely.

Therefore, if you have confidential data on your computer, you may want to protect it with a password. This is not only for security purposes but also because of privacy laws.

When you upload a file or folder to OneDrive Personal Vault, it is encrypted and digitally signed with a key that only you have.

Furthermore, when you want to access the contents of the Personal Vault, you enter a password that unlocks your private key.

The key is then used to decrypt the file or folder in your browser. If you lose your password, you lose access to your vault. Personal Vault is your best bet, as it prevents people from snooping around.

We hope that the above steps were able to help you to password protect your files on OneDrive using Personal Vault. Let us know how it is working out for you in the comment section below.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Personal Vault is a protected folder within OneDrive that can only be accessed with a second step of identity verification. It gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files and photos like your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information, so you can access them from virtually anywhere.

Personal Vault works on your desktop, in the browser, and on a mobile device. Here’s how to set it up on your mobile device:

Note: Go to Protect your OneDrive files in Personal Vault to learn how to set it up on other devices.

Download and install Microsoft OneDrive from the Google Play Store or the App Store.

Open the OneDrive mobile app on your Android or iOS device, and sign in with your Microsoft account.

Select Personal Vault under the Files tab.

Select Continue.

Verify your identity by entering your password. Then use text or email to get a verification code and enter it.

Create a 6 digit PIN code and confirm it. If your mobile device has face recognition or a fingerprint reader, you will have the option to use that to unlock your Personal Vault.

After you’ve set up your Personal Vault, you can add photos, files and folders to it. See the articles below to learn how to use Personal Vault on different devices.

A Microsoft 365 subscription is required to add more than three files to your Personal Vault.

Personal Vault is available for OneDrive home and personal plans, not available in OneDrive for business, or work and school accounts. For more information, see plans here.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

In recent weeks, I’ve amassed a substantial number of sensitive digital documents for entirely mundane reasons. Between preparing for tax season and home refinancing, I’m sitting on a pile of PDFs, all full of detailed personal information. This created a small dilemma: I didn’t want to delete the files or leave them out in the open on my hard drive, but I wasn’t keen on printing them out on reams of paper either. That’s when I remembered Personal Vault, a feature of Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service that adds an extra layer of protection for important documents.

Viewing or modifying files in the OneDrive Personal Vault requires an additional code—sent via email or text message by default—and on Windows 10 or higher, Microsoft stores those files in a BitLocker-encrypted portion of your hard drive. (OneDrive also encrypts all files stored online, whether they’re in the Vault or not.) In theory, that means someone who breaches your OneDrive account or accesses your computer without permission would have a tougher time getting to those important documents. Still, the level of protection that Personal Vault provides in practice depends largely on how you set it up.

Layers of protection

Before we go further, keep in mind that you get 15GB of OneDrive storage for free with a Microsoft account. While the free version of OneDrive only lets you store three documents in the Personal Vault, you can easily circumvent that restriction by adding your documents to a ZIP or other archive file first.

After installing OneDrive, right-click the icon in your taskbar or menu bar, then select Unlock Personal Vault to begin the setup process. On the mobile and web version of OneDrive, you can just tap on the Personal Vault icon in your file list.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

To find the Personal Vault in Windows, just right-click the OneDrive icon.

Jared Newman / IDG

To unlock the vault, you need a code that Microsoft sends to the email or phone number associated with your account, but those defaults aren’t necessarily the most secure options. Your email, for instance, is likely open to anyone who has access to your computer, in which case entering the code would be trivial, and using text messages for authentication has its own issues.

As always, you should consider using an authentication app such as Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, or Authy to receive codes in the most secure way possible. In my case, I’m using Authy to receive codes, and Authy’s desktop app is locked behind an extra PIN. After setting that up, I removed email as a sign-in option through Microsoft’s website.

That means no one can access the vault without physical access to my devices along with Authy’s PIN, which in turn provides the sign-in code that Microsoft requires. Microsoft automatically locks the vault after 20 minutes of inactivity on desktops and 3 minutes on mobile apps, at which point it asks for a new code.

Other options

While the Personal Vault was the best option for me as an existing OneDrive user, it’s not the only way to add extra protection to your documents. A few other options to consider:

  • Dropbox offers its own Vault feature that locks files behind an additional PIN, but you need a paid Dropbox storage plan to use it.
  • Certain password managers, such as 1Password and Bitwarden, offer encrypted file storage, through these tend to require paid subscriptions as well. If you’ve set up these tools to require a PIN or password for access, they’ll provide an extra level of protection for anyone with access to your computer.
  • Compression tools such as 7Zip for Windows and Keka for Mac allow you to password-protect files in 7Z or ZIP archives. This won’t prevent someone from deleting the files, but it would stop someone from extracting and viewing them. (You could also combine this method with the Personal Vault for yet another layer of protection.)
  • You can set a password for individual Word documents under File > Info > Protect, and can password-protect PDF files using Adobe’s online tool.

If we’re being honest, the likelihood of someone breaking into your computer and making off with your tax returns and other important documents is probably slim. Still, adding some extra protection for those documents can make you feel better about keeping them on a computer in the first place. It certainly beats filling up a filing cabinet with more paper.

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Microsoft’s OneDrive is one of the widely used cloud storage services out there. OneDrive has many industry-standard security measures, including file encryption, ransomware detection and recovery, mass file deletion alert and recovery, and suspicious activity monitoring.

