Microsoft was rather slow to catch up to Dropbox and Google Drive with OneDrive. Now, it has a cloud storage service capable of competing with the industry’s largest names, with updates and new features emerging regularly.
As seen in the image above, OneDrive is deeply integrated into Windows 10 and is included as part of the Microsoft 365 subscription plan that includes the Office suite. Separate client resources are available for macOS, Android, and iOS. Additionally, you can access your synchronized files via the web.
Microsoft’s OneDrive is the company’s response to Apple’s iCloud and Google Drive. That is not exactly accurate, given OneDrive was launched at least five years before other online file storage and synchronization services. With a robust feature set, online office programs, and broad platform support, OneDrive’s functionality and design have matured to the point of smooth use and reliability. OneDrive features an appealing and capable web and mobile interface, AI-powered photo tagging, collaborative editing in real-time, and robust search. The service’s tight integration with Windows 10 and Office 365 (formerly known as Microsoft 365), as well as its maturity, maturity, and polish, win it not just an Editors’ Choice award but also a rare 5-star rating.
Microsoft’s online storage and syncing service are available on various platforms, including PCs, Android, Macs, iOS, and Xbox. Naturally, everything is accessible via any web browser you log in to. OneDrive effortlessly interacts with Microsoft Office (both the installation and online versions) and has robust photo management capabilities. Apple’s competitive iCloud service is only available on Apple devices, and its website is devoid of fundamental features such as search. OneDrive’s newest feature is online photo editing; more on this in the section on photographs below. Additionally, the most recent version includes sending photos to television via Chromecast, organizing them by date or source, and filtering by folder.
Microsoft has published a OneDrive sync app for Windows on Arm and Apple’s M1 Macs. The public preview version of the redesigned OneDrive app is available as an opt-in download for Windows on Arm and macOS, enabling the app to run natively on both platforms.
This should increase the performance of the OneDrive sync application, as the OneDrive process will no longer be emulated on Windows on Arm. The upgrade to 64-bit is especially beneficial for OneDrive customers who have many files or files that are enormous.
Microsoft’s support for Apple’s M1 Macs and Windows on Arms comes on the heels of Dropbox announcing plans to test its native app. Dropbox is now supported on Apple’s M1 Macs via Rosetta, although an updated client will be available later this year. “We have an internal development for native Apple M1 compatibility that we’re testing and plan to release in the first half of 2022,” a Dropbox spokesperson told 9to5Mac.
Microsoft has not previously defined release date for its OneDrive Arm preview. Still, anyone may enable it via the “receive OneDrive Insider preview updates before release” option in the OneDrive settings > about section.
Microsoft OneDrive Features
Microsoft OneDrive operates similarly to other popular consumer cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud. You pick the files and folders you wish to backup, and they are automatically synced with copies in the cloud and the other computers and devices on which OneDrive is installed.
What it does not do is give infinite bare metal device backup. This means that you will need to reinstall operating systems, settings, and apps in the event of a catastrophic disc failure, as OneDrive only manages your data and does not support external or NAS devices. Additionally, OneDrive may restore prior versions of your files, dating back to 30 days ago.
Drop, and data file into Microsoft OneDrive, and it is automatically synced to the cloud and all of your other devices. If you want to conserve disc space on your local machine, you may retain a copy on the cloud, which is convenient. Sharing files and folders with others is also a breeze, as OneDrive automatically generates a link.
When you choose to store your Office files (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) in OneDrive, additional features such as autosaving ensure that you never lose your work, and sophisticated collaboration features enable you to work on files concurrently with other people, directly within the desktop applications or on the web, become available. Additional fascinating features include the ability to play music and video files directly from the web and employing AI-enhanced search to identify landmarks and objects in photos stored in the cloud.
Microsoft OneDrive Interface
As expected, Windows performs best with OneDrive, as it is entirely integrated into the operating system. Here, OneDrive appears alongside Documents, Desktop, and everything else in the navigation pane, allowing you to swiftly right-click on files and folders to transfer them to the cloud or to ensure you have local copies handy. It’s quite smooth and simple to use.
Anyone who has ever created a Microsoft account and signed up for a, including Hotmail, Live, Office 365, or Outlook.com, already has a OneDrive account; however, you can sign up with any other email provider. Free users receive 5GB of storage space, while many devices and PCs have additional OneDrive storage. This compares to 1GB of free iCloud storage (unless you purchase an Apple device, in which case you receive 5GB), 2GB of Dropbox storage, and 15GB of Google Drive storage. Other smaller players, such as Mega and pCloud, provide similar free space but fewer features.
Alternatively, the web interface, which can be used from any computer that recognizes your Microsoft ID, is lacking in sophistication – it lacks the simplicity and beauty of Google Drive or Dropbox. It accomplishes the task of showing your media, sharing your files, and allowing you to transfer files around, but it lacks panache.
On other interfaces, the situation is more complicated. The macOS synchronizing client is unremarkable, but like the web interface, it covers all the bases without becoming too complicated, runs from the menu bar, and may optionally startup with macOS. Regrettably, it tends to get in the way of iCloud.
Office 365 subscribers receive an additional terabyte of storage with their $6.99 per month Personal membership, in addition to additional features such as expiry and password-protected sharing links, ransomware protection, and downloadable Office programs. A $9.99 monthly Home subscription offers 6TB of storage (1TB each for six users). Another alternative is to pay $1.99 per month to add 200GB of storage to OneDrive, albeit you will lose the previously mentioned benefits. By comparison, Apple, Dropbox, and Google all provide 2TB of storage for $9.99 per month.
Microsoft OneDrive Security
Microsoft OneDrive is an excellent tool for sharing files with coworkers and friends. While not everyone will immediately have access to the same files as you, OneDrive makes it simple to offer access to files. Additionally, OneDrive for Business