Microsoft Improves OneDrive for Consumers and Businesses

Posted on July 1, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, OneDrive with 43 Comments

Microsoft today announced a sweeping set of improvements to its OneDrive cloud storage service for consumers and businesses.

“We’re excited to announce new OneDrive features across Microsoft 365 that bring a more connected and flexible files experience to business users, more control to admins, and a more personal touch to everyone at home,” Microsoft’s Seth Patton announced.

Here’s what’s new.

Add to OneDrive. This feature is coming in public preview to business users later this month. Add to OneDrive that makes it easy to add shared folders directly to your OneDrive, Microsoft says, including content that others shared with you through their OneDrive or content that is a part of your shared library in Microsoft Teams or SharePoint.

Teams sharing integration. Microsoft will “soon” begin rolling out OneDrive share integration in Teams alongside similar integration for Outlook and Office. “When you go to share a file from within Teams, you’ll have the option to create sharing links that provide access to anyone, people within your organization, people with existing access, or specific people, including those in a private or group chat,” Microsoft says.

Synced metadata support. In the next few weeks, Microsoft is rolling out an update to the OneDrive sync app that supports read and write sync for shared libraries that contain required metadata. This will enable business users to edit content in their synced libraries while working from their desktops.

Move and keep sharing. Later this summer, business users will be able to choose to keep sharing with collaborators when they move their files between different shared locations. Users will receive a new link maintaining the same permissions they had before and receive a notification about the move, Microsoft notes.

100 GB file updates. Effective immediately, Microsoft has increased the upload file size limit from 15 GB to 100 GB in OneDrive and SharePoint for everyone.

Comment notifications. Later this year, Microsoft is adding the option to turn off comment notifications for individual files. This will only affect that one file, not the entire files library.

Address bar sharing. Those work on a file in a browser will soon be able to share links copied from their browser address bar with internal colleagues. These URLs will respect all sharing policies, empowering natural and easy collaboration within your organization, Microsoft says.

Sync admin reports. These reports will allow admins to check on the adoption and health of the OneDrive sync app across their organizations.

Enhanced file protection and governance. Admins will soon be able to implement automatic expiration of external access, multi-factor authentication policies, like prompting one-time passcodes (OTP), as well as extending continuous access evaluations to OneDrive and SharePoint, Microsoft says.

Streamlined admin experience. Later this year, all OneDrive admin capabilities, including controls for sharing, access, sync, and storage, will be available in the SharePoint admin center, consolidating admin tools in one place.

Family and group sharing. Later this month, consumers using OneDrive on the web will be able to predefine a group of people from their personal life and then share files, photos, videos, and albums with that group.

Dark Mode for the web. Following in the footsteps of OneDrive for Android and iOS, Microsoft will soon bring Dark Mode to OneDrive for the web across commercial and personal accounts.

Better collaboration with friends and family. OneDrive’s file detail pane and activity feed now let you see your file activity and comments in a single view, so you can quickly get back to whatever you and your friends and family are working on together, Microsoft says.

 

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (43)

43 responses to “Microsoft Improves OneDrive for Consumers and Businesses”

  1. ezraward

    The OneDrive team clearly has the right idea (as opposed to some MS teams). Build something solid, and then chip away at the dozens of nice little things over the next few years.

  2. red77star

    Good stuff for people who pay for this. I prefer my Raid 10 NAS on local network and no $10.64 subscription.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to red77star: How does your NAS do when you need to share a folder with a number of dispersed people?


      • Thomas Parkison

        In reply to SvenJ:

        And not only that but how does your NAS handle an environmental disaster such as a house fire, storm, etc? Oh yeah... it doesn't.

        • red77star

          In reply to trparky:

          I have replica NAS in another location. I just do not prefer cloud anything solution. I understand the reasons why people would use One Drive. Not for me.

        • bleeman

          In reply to trparky:

          I purchased a Synology NAS for my home. I've got it setup as a RAID-1 array (It's only a 2 drive system but enough for my needs). One of the nice benefits is, they have a package that syncs with OneDrive personal and OneDrive for Business. It gives you the ability to designate what you want to sync, so I sync just under 1TB to both sites so that I have 2 copies in the cloud and mirroring locally. It wasn't too bad of an investment, $169 for the NAS and $99x2 for the Seagate Ironwolf NAS drives. I was already using Office 365 for our personal E-mail so I don't consider the cost as OneDrive specific. I didn't realize the Synology unit had the sync option so that was a nice bonus.

