Q. I have a major OneDrive cloud mess. I don’t want the cloud. I travel and want my files on my computer. I activated OneDrive when I got my new computer about two years ago. I thought that I would use it to backup my data and before I knew it many of my files are on the cloud. I am totally afraid to embark on trying to fix this myself. How can I get my files off the cloud and restore my laptop to the way I was used to?
— Klaus Golombek
A. There are two nice things about cloud storage. First, it’s not where your computer is. So if your computer is stolen or destroyed in a flood or a fire your data is safe and can be accessed.
Secondly, cloud storage is flexible. You can store your files only in the cloud, saving storage space on your computer. Or you can have all your files both on your computer AND in the cloud. That latter option is what I do. When I change a file or create a new one it is automatically backed up to my OneDrive cloud storage.
If you want to make sure all the files that you currently have stored in OneDrive are also on your computer it’s simple: In File Explorer, right-click on OneDrive and select “Always keep on this device.”
If you for some reason want to uninstall OneDrive you won’t lose any files that are stored on your computer. To do so click on the Start button, type Programs in the search box, and then click on Add or remove programs. Under Apps & features, click on Microsoft OneDrive and then select Uninstall.
Q. Although I have the 1Gb Xfinity combination modem/router with my relatively new Dell computer and I am getting excellent download and upload speeds, I have problems with loss of signal and connection degradation from time to time, especially when using Zoom. I am pretty sure that it is because although I have very good internet speed, the “internet pipe” in my neighborhood is very narrow, resulting in good speed but limited bandwidth. I have had numerous technicians out to my house who all look at the speeds and proclaim that all is well. (Some have replaced the modem, too). I have switched Ethernet cords and tried other things, to no avail. I am pretty sure that the problem is simply insufficient network bandwidth.
This problem was really bad when the pandemic was at its height and many students had online classes and numerous other people were working from home. The issue has abated quite a bit now but is still problematic from time to time (especially about 4 p.m., for some reason).
Do you have any suggestions on how to improve internet bandwidth? As indicated, my internet speed is great.
— George Holzapfel, Seattle
A. Yes, there is a difference between bandwidth and speed, though they are related.
Bandwidth refers to the amount of data that can be carried at a point in time by the carrier. Speed refers to the speed a single transmission can attain going through the carrier. As you note, if there’s a lot of traffic on a carrier line it can slow the speed of transmissions. And conversely, even if there’s plenty of bandwidth there are a number of factors that can affect your speed. You name many of them — an underperforming router, bad cables, etc.
In short, it seems like your equipment is up to snuff and you’re generally getting really good performance. If you find video streaming performance to be spotty it’s likely to be for one of two reasons. First and most likely, as you suggested, if a lot of your neighbors are using up bandwidth it can affect your performance. Secondly, some carriers cap performance after a set amount of data is transferred per month. You can check with Xfinity to see if that’s the case with your account.