In addition to the existing security features, Microsoft recently added a new security feature called Personal Vault to OneDrive.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

The Personal Vault is a place within the OneDrive with an extra layer of security. In simple words, Personal Vault is a protected area in the OneDrive. The Personal Vault can only be accessed with one of the provided authentication methods or the second step of identity verification (fingerprint, face, PIN, or code sent via email or SMS). The Personal Vault is a perfect place to store your sensitive and important files such as your driving license and ID card copies.

OneDrive Personal Vault uses more than just two-step verification or identity verification to keep your files secure. On Windows 10 computers, the files in the Personal Vault are synced to a BitLocker encrypted place.

The Vault automatically gets locked after 20 minutes of inactivity. To access it again, you will have to reauthenticate using one of the methods available for your account.

NOTE: If you are using OneDrive’s free or standalone 100 GB plan, the Personal Vault lets you add a limited number of files only. There is no file limit for Office 365 subscribers, though.

Using the OneDrive Personal Vault

Here is how to use the OneDrive Personal Vault.

Step 1: Head over to the OneDrive website and sign-in to your account or launch the OneDrive app on your device.

Step 2: On the home page of the Files section, you will see the Personal Vault along with other folders and files. Click on the Personal Vault icon.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Step 3: Clicking on the Personal Vault icon will bring up a dialog with details about the features offered in the Personal Vault. Click on the Next button.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Step 4: Next, you need to authenticate or verify your identity by clicking on the Verify button. Clicking the Verify button shows all the ways out there to verify your identity.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Select a method and then follow the directions to verify the identity. If you have linked your mobile number to your Microsoft account, you can select the same, type in the last four digits of your mobile number to receive the verification code and then enter the same to verify your identity. You can also use other methods listed on the page to complete the authentication. The Microsoft Authenticator app can also be used to quickly unlock and access the Personal Vault.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

Step 5: Now that you have verified your identity, it’s time to add sensitive and important files to the Vault. Open the Personal Vault by clicking on its icon on the home page of OneDrive, and then click the Upload button to select and upload files to the Vault. You can also move files from other folders to Vault.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

To exit and lock the Personal Vault, click on the Vault icon in the toolbar and then click the Lock option.

Microsoft's OneDrive Personal Vault is a feature that is available per default in every OneDrive cloud storage since the end of 2019. Files in this area of OneDrive are only accessible after additional authentication (2FA). We explain how secure this new storage location is, how the data is encrypted, and from what the OneDrive Personal Vault can and cannot protect your data.

Table of Contents

The OneDrive Personal Vault in Short

Provider : Microsoft

Encryption : n/a

Licenses : The Personal Vault is included in.

  • OneDrive-Basic (maximum 3 files can be stored in the personal vault)
  • OneDrive-Standalone (maximum 3 files can be stored in the personal vault plans (Vault space is equal to the available OneDrive space, no limit on the number of files)

Costs : included in the OneDrive / Microsoft 365 plan

Supported platforms: : Windows, Mac, Web, iOS, Android; optimized for use with Windows 10

Functions: Two-factor authentication, BitLocker-encrypted local storage for synchronization, automatic time-out.

Limitations : Hardware tokens for 2FA are not supported. Encryption (both in transit and at rest) is done by Microsoft; synchronization to a BitLocker encrypted disk partition (on Windows). The algorithms used are not known. In addition, data and keys are stored on Microsoft servers, either in the USA or in a data center somewhere in the world.

What does Microsoft's Personal Vault protect my files from?

With Personal Vault, OneDrive users get a new location in OneDrive that they can protect further. But it is important to be aware of what data in the Vault is and is not protected against – in other words, in what threat scenario the stored data is safe.

Exclude Curious Family Members on a Shared PC

When you share a device or maybe even OneDrive cloud storage with others, the data in the OneDrive Personal Vault is protected with an extra security factor. Only those who have the second factor to open the Personal Vault will have access to the data.

Slightly More Protection from Hackers

Hackers have a harder time getting to this data, because if OneDrive can be accessed, the second factor that protects the OneDrive Personal Vault must first be levered out. In many known cases, such as the iCloud hack when personal pictures of celebrities were stolen, such a Vault might have prevented unauthorized access.

Higher Protection in Case of Theft

If your device is stolen, the thief must first overcome your device’s protection (or fingerprint, PIN or face recognition). However, criminals may watch (or film) you on the subway while you enter your PIN and later pull the device out of your pocket. In such a case, sensitive data in the cloud is better stored in the Personal Vault than in the cloud.

Disadvantage 1: Privacy is Not Really Provided in Microsoft’s Personal Vault

Microsoft advertises the OneDrive Personal Vault with the fact that the data in it is even more securely encrypted in addition to the 2-factor authentication. However, as we have often pointed out, there are different types of encryption, and very few of them completely prevent third parties from accessing your data. An example: All common cloud providers encrypt user data in transit and at rest . The problem with this type of encryption:

  • It is not continuous (there are times when the data is not encrypted)
  • With this type of encryption, you send the data unencrypted to Microsoft, and Microsoft then encrypts the data for you. In other words: Whoever encrypts the data, has the encryption keys and can therefore decrypt it again if necessary.

The additional encryption in the OneDrive Personal Vault consists of the additional storage of Vault data in a BitLocker-encrypted area of your local hard drive. In the cloud, however, the data is not additionally encrypted, but only protected by the second factor.

