How to Protect Files in OneDrive Using 2FA with Personal Vault


Personal Vault in Microsoft OneDrive adds a second layer of encryption to files stored in the cloud. Here's a look at the use to keep your documents and photos more confidential more secure.

Microsoft allows you to add an additional layer of security to your confidential documents stored in OneDrive. The Personal Vault feature adds an additional layer of enhanced security for documents stored in OneDrive. In Windows 10, it synchronizes files to a section encrypted with BitLocker on your hard drive. Files are also encrypted while they are 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 verification step to access.

Note: You may not see this feature yet. Earlier this year, the company announced the Personal Vault function. It began to spread to limited regions on June 25 . But now it is starting to be implemented for more users. "Personal Vault began to be implemented in all regions of the world on September 6, 2019 and is expected to be available to everyone in October 2019," says Microsoft executive Seth Patton.

Using Personal Vault in Microsoft OneDrive

On the web, log in to your OneDrive account, search for the new "Personal Vault" folder and click on it. Then, you must log in to your Microsoft account and set up a second verification mode. For the second step, you can use your fingerprint, your face with Windows Hello, a PIN or a code sent by email or SMS. And on mobile devices, it can be unlocked using the Microsoft Authenticator application.


Using the Personal Vault folder is quite simple. It works like any other folder you have in OneDrive. The difference is the second layer of security. When you open it, you will find some instructions to use it, including the "Suggested Files", where OneDrive offers you a list of files in OneDrive that you may want to add to the vault. "Move files here" that allows you to simply drag and drop files into the vault. And "Scan your files" where you can use the OneDrive mobile application to scan documents directly into the vault.


You can lock your Personal Vault by clicking on the Options icon in the upper right corner and select Lock . There you can also enter and change some settings, such as changing the way you log in to Personal Vault and even disable it.


Personal Vault in File Explorer in Windows 10

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


To unlock you will need the second form of authentication that you configured earlier. Once unlocked, you can use the files as you normally would.


OneDrive Personal Vault on mobile devices

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


Automatic personal vault lock

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



In general, this is an additional layer of security for your files stored and synchronized through OneDrive. If you have hesitated to store confidential files in the cloud, this is a feature that has been delayed a lot. Microsoft notes that all files stored in OneDrive and those of Personal Vault are "encrypted at rest in the Microsoft cloud and in transit to your device." But to ensure greater protection on mobile devices, it is recommended to enable local encryption on iOS or Android. Together, this will keep your data protected even if your laptop or phone is lost, stolen or someone accesses it.

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