OneDrive by Microsoft is relatively new in the cloud market but because of its deep integration with Windows, Microsoft Office, and Sharepoint, it is slowly making a name for itself.
It has file syncing, sharing and fast uploads and downloads. The service also provides 5 GB free space to get you started.
Coming to the pricing, OneDrive only has one basic paid plan for 50 GB, which costs $1.99. If you want more storage space, then you would have to get a subscription of Office 365 which comes with 1 TB of storage space on OneDrive and costs $6.99 per month
Microsoft renamed SkyDrive to OneDrive after they had trademark issues with Sky TV. And we have to agree OneDrive sounds better. Though OneDrive is comparatively new to the cloud storage market, Microsoft is doing everything it can to lure in new customers. Until last year, it provided unlimited storage for Office 365 users, but that has now been reduced to 1 TB.
Who Should Use It?
OneDrive might not be the ultimate cloud storage service on its own but combine it with Microsoft Office and you have got yourself a winner. With 5 GB free space and complete integration with Windows, OneDrive can be easily used for personal purposes.
At the same time, OneDrive for Business follows all the necessary compliances and users can sync and share their data on both Office 365 and Sharepoint Server.
Since most of the big companies use Sharepoint to store their data anyway, using OneDrive with it could prove to be extremely useful and increase productivity as well.
- 5 GB Free Space
- File Sync
- File Sharing
- Preview / Edit Online
- Photo Editing
- Integrated with MS Office
- Cross-Platform Compatible
- & more...
Backup and Restoration
To access OneDrive, you would have to sign up for a Microsoft/Xbox Live/ Outlook account.
Microsoft introduced new changes to the OneDrive interface when Windows 10 rolled out. In fact, for Windows 10, there is no interface. OneDrive is deeply embedded in the operating system. It’s very much how iCloud is embedded in the Apple devices.
When you are working on a Microsoft Office file, you can also directly save it to your OneDrive account. Apart from that, there is also OneDrive folder created on your main drive where you can copy/paste all the files and folders. There is no backup scheduler available for OneDrive, if you want to stop uploads, you would have to close OneDrive from the taskbar.
There was a strange problem with OneDrive that we came across while backing up data. Apparently, you cannot upload more than 20,000 files in your OneDrive account. It doesn’t matter what the size of the file is; it just wouldn’t upload. When we researched, we found out that this is a bug and Microsoft already knows about it, but they haven’t done anything to get rid of the problem yet.
Users can restore data from its web app. And OneDrive’s web app reminds us starkly of Windows 8 with the signature blue color and tiles. Right-click works on the web app, the same way it works on Google Drive. Once you select a folder or a file, you will see a download button on top.
Though OneDrive does not use full bandwidth throttle, it still manages to get fast upload and download speeds.
Syncing & Sharing
Syncing and sharing is extremely smooth on OneDrive, especially for Windows users. As you might already know, file syncing means a copy of the file is made available on every local machine that has the cloud app installed on it. If you make any changes to the file from any computer, then the changes will be uploaded to the cloud server.
This is the exact reason cloud storage and syncing services should not be used for backup. Because if a file goes corrupt on a system, then the copy of the file saved on the cloud will also become inaccessible.
Sharing on OneDrive is straightforward, and it works the same way as Google Drive and Dropbox, you can either invite a user to view the file by sending them an email or you can just copy the link and share it with people. While doing so, you can also choose if you would want other users only to view the files or edit them as well. You can also choose if the recipients should have a Microsoft account or not.
Privacy & Security
Shortly after Snowden released documents about NSA snooping to the public, it was revealed that Microsoft too has an open door policy to the NSA. The company does provide encryption on the server side, but that is only to protect your data from the hackers. The US government already has the key to the encryption, and they can access it whenever they want.
If you don’t want the NSA snooping through your private files, we really wouldn’t recommend choosing OneDrive as your primary cloud storage service.
Web & Mobile App
OneDrive’s web app is very sleek and clean. There is a menu on the left-hand side which has all the main folders. It also has a recycle bin which stores all the files that have been deleted from OneDrive. These files remain in the recycle bin for 93 days before they are deleted forever. You can also manually delete files from it to clear up some storage space.
There is also a blue tab on the top left which lets you access all the other online services of Microsoft including Outlook, Calendar, Office, and OneNote. We were surprised to see that Skype has been integrated to the app which makes it all the easier to work on it. Previously, OneDrive had Microsoft Live chat option instead but of course, nobody uses Live chat anymore. Maybe that is why they decided to switch to Skype. You can also configure your account settings from here.
The Mobile Apps are available for iPhone, Android and of course, Windows phones. There are not as exhaustive as the web app, but they have all the features you would need from a mobile cloud storage app. The camera roll can be automatically uploaded to the app, and you can preview all the files in your OneDrive account. But if you want to edit document files then you would have to download Microsoft Office or a similar editing app.
Pricing and Plans
OneDrive doesn’t have a lot of flexibility in this department. There is one plan for $1.99 per month where you get 50 GB space. But if you need more storage space then you have to take an Office 365 package which comes with 1 TB of storage space. This plan costs $6.99 per month.
It clearly seems that OneDrive isn’t as important as Office 365 for Microsoft. And that isn’t hard to believe since Office products bring in way more revenue than OneDrive.
What's It Missing?
While Dropbox provides exceptionally good file syncing and Google Drive has Google docs with real-time collaboration, OneDrive is somewhere stuck in between them. It does have all the features you would want from a cloud storage and syncing service, but they are not as perfect.
OneDrive does work well on Windows, but it falls short when it comes to Mac. At the same time, its iPhone, Android, and Windows platform apps are also a little different from each other. It also does not provide real-time collaboration on Microsoft Online for free users. You have to have Office 365 subscription to use that. We feel it’s a great choice only if you are a Windows user.
Dropbox was one of the first hits in the cloud market. It has file syncing, sharing and it provides over 16 GB of free space. With its recent collaboration with Microsoft, which allows users to edit their Dropbox documents directly on Microsoft Office Online, it has reached a new high.
Google Drive provides 15GB free space and users can also store unlimited photos under 16 megapixels on Google Photos. It also has the useful and powerful Google Docs, which is preferred by most the startups today because of its real time collaboration feature.
Overall, OneDrive by Microsoft is a great cloud storage service, and if you are a Windows user, then it is perfect for you. Also, if you are already an Office 365 user, then you can use OneDrive as your primary cloud backup service with 1 TB of data.
- Free Storage: 15 MB initially
- Free Trial: Sign up needed
- System: Windows and Mac
- Price: Starting at $8.69/month
- Mobile Apps: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows, Amazon Fire/Kindle Fire
- Synchronization: Yes
- Free External HD Backup: Yes
- Incremental Backup: Yes
- Web Access: Yes
- Continuous Backup: No
- Backup Scheduling: No
- Bare Metal Backup: No
- HIPAA Compliant: No
- File Size Limit: No limited
- Exclude File Extensions for Backup: No
- Network Drives: No
- Bandwidth Throttling: No
- Included Machines: 1
- Local Encryption: No
- Server Side Encryption: 256-bit
- Keeps deleted files: 93 days
- File Versioning: 30 versions
- File Sharing: Yes
- Share Photo Albums: Yes
- Folder Collaboration: Yes
- Outlook Backup: Yes
- Music Streaming: No
- Multiple Accounts: No