Who can theoretically still access your data in the OneDrive Personal Vault:

  • Microsoft
  • Microsoft’s employees
  • Third parties to whom Microsoft grants access (according to the American CLOUD-Act , for example, providers are obliged to release user data on request of the American authorities).
  • Hackers that gain access to your OneDrive Personal Vault

Another problem is that the OneDrive Personal Vault represents only a small percentage of your data stored in the cloud. We believe that all your data is worth protecting . Especially your private photos, which usually take up a lot of storage, should remain private.

Disadvantage 2: Code-centric Instead of Data-centric Security

When it comes to protecting sensitive data, there are two different approaches that are already implemented in the design of a software. A frequently used (and error-prone) procedure is code-centric data security. In principle, the data can be read by anyone. The data is protected by access controls in the program code (e.g. access authorization). Unauthorized persons can specifically search for errors in the access control or exploit the configuration to gain access to data.

Imagine a bouncer in front of a club that can be overcome with a blink of an eye, a bribe or a well-placed punch.

The other approach is data-centric security. The data itself is protected by procedures such as encryption, and access is only possible with possession of the appropriate key. Unauthorized persons cannot exploit errors in the program to gain unauthorized access to the data. This door is not protected by a bouncer, but by a lock – without a matching key entry is impossible.

Conclusion

For certain threat scenarios, the OneDrive Personal Vault is certainly a help and an improvement in the protection of your data. But if you are concerned about consistently protecting your privacy and if you do not want it to be technically possible for government agencies and one of the world’s largest corporations to access your data, you should not solely rely on the OneDrive Personal Vault. Then, a data-centric approach, such as client-side end-to-end encryption with zero knowledge standard, is the right choice for you.

With Boxcryptor, data is automatically encrypted directly on your device before it is synchronized to the cloud. Microsoft has no access, so they cannot share your data. If your cloud or vault is hacked, attackers will only find encrypted data. At Boxcryptor, our Zero-Knowledge implementation means we cannot access your data either. And best of all, the encryption takes place in the background. Our users can save, edit, share, and move files as usual. Security can be that simple.

Get Boxcryptor to Protect all Your Data in OneDrive

Boxcryptor encrypts your cloud data before it is synchronized to OneDrive. This way, no one but you can access your data. Our free version allows you to encrypt an unlimited amount of data at one cloud provider on two devices.

OneDrive from Microsoft is a stylish and powerful cloud storage service that users can rely on to store their personal files, share them with others, and most importantly, access them from any device. Where will these files and documents be located in the Personal Vault of your account.

As such, getting to know Personal Vault and what it can do is very important to get the most out of OneDrive. So, let’s explore what a Personal Vault is and how it can help you. Verify What is OneDrive? Guide to Microsoft Cloud Storage.

How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

  • What is OneDrive Personal Vault?
  • How do I enable Personal Vault in OneDrive?
  • Why can’t I see my OneDrive personal vault?
    • 1. Check other folders
    • 2. Identify and correct system errors
    • 3. Reset OneDrive app
    • 4. Try reinstalling the OneDrive app

    What is OneDrive Personal Vault?

    OneDrive is a cloud storage service from Microsoft that provides embedded, encrypted personal storage. However, what sets it apart from its competitors is the added layer of security.

    OneDrive Personal Vault is a protected area where you can store your most confidential and sensitive files like passport, tax records, insurance information, etc. without compromising on ease of access.

    This folder can occupy a large part of your OneDrive quota, sometimes up to 1 TB. The folder locks automatically after 20 minutes (by default), and is protected with two-factor authentication, making it a nearly impenetrable fortress.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    How do I enable Personal Vault in OneDrive?

    To take full advantage of your OneDrive, be sure to enable Personal Drive from the Settings menu; It only takes XNUMX minutes and ensures that privacy is not violated. Here’s how to use Personal Vault in OneDrive:

    1. Access the OneDrive app and sign in to your account if you haven’t already.

    2. Once in, click on “Settings” , then click Options.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    3. A panel will appear on the left side of the screen. From there, select personal vault And click Enable. You may also need to check before you are allowed to use personal vault , so head over to Verify Your Identity -> Show Popup, Verify by Text or any other alternative to enjoy all these extra perks of Personal Vault.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    4. You should receive a prompt from the server that your OneDrive account’s Personal Vault has been activated.

    Why can’t I see my OneDrive personal vault?

    Sometimes it may happen that even though it is enabled from settings, your account’s personal vault is not visible anywhere. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that your sensitive files and documents have been lost to the wind. There are usually several simple reasons for a Personal Vault to disappear. Here’s what you can do if you can’t find it:

    1. Check other folders

    Usually, a user makes a common mistake of moving their Personal Vault folder to another folder on OneDrive. If that’s the case, in fact, you’ll have to sift through each of the folders on your drive individually to find the folder that contains your Personal Vault. Since Personal Vault does not appear in the search result or in the Quick Access panel, this is your only option.

    2. Identify and correct system errors

    The problem may also lie in a corrupt system file that is causing Personal Vault to disappear. The solution here is easy. Just run the SFC tool and Windows will automatically run a scan and fix the problematic files. Here’s how to run the scan:

    • In the search bar, find Command Prompt, right-click on the result, and select Run as administrator.
    • Type the following command:
    • Click Enter.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    3. Reset OneDrive app

    If the above methods did not help you, try resetting OneDrive. Doing this will not remove or delete any of your data but will re-sync all files. This may take some time depending on the amount of data in your drive and how fast your internet is; If the personal folder is brought to the surface, it will come in handy. Verify How to fix error code 0x8004de69 when signing in to OneDrive.