      • red77star

        In reply to SvenJ:

        I have no desire to share anything with people. I said these features are great, and I understand people needed One Drive. I get it. My priorities and preferences are different.

      • rfog

        In reply to SvenJ:


        I can do that with my Synology, with any of my files (not only ones in the "cloud" part). Time expiring, by link, by account...


        However I use Dropbox as my main stuff. OneDrive has given me so many headaches that having an Office 365 account, I only use it as partial NAS Backup.

    • Martin Sjöholm

      In reply to red77star:

      How much is that Raid 10 NAS solution, and how much expertise does it take to manage it?

      • red77star

        In reply to RoundaboutSkid:

        Cheaper than paying monthly subscription and I am an expert in these things. Why pay someone else for something I know how to do it. Again, for most people that is not the option.


        Yes, Drives do fail but not as used to. Enterprise level things you buy these days have a good life span, you would be surprised and it really comes cheaper than paying for subscription and you get only 1Tb of storage.


        Somewhere, someone from corporate world convinced lot of companies and individuals that paying for cloud solution is better and more cost effective than running on premise. That someone made ton of money on lies.

  3. roykirk

    Is "Add to OneDrive" coming to non-business users at all? That's the only feature I see of real interest. I see business is getting a preview, but it's not very clear if this feature is available to those on non-business plans.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to roykirk: Already there for me. has been for a while. Open your one drive on the web, click a folder shared with you and look at the menu options at the top.


    • Philip Worthington

      In reply to roykirk:


      I was surprised to read that 'update' as I've been using that feature in OneDrive for at least four years!


      As a side note, it's also a good sneaky way to increase your OneDrive storage. Shared folders don't count against your storage limit, so if you have a 365 account that allows for multiple users you can create an extra account and share a folder from that account to yours.

  4. jf-nyc

    Does "Family and Group Sharing" mean that we can share files between a OneDrive for Business account and a OneDrive consumer account?


    That is the feature that I really need.

  5. dansak001

    File size limit increase is huge for me.

  6. craisin

    I just hope that integration with Snagit for non-business users is introduced. It is very awkward to synchronize Snagit images to One-Drive for non-business users since it attempts to copy the main Snagit database across continually (which it cannot do since the file is always in use). Apparently there is a link for business users of One Drive which works.

  7. dfunk

    I like OneDrive, but Microsoft really needs to get their versioning and restore function working correctly, both for home users and for corporate. Have had major problems with this on both fronts in the past weeks. One issue has been resolved, but the other has not.


    If they want business to trust more of their documents and workflows to OneDrive, this needs to be addressed.

  8. pmeinl

    It would be nice if MS got rid of the limitations in file path length and supported file types in OneDrive for Business. These did hit me hard when migrating files from Dropbox and OneDrive for Consumers. Afaik the limitations come from the underlying SharePoint but users should not have to deal with this.

  9. mimi88

    Great but... Shouldn't MS get the performance of the syncing of OneDrive up to industry standards first? I switched from Dropbox to OneDrive and have really taken a performance hit. With Dropbox, the syncing was instantaneous, and all my computers (both Macs and PCs) "felt as one." With OneDrive, it's a constant wait for things to sync up. A lot of the "Pause syncing" and then "Resume syncing" song-and-dance, and MAYBE after a minute (if I'm lucky) I can access that file. Am I doing something wrong, or should people with Macs in their network absolutely stay away from OneDrive?

  10. jcbeckman

    Now if it would just work for me instead of constantly telling me my "upload failed" and forcing me to save as another name, delete the older file, and rename the new one (a nearly weekly occurrence).

  11. redstar92

    Family mode finally!!! Man the photo sharing was really annoying but hoping this makes it better ?

  12. sentinel6671

    It's unfortunate that these changes don't improve the ability for Business to use OneDrive as common file storage to replace a traditional file server. OneDrive is extremely individualized. If you want commonality, you have to deploy a Sharepoint document library, and all of the work/complexity that entails.


    Third party solutions, like Egnyte or Citrix Sharefile seem to have a leg up on providing a true replacement to an on-prem file server.

