Protect your OneDrive files in Personal Vault

Protect your OneDrive files in Personal Vault

Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive where you can store your most important or sensitive files and photos without sacrificing the convenience of anywhere access.

We guide you through setting up your Personal Vault with 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. Your locked files in Personal Vault then have this extra layer of security, keeping them more secured in the event that someone gains access to your account or your device.

Screenshot of Personal Vault appearing in the Files view in OneDrive on the web

Important: 

  • Personal Vault will begin rolling out soon in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and will be available to everyone by the end of the year. You'll know it's available when you see the special Personal Vault folder in OneDrive.

  • Personal Vault will be available from OneDrive on the web, the mobile app, and from your Windows 10 PC.

Personal Vault automatically locks after a period of inactivity (20 minutes on the web, 3 minutes on a mobile app) and then you need to unlock it to get at your files again. All your documents, photos, and videos in Personal Vault are easy to access from onedrive.com, your PC, or other capable devices.

Set up OneDrive Personal Vault

Personal Vault is a special folder in your OneDrive that’s protected by an extra layer of security. You’ll need to set it up separately on each device where you want to use it.

  1. The first time you see Personal Vault in your OneDrive, you'll see a message where you can select Get started.

    Personal Vault get started

    If you don't see the message or you dismissed it, browse to your OneDrive and select the Personal Vault folder.

  2. Read about Personal Vault and select Next.

  3. In the Verify your identity dialog box, verify your account info and make note of your email address in case you want it for the next step. Then select Verify.

  4. Choose a verification method. For example, select Text and follow the instructions to send yourself a text message on your phone.

    If you're using text or email, you'll need to find the text or email message and type in the code that you were sent.

Upload files or folders to Personal Vault

If you don't have an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription, you can only add up to three files in your Personal Vault. If you do have a subscription, you can add as many files as you want (up to your storage limit).

  1. In your OneDrive, select the Personal Vault folder.

    Screenshot of Personal Vault folder in OneDrive

  2. If you're prompted, sign in with your selected identity verification method. For example, select Text and follow the instructions to send yourself a text message on your phone.

  3. Select Upload.

  4. Select the files you want to upload, and then select Open.

Tips: 

  • You can use the OneDrive mobile app to scan documents, take pictures, or shoot video directly into your Personal Vault, keeping them off less secure areas of your device—such as your camera roll. 

  • In the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browser, you can upload folders from the Folder option on the Upload menu, or drag folders to the website.

Move files to Personal Vault

You can move files that are already in your OneDrive to your Personal Vault.

  1. In your OneDrive, select the Personal Vault folder.

  2. If you're prompted, sign in with your selected identity verification method. For example, select Text and follow the instructions to send yourself a text message on your phone.

  3. Select Move from.

  4. Select the files you want to move into Personal Vault, and then select Move items (or drag the items to your open Personal Vault).

Note: If you don't have an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription, you can only add up to three files in your Personal Vault. If you do have a subscription, you can add as many files as you want (up to your storage limit).

Unlock your Personal Vault

For security, your Personal Vault automatically locks when you're not actively using it. On the web, Personal Vault locks after 20 minutes when you're not actively using it. In the mobile app, it locks after 3 minutes. Here's how to unlock it.

  1. In your OneDrive, select the Personal Vault folder.

  2. Verify your identity by choosing a verification method. For example, select Text and follow the instructions to send yourself a text message on your phone.

    If you're using text or email, you'll need to find the text or email message that you were sent and type in the code that you were sent.

    You can unlock Personal Vault with the Microsoft Authenticator app. The app doesn't need Internet access to generate an access code.

Lock your Personal Vault

 You can lock your Personal Vault at any time.

  1. In your OneDrive, select the Personal Vault folder.

  2. Select the Personal Vault options icon, and then select Lock.

    Screenshot of locking Personal Vault in OneDrive

Disable Personal Vault

Disabling Personal Vault permanently deletes any files that are in your Personal Vault at the time you disable it. You won't be able to recover these files later.

  1. In your OneDrive, select Settings Settings: update your profile, install software and connect it to the cloud > Options, and then select Personal Vault from the left navigation.

  2. Select the Disable Personal Vault slider to disable Personal Vault.

  3. If you're sure you want to disable Personal Vault and delete all files and folders inside Personal Vault, select Disable.

  4. Because disabling Personal Vault deletes your files and you won't be able to restore them, we ask you one more time. If you're sure, select Disable again.

Frequently asked questions

Personal Vault will begin rolling out soon in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and will be available to everyone by the end of the year.

When it becomes available for you, you will see the Personal Vault icon in your OneDrive folders or when you click the OneDrive taskbar icon.

Personal Vault get started

Personal Vault will begin rolling out soon in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada and will be available to everyone by the end of the year.

When it becomes available for you, you will see the Personal Vault icon in your OneDrive folders or when you click the OneDrive taskbar icon.

  • Windows 10 (Version 1903 or newer)

  • Android 6 (or newer)

  • iOS 11.3 (or newer)

  • A web browser with the latest version of Edge, Chrome, or Firefox. For added security, use the In-Private or Incognito mode of your browser.

Personal Vault is a protected area in OneDrive that you can only access with a strong authentication method or a second step of identity verification, such as your fingerprint, face, PIN, or a code from the Microsoft Authenticator app, or a code sent to you via email or SMS.

Learn more about two-step verification.

Because your Personal Vault is a secure folder, it appears as a shortcut in your file list, rather than the folder list:

OneDrive Personal Vault shortcut

On a mobile app, you'll see it in the folder list.

To ensure privacy, Personal Vault items do not appear in search results.

Yes (subject to the normal OneDrive file type limitations). Personal Vault is just a place in OneDrive with an extra layer of security.

Note: We are aware of an issue where old Word docs (e.g. filename.doc) cannot be opened from Personal Vault. Word documents saved in the latest format are OK.

No. You need to move the file out of the Personal Vault to share it. 

If you don't have an Office 365 Home or Personal subscription, you can only add up to three files in your Personal Vault. If you do have a subscription, you can add as many files as you want (up to your storage limit).

Mobile and OneDrive.com: Files deleted from your Personal Vault aren't visible in your recycle bin unless your Personal Vault is unlocked. When your Personal Vault is unlocked, the recycle bin files become visible.

Windows 10: Files deleted from your Personal Vault using your PC are permanently deleted and do not appear in your PC recycle bin. However, you can find the files in your OneDrive.com recycle bin as long as the files were already uploaded to OneDrive.

No. Disabling Personal Vault permanently deletes any files that are in your Personal Vault at the time you disable it.

Two-step verification is required to gain access to Personal Vault.

At this time, Personal Vault on Windows 10 doesn't protect the names or hashes of the files in your Personal Vault when the Vault is locked. The OneDrive team is aware of this limitation and committed to extending protection to these attributes in a future update.

When a Personal Vault file has been opened in a Windows application, the name of the file may appear in that application's Recent list and in other locations throughout Windows. Consider opening Personal Vault files on OneDrive.com to avoid this behavior.

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