    4. Try reinstalling the OneDrive app

    If all else fails, there is still the option to reinstall the OneDrive app. This will remove all corrupted files and ensure that OneDrive is not prone to any crashes. To perform this step, simply uninstall and then reinstall the OneDrive app.

    Can I share Personal Vault on OneDrive?

    Unfortunately, there is no way for the user to share their files and items directly from the Personal Vault. If you share a specific file with someone and then move it to Personal Vault, sharing for that file will be automatically disabled.

    Sharing it might mean first removing said file from storage and then giving people access to certain files and folders through the shared link. The freedom to control the user you’re sharing with depends on the settings you choose.

    For example, blocking the download, setting an expiration date on the link, and disabling editing will restrict the recipient’s ability to make changes to the document. Verify How to fix error code 0x8004de40 when trying to sign in to OneDrive.

    OneDrive Personal Vault, a secure cloud storage solution

    Despite some small issues that users may encounter here and there, OneDrive from Microsoft is one of the best cloud storage services out there, especially with the added security of Personal Storage. We recommend taking the hassle out of recovering Personal Vault because your files are more secure and quickly accessible here than an external hard drive. You can now view What is FileVault on macOS and how do I use it?

    Just like other cloud services, OneDrive: Microsoft’s cloud storage service is a great way to store files over the Internet. Users need to login to OneDrive using their Microsoft credentials to store, sync and share different format of files with other people and devices on the internet.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    OneDrive has introduced a new feature popularly known as OneDrive Personal Vault to strengthen security. What is it, and why is it needed are two major questions you must want to have answers for. OneDrive personal vault brings additional security to most of your important files.

    What Is Personal Vault?

    Personal Vault by OneDrive is a protected area that lets you store most important and sensitive files and pictures. It enables you to access your files anywhere without sacrificing convenience. This personal vault helps you to keep your files safe using a robust authentication method. Accessing your personal vault needs identity verification, such as fingerprint, face ID, PIN or a code sent to you via SMS or email. This extra layer of security helps you to keep your things more secure.

    How To Set Up OneDrive Personal Vault?

    Setting up a personal vault is not a big deal. You just have to follow the steps below to setup OneDrive personal vault.

    • Login to onedrive.com.
    • As soon as it opens, you will see a personal vault icon within your folders.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    • Click on Personal Vault. You will then see a dialog box.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    • Click Next to continue.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    • Now, it will display your profile, and you then have to click on Verify to substantiate your identity.

    This will take you to your Gmail account, and you can thereafter save all your important files and data in personal vault for enhanced security. Also, do not forget to set up OneDrive on your PC to access and edit files from folders on your computer. While you opt for set up, you will get a pop-up window like the image below. Sign in with your Email Id to finish the setup process.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Why You Need OneDrive’s Personal Vault?

    Personal Vault by OneDrive lets you secure your confidential files and pictures. It runs on the trusted Microsoft cloud which comes with a lot of security measures. Other than keeping your files secure, personal vault always encrypt the files inside and stores them on a Bitlocker encrypted area of your hard drive.

    Ensure that the files in the personal vault are not shared with anyone. Given the scenario a file was shared prior to moving to personal vault, sharing will be disabled once moved to the vault. One of the best features of OneDrive’s personal vault is that it auto-locks the vault after a period of inactivity. The time on web and mobile varies like for web, inactivity time period is 20 minutes and for mobile it is 3 minutes. As the set limit is crossed, you have to unlock your vault again to access your files.

    Note: You can access all your documents, photos, videos and other files in Personal Vault from onedrive.com from your PC and other devices.

    Wrapping Up

    So, this is all about OneDrive’s personal vault. Keep all your documents and confidential data safe within personal vault and live stress-free. Access your folder anytime and anywhere from PC or mobile simply by logging in.

    Keep your files and pictures safe in OneDrive’s personal vault. Give it a try, and share your experience in the comments section below.

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    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Personal Vault is a protected folder within OneDrive that can only be accessed with a second step of identity verification. It gives you an added layer of protection for your most important files and photos like your passport, driver’s license, or insurance information, so you can access them from virtually anywhere.

    Personal Vault works on your desktop, in the browser, and on a mobile device. Here’s how to set it up on your mobile device:

    Note: Go to Protect your OneDrive files in Personal Vault to learn how to set it up on other devices.

    Download and install Microsoft OneDrive from the Google Play Store or the App Store.

    Open the OneDrive mobile app on your Android or iOS device, and sign in with your Microsoft account.

    Select Personal Vault under the Files tab.

    Select Continue.

    Verify your identity by entering your password. Then use text or email to get a verification code and enter it.

    Create a 6 digit PIN code and confirm it. If your mobile device has face recognition or a fingerprint reader, you will have the option to use that to unlock your Personal Vault.

    After you’ve set up your Personal Vault, you can add photos, files and folders to it. See the articles below to learn how to use Personal Vault on different devices.

    A Microsoft 365 subscription is required to add more than three files to your Personal Vault.

    Personal Vault is available for OneDrive home and personal plans, not available in OneDrive for business, or work and school accounts. For more information, see plans here.

    Microsoft’s OneDrive is a nifty cloud storage service that people can use to store their personal files, share them with others, and most importantly, access them from any device. These files and documents reside in the Personal Vault of your account.

    As such, knowing more about Personal Vault and what it can do is very important to getting the most out of OneDrive. So, let’s explore what Personal Vault is and how it can help you.

    What is a Personal Vault on OneDrive?

    OneDrive is a cloud storage service from Microsoft that hosts a built-in personal encrypted vault. However, what sets it apart from its competitors is its added layer of security.