    • jblank46

      In reply to sentinel6671:


      We use SharePoint team sites to replace shared drives with decent success. When you pair that with the onedrive sync client configured for files on demand, it replicates the windows explorer view of shared files users expect. When planned correctly, OneDrive becomes the seamless hub/view for both personal files and team files.

      • Vladimir Carli

        In reply to jblank46:


        yes but it's a pain in the neck. Why does it have to be so complex? Normal humans freak out when you try to explain them the difference between sharepoint and onedrive. It should be possible to setup a simple team folder on onedrive as it is on dropbox, box etc. Having such a different system makes it extremely difficult to transition from these services to onedrive, even if you are already paying for it with M365

    • robsanders247

      In reply to sentinel6671:

      You're right, SharePoint is aimed at structured data (the file object with metadata), OneDrive is unstructured in most ways like a file server was. And on top of that, I’ve found adding a SharePoint document library to the OneDrive client always too complex. Why should someone go to the website first to click the “Sync to my device” link?


      Then again, I might be biased after having spent over 6 years at Citrix in technical pre-sales and technical marketing roles for ShareFile ;)

    • nerdile

      In reply to sentinel6671:

      I assume you're talking about running SharePoint on-premises. With Office 365 it is hard *not* to set up a SharePoint site with a document library. I know, because I've done so with my homelab and also at work for my team as someone who's not in IT.


      And every time someone creates a Team in Teams, it comes with an extra SharePoint, (which creates its own content management problems).

      • sentinel6671

        In reply to nerdile:


        I meant either on-prem or Office 365. Without access to someone with a very deep skillset on Sharepoint, I see it as a non-starter. Also, Sharepoint is difficult for people to understand, when they're expecting a traditional file share. If all you're going to use Sharepoint for is common storage, synced to each workstation, there's not much point.

  13. dab2kab

    Lol. Meanwhile google drive has allowed uploads of up to 5 terabytes for 5 plus years now.

  14. jblank46

    The Add to OneDrive feature is killer, I'm glad to see they finally got it. For those coming from Google Drive, that was a sorely missed feature and took years for Microsoft to deliver.

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to jblank46:


      agreed. The fact that you could not sync to your computer automatically files shared by others is what made my organization use dropbox instead of onedrive. Absurd that it took them so long to implement it. I hope they get it right and that once you added to your onedrive a folder, everything added there will be added to your onedrive without user intervention.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to jblank46: Agreed. When in a family it created a Family Share folder in my OneDrive, but set it up as a shared folder for my wife. Fine if you are accessing from the web. Not so much when coming from File Explorer. Shared files/folders don't sync.


  15. davidl

    "Synced metadata support"


    I'm not sure what this is. Can someone give me an example of something I can't do now without this feature?



    • davehelps

      In reply to davidl:


      Here is my educated guess:


      We work for Acme corp.

      I work in the sales team.

      You are my boss.

      We have a SharePoint site.

      The team save all our client proposals to SharePoint so that you can review them.

      Sometimes you want to review all the proposals from a certain member of staff, so you can easily filter by author.


      But what if you want to filter by the client?


      Well, we could agree to always follow a name scheme when saving proposals, but we know that’s going to go wrong sometimes.

      So your SharePoint admin adds a mandatory metadata field to the SharePoint site. Now, whenever I save a proposal, I’m prompted to choose the client from a drop-down list.


      And now you can easily filter the proposals by client.


      This has always worked fine when I open/save docs directly from/to SharePoint.


      More guessing, but maybe it didn’t use to work when using the OneDrive for Business client to work offline, and now it does.


      Or, you know, maybe it’s something else altogether ?

    • dspeterson

      In reply to davidl:

      You can't today write to a SharePoint document library with mandatory metadata that you are syncing to your computer via OneDrive for Business, that's a read-only sync. We have a client that ran into this, business facing feature only, not consumer.

  16. anoldamigauser

    "Add to OneDrive" was available for OneDrive for consumers, but I am not sure it is still available, I have not had a folder shared in a while. It was implemented on the "Shared" tab, and worked as described. A directory shared with you, when selected, would offer the option to "Add to OneDrive". If you selected that the folder would appear as a directory in your OneDrive Files.

Leave a Reply