    The OneDrive Personal Vault is a protected area where you can store your most confidential and delicate files such as passport, tax records, insurance information, etc. without having to compromise on ease of access.

    This folder can take up a significant portion of your OneDrive quota, sometimes up to 1TB. The folder automatically locks itself after 20 minutes (by default) and is protected by two-factor authentication, making it a virtually impenetrable fortress.

    How do I enable Personal Vault in OneDrive?

    To take full advantage of your OneDrive, be sure to turn on the personal drive from the settings menu; it only takes a few minutes and does not guarantee any breach of privacy. Here’s how to use the Personal Vault in OneDrive:

    1. Go to your OneDrive and sign in to your account if you haven’t already.

    2. Once inside, press Settings (the gear icon), then click Options.

    3. A panel on the left side of the screen will appear. From there, select Personal safe and click To permit. It might also ask you to verify before allowing Personal Vault to be used, so go to Verify Your Identity > Show pop-up windowand verify by SMS or other alternative to enjoy all the extra benefits of Personal Vault.

    4. You should receive a prompt from the server indicating that your OneDrive Personal Vault has been enabled.

    Why can’t I see the Personal Vault in OneDrive?

    Sometimes it can happen that although it is activated from the settings, your Personal Vault is not visible anywhere. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean that your sensitive files and documents are lost in the wind. There are usually a few simple reasons why Personal Vault disappears. Here’s what you can do if you can’t find it:

    1. Check other folders

    A common mistake that people usually make is moving their Personal Vault folder to another folder on their OneDrive. If so, you’ll need to browse each of your drive’s folders individually to find the one that contains the Personal Vault. Since Personal Vault does not appear in search results or in the Quick Access panel, this is your only option.

    2. Identify and Fix System Errors

    The problem may also lie in a corrupted system file that causes the Personal Vault to disappear. It’s an easy fix, though. Just run the SFC scan and Windows will automatically run the scan and fix the files that are causing problems. Here’s how to run the scan:

    1. In the search bar, find Command Promptright click on the result and select Execute as administrator.
    2. Type “sfc /scannow”.
    3. Press Enter.

    3. Reset your OneDrive

    If the above-mentioned methods don’t help, try resetting your OneDrive. This won’t erase or delete any of your data, just re-sync all files. This may take a while depending on how much data you had on your drive and the speed of your internet connection. if it brings the home folder to the surface, it will be worth it.

    4. Try reinstalling the OneDrive app

    If all else fails, it’s always possible to reinstall the OneDrive app. This will remove all corrupt files and ensure that OneDrive is not prone to malfunctions. To perform this step, all you have to do is uninstall and then reinstall the OneDrive app.

    Can I share the Personal Vault on OneDrive?

    Unfortunately, a user has no way to share their files and items directly from the Personal Vault. If you shared a particular file with someone, but then moved it to the Personal Vault, sharing for that file will automatically be disabled.

    Sharing it would mean first deleting said file from the vault and then giving users access to certain files and folders through the associated link. The amount of control the person you share it with will have depends on the settings you choose.

    For example, blocking the download, setting an expiration date on the link, and disabling editing will reduce the recipient’s ability to make changes to the document.

    OneDrive’s Personal Vault, a secure cloud storage solution

    Despite a few minor issues users may face here and there, Microsoft’s OneDrive is one of the best cloud storage services, especially with the added security of Personal Vault. We recommend that you worry about recovering your personal vault, as your files are much safer and quickly accessible here than on an external hard drive.

    We show you how to set up a OneDrive Personal Vault on Windows 10 so that you can safely store a copy of your passport, ID, or other confidential documents.

    Microsoft is a trusted cloud provider that works closely with the government and other large companies. As a result, OneDrive has powerful security features and data is encrypted in transit and rest. However, for truly sensitive documents, it has an additional feature: the OneDrive Personal Vault.

    OneDrive Personal Vault adds an additional layer of security to your most important files. When users save a document or photo to their OneDrive vault, they can only access it via an additional method of authentication.

    You can, for example, set up OneDrive Personal Vault to require a fingerprint, a code sent to you via email or SMS, facial recognition, or a PIN. On Windows 10, this protection goes further. As well as the usual OneDrive encryption, your synced Personal Vault files are saved directly to a BitLocker encrypted area on your hard drive.

    Today, we’re going to show you how to set up OneDrive Personal Vault on your Windows 10 PC. We’ll then walk you through how to unlock the vault to access the files at any time. Let’s start:

    How to Set Up OneDrive Personal Vault in Windows 10

    Microsoft may have tried to walk you through the setup of OneDrive Personal Vault when you first installed Windows. If you’re anything like me, though, you will have decided to “do it later” and then promptly forgotten about it.

    Not to worry – we’ll walk you through the entire process below:

      Click the OneDrive icon on your taskbar and then press “Open Folder”

    The OneDrive Vault shortcut should be in the folder’s root directory. To find it quickly, you can click in your Explorer window and then press “P” a few times until it is selected.

    Double-clicking it will open the OneDrive Personal Vault setup window.

    You’ll have a few options here, including text, the authenticator app, email, or biometrics. Select whichever is most convenient.

    If you chose a text message as we did you’ll have to enter the last four digits of your phone number. Otherwise, you may have to interact with your phone, fingerprint reader, or provide your email.

    If you chose to authenticate via text or email, enter your four-digit code and press “Verify”. If you didn’t, follow whatever prompts are on your screen.

    Your Personal Vault should show up in the sidebar of your File Explorer window. Alternatively, you can access it at any point by pressing the shortcut in your main OneDrive folder. To add files to it, simply browse when saving or drag them directly into the folder.

    OneDrive Personal Vault is limited to three files if you’re on a free or standalone 100 GB plan. If you have Office 365, however, you can store as many files as you like so long as it doesn’t exceed your storage limit.

    How to Unlock Your Personal Vault in Windows 10

    When the time comes to access the files in your Personal Vault, unlocking it should be simple. Here’s are a couple of ways you can do it:

      Option 1: Press “Unlock Personal Vault” in your OneDrive options

    This is the fastest way to unlock your OneDrive Vault. Simply click the cloud icon on your taskbar, then press the Help & Settings cog and select “Unlock Personal Vault”.

    You can also open your vault by pressing the “Open Folder” button in your OneDrive app.

    If you’re using the Microsoft Authenticator app, you may be able to skip this step and press a button on your phone instead.

    For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll choose “Text”.

    You should now be able to view, edit, and move them to your heart’s content.

    That’s all for this tutorial, but you may want to check out our other OneDrive coverage. Why not learn to OneDrive folder sync any directory, or use it to fetch files from a remote PC?

    In order to use OneDrive Personal Vault, here’s what you need to do.

    1. Login to OneDrive at https://onedrive.live.com/
    2. Go to Settings, then Options
    3. Manage your OneDrive Personal Vault

    Yesterday, Microsoft released the OneDrive Personal Vault to everyone. Personal Vault is a free new security feature for Office 365 subscribers, but all OneDrive accounts come with limited use of Personal Vault. OneDrive Personal Vault was announced back in June 2019 but is now generally available. OneDrive Personal Vault is a special folder within OneDrive where you can lock files and/or folders with a PIN, biometric authentication, or through SMS and email authentication. If you have a Windows 10 PC, OneDrive will automatically sync Personal Vault files to a BitLocker-encrypted hard drive.

    At this time, OneDrive Personal Vault is available free for Office 365 subscribers and Windows 10 users using OneDrive’s free or 100 GB plan are restricted to storing only three files in a protected folder. Microsoft has a list of OneDrive free and paid subscription plans. At some point, Microsoft plans on making a OneDrive Personal Vault icon available within your OneDrive folder, making it easier to locate on your Windows 10 PC. Microsoft has a list

    For now, here’s what you need to do to start using OneDrive Personal Vault.

    2. In the upper right-hand corner, Go to Settings > Options

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    3. From the left-hand pane, choose Personal Vault and Manage how you sign into Personal Vault

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    From there, you can choose your recovery email and phone number you wish to use. You can download the OneDrive on Android or iOS to manage your security options. Other options include adding how you are notified of changes to your Personal Vault files or folders and disabling Personal Vault. Below is the sign-in process for OneDrive Personal Vault on an Android smartphone.

    Additional security options are available to manage how you sign in to OneDrive and other apps using your Microsoft Account. OneDrive Personal Vault will automatically sync to your OneDrive folder on your Windows 10 PC.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Microsoft will soon add a new feature to its OneDrive cloud storage that is designed to ramp up security for your most sensitive files.

    Dubbed OneDrive Personal Vault, this ‘partition’ of your OneDrive account will only be accessible using “a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code sent to you via email or SMS”, said Microsoft. Another option is to use the Microsoft Authenticator app.

    [Two-step verification (2SV), also known as two-factor authentication (2FA), has been available on Microsoft accounts for several years now. Wherever you use the extra factor, however, you’re better off relying on other and generally safer 2FA methods than text messages.]

    Importantly, the vault will automatically relock on your PC or mobile device after a period of inactivity. Similarly, files opened from the secure folder will close and lock after the timeout period. The locking interval will vary by device and can be set by you.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    The vault will be reserved for data that you hold particularly dear – copies of passports, ID cards, or other highly sensitive data. In addition, as Microsoft suggests, you can choose to use the OneDrive for mobile app to scan documents and shoot pictures or videos directly into Personal Vault. That way, you can avoid storing the files in less secure areas, such as your phone’s camera roll.

    Of course, you can use the vault for any kind of files and even store all your OneDrive files in it, but then you’ll need to reauthenticate every time you wish to access one of the files.

    If you use Windows 10 Pro, Personal Vault will synchronize your files to a BitLocker-encrypted portion of your local storage. “And like all files in OneDrive, the contents of your Personal Vault are encrypted at-rest in the Microsoft cloud and in-transit to your device,” said Microsoft.

    The company says that files in your Personal Vault should be safe even if your computer or mobile device falls into the wrong hands or somebody breaks into your account.

    Any files stored in the folder will be accessible on OneDrive.com, Windows 10 PCs, and iOS- and Android-powered mobile devices. The new feature is first set to roll out for Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, with the rest of the world to follow suit by the end of this year.

    Beside the security improvements, Microsoft also announced two storage plan updates, including an increase in the amount of storage in its basic US$1.99/month subscription plan from 50GB to 100GB.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Hello, how are you? Let’s talk about cloud storage. This is one of the most modern and comfortable options to store our data. It also saves space on our devices and gives us the ability to access from anywhere. It is well known that Microsoft offers free storage through OneDrive. This is a very interesting option since the deposit is integrated into our account Hotmail or Outlook. Besides, it offers as a security measure the encryption of files, detection, and recovery of ransomware and recovery of massive deletion of files. One of its latest updates includes the Personal Vault. For that reason, we show you what it is and how to use Personal Vault in Windows 10.

    Personal Vault

    Personal Vault has been added to the latest OneDrive updates. This is an extra way to protect our most sensitive and confidential files. To successfully access Personal Vault, it is necessary to use some of the available authentication methods. It can also be accessed using some method of identity verification, such as PIN, fingerprint, facial unlocking or code sent by email or SMS. Although OneDrive runs with the trusted credentials of the Hotmail or outlook account, in order to access Personal Vault it is necessary to reauthenticate the login. This adds a second layer of security, very useful in case a shared computer is used.

    In addition, the files contained in the Personal Vault have additional security measures. For example encryption of files at rest and in transit, monitoring of suspicious activities, detection of viruses and history of file versions. This last feature allows for recovering previous versions. It sounds interesting, doesn’t it? and best of all, it’s free. You can also use OneDrive’s mobile application to take photos, record videos or scan documents and send them directly to the Personal Vault. In addition, if you use a Windows 10 computer, the files in that area will be synchronized with a local copy on the hard drive. This section of the hard disk will be encrypted with the BitLocker system. As a result, we will have a secure area encrypted both in the cloud and locally.

    As an extra measure of security, this service has a period of activity. In other words, if you go more than 20 minutes without accessing the Personal Vault, it will close. This means that in order to be able to access the files, it will be necessary to reauthenticate. Now let’s see how to activate and use this very interesting feature.

    How to use Personal Vault

    The first thing we need to do is log in to our OneDrive account, please login at this link. Once there, please enter your email and password.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    OneDrive Personal Vault

    Next, please click on Personal Vault. A wizard will be displayed indicating the characteristics of the element. Please click Next to continue.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Entering to Personal Vault

    Please confirm your Hotmail or Outlook account and proceeds to verify it.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Verify your identity

    Then choose the authentication method. In this case, I chose SMS authentication. So it is imperative to enter the SMS sent by the system. Once this is done, we will be successfully authenticated and we will be able to enter the Personal Vault.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Authenticating the user

    After authenticating, we will enter the Personal Vault for the first time. You can now upload files.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Personal Vault

    In the options menu are the following options: Lock, Personal Vault settings and the number of free files that can be uploaded (only 3, without a subscription)

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Personal Vault options

    In the configuration menu, you can set how to enter and you can also disable the Personal Vault.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Personal Vault settings

    Conclusion

    We have seen how to activate and use Personal Vault with Windows 10. It is a very interesting option to consider due to the security options it offers. For now, only 3 files can be uploaded for free, but it is likely that Microsoft will make this policy flexible in the future. However, if you have a subscription to Office 365 you can get the most out of it. All right, that’s it for now, before saying goodbye I invite you to check our post on the improvements apps to download after installing Windows 10.

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    OneDrive Personal Vault brings added security to your most important or sensitive files, photos and videos with a strong authentication method. The feature is rolling out worldwide and will be available to everyone with a Microsoft account by the end of 2019.

    Continue reading to know what is OneDrive Personal Vault and how to enable or disable the Personal Vault in your OneDrive storage.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    • Personal Vault is a protected space in your OneDrive storage.
    • It adds an extra layer of protection to your sensitive files, photos and videos.
    • As a free user, it limits you to store only three files.
    • If you have a Office 365 subscription, you can add unlimited files to your Personal Vault.

    What is OneDrive Personal Vault?

    The OneDrive Personal Vault is a protected area within your OneDrive space that provides you an additional layer of protection for your most important files, photos and videos. The protected space can be accessed with a strong 2-Factor authentication.

    OneDrive

    Don’t have OneDrive? Download the app and get your first 5 GB of storage free.

    If you are free user, it limits you to store a maximum of three files, but for the users having a paid subscription can store unlimited files.

    How to activate the OneDrive Personal Vault?

    To set up the Personal Vault in your OneDrive storage, first login to your OneDrive account. After login, you will find a Personal Vault icon along with the other folders, as shown in the following screenshot. Click on the icon to continue next.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    The following popup will open, asking you to secure your Personal Vault with an extra layer of security so that you can store your most important and sensitive files, photos and videos. Click the Next button to proceed with adding a two-factor authentication.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    The next popup will show account details on the screen. You will need to verify your account. Click the Verify button to proceed next. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the verification process. If you don’t have 2FA enabled to your account, you will have to set it up.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    After successful account verification, the following screen will be shown to your screen where you add new files or move your existing files to the secure vault.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Please note that, by default the Personal Vault will lock down automatically after 20 minutes of inactivity. You can also lock it manually by clicking the Personal Vault settings icon and select Lock .

    How to deactivate the OneDrive Personal Vault?

    In case you want to deactivate/disable the OneDrive Personal Vault in your account, follow the steps mentioned below:

    1. Login to your OneDrive account.
    2. Click on the settings gear icon and navigate to Options | Personal Vault .
    3. Now click the Disable link set next to the Disable Personal Vault label.
    4. It will double confirm you whether you really want to disable the Personal Vault. Click the Disable button to deactivate it.

    A point to note that, disabling/deactivating the Personal Vault will delete all files and folders that you kept inside it. Before disabling it, make sure that you have taken a backup of the files and folders. Once deleted, there will be no option to restore/recover those. All other files and folders in your OneDrive account will remain intact.

    Personal Vault in Microsoft OneDrive adds a second layer of encryption to files stored in the cloud. Here’s a look at using it to keep your most sensitive docs and photos extra secure.

    Microsoft allows you to add an extra layer of security of your sensitive docs stored on OneDrive. The Personal Vault feature adds an extra layer of enhanced security for documents stored in OneDrive. On Windows 10 it syncs files to a BitLocker-encrypted section on your hard drive. The files are also encrypted while at-rest in OneDrive and in transit to your device.

    You still need your regular login credentials to log in to OneDrive, but the personal vault folder requires strong authentication or the second step of verification to access it.

    Note: You might not see this feature quite yet. Earlier this year the company announced the Personal Vault feature. It began rolling out to limited regions on June 25th. But it’s now starting to roll out to more users. “Personal Vault started rolling out in all regions worldwide on September 6, 2019, and is expected to be available to everyone in October 2019,” notes Microsoft exec Seth Patton.

    Using Personal Vault in Microsoft OneDrive

    On the web, log into your OneDrive account and find the new “Personal Vault” folder and click on it. Then you’ll need to sign in to your Microsoft account and set up a second mode of verification. For the second step you can use your fingerprint, your face with Windows Hello, a PIN, or code sent via email or SMS. And on mobile, it can be unlocked using the Microsoft Authenticator app.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    You can lock your Personal Vault by clicking the Options icon at the upper-right corner and select Lock. There you can also go in and change some settings like changing the way you sign in to Personal Vault and even disable it.

    Personal Vault in File Explorer on Windows 10

    On your Windows 10 desktop, you will find the Personal Vault in the OneDrive folder in File Explorer.

    To unlock it you’ll need the second form of authentication you set up before. Once unlocked you can use the files just like you normally would.

    OneDrive Personal Vault on Mobile

    On your iPhone or Android device, you will need to have the OneDrive app installed. Again, you will find your Personal Vault folder in OneDrive. Then using your phone, you can use your fingerprint reader or another method of second-factor authentication to unlock it and use your files. It’s also worth noting that it requires that you create a PIN in addition to your fingerprint.

    Personal Vault Auto-lock

    Note that your Personal Vault will lock automatically after 20 minutes of inactivity on your desktop and after three minutes on your phone by default. But you can change the auto-lock times through settings. You can also have it set to automatically lock on exit.

    Conclusion

    Overall this is a welcome extra layer of security for your files stored and synced via OneDrive. If you have been hesitant on storing sensitive files in the cloud, this is a long-overdue feature. Microsoft notes that all files stored in OneDrive and those in Personal Vault are “encrypted at-rest in the Microsoft cloud and in-transit to your device.” But to ensure further protection on mobile devices it’s highly recommended to turn on local encryption on iOS or Android. Altogether this will keep your data protected even if your laptop or phone gets lost, stolen, or someone gains access to it.

    To better protect your personal and sensitive files, Microsoft added a new feature in OneDrive called Personal Vault. Follow these steps to enable and setup the Personal Vault in OneDirve.

    What is OneDrive Personal Vault?

    OneDrive personal vault is a dedicated folder in inside your OneDrive account and is protected with extra security and encryption. The vault can be used to store your sensitive documents and other files. Personal vault adds an extra layer of security using a second identity verification process like OTP, fingerprint, PIN, facial recognition, etc.

    Once you create the personal vault, every time you open it, you need to identify yourself with an additional verification step, even when you are logged into OneDrive.

    Since the personal vault is like any other folder in OneDrive, albeit with additional security, it can be synced with Windows 10, Android app, and iOS app. As you can guess, this is particularly useful for desktop users. You will have instant access to a protected and encrypted folder where you can store your files without going through hoops to password-protect folder or hide a folder. With a single click, the files are locked away from prying eyes.

    Steps to Setup OneDrive Personal Vault

    Setting up the personal vault is pretty simple. Just follow the steps you will have it in no time.

    1. First, log in to your OneDrive account. You will see a new folder called “Personal Vault”. Double-click on it.

    If you don’t see the Personal Vault folder then it means that the feature is not rolled out to you. Microsoft is rolling out the feature in waves. So, you will have access to it sooner or later.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    2. You will see a welcome screen. Click on the “Next” button to continue.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    3. You will be prompted to verify yourself. Click on the “Verify” button and verify yourself.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    4. That is it. You will get access to the Personal Vault. You can upload files to it like any other OneDrive folder.

    Do note that as of writing this, the personal vault is limited to 3 files only. If you’d like to extend the limit, you have to subscribe to Office 365.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    5. Once you are done using the personal vault, click on the “vault” icon appearing on the top-right corner and then select “Lock”. That is it. Your files are safe and secure.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    6. Like I said before, the personal vault will also sync with your device. For instance, if you open the OneDrive folder in Windows 10, you will see the Personal Vault.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    7. Double-click on it, authenticate yourself and you will get access to the vault. The same steps are applicable to Android and iOS apps. Once unlocked, you can add, remove, or modify like in normal OneDrive folders.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    8. The folder will be auto-locked after 20 minutes of inactivity. Alternatively, you can lock it by right-clicking on it the vault and selecting the “Lock Personal Vault” option.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    If you want to disable Personal Vault, you can do so from the OneDrive website. Before disabling the personal vault, move any files in it. Next, click on the Vault icon, select “Personal Vault Settings” and then click on the “Disable” link.

    How to use onedrive’s “personal vault” to secure your files

    Wrapping Up

    That is all. It is that simple to set up and access the personal vault in OneDrive. Though the feature is limited to free users, it still is a pretty neat addition to OneDrive.

    Hope that helps. If you are stuck or need some help, comment below and I will try to help as much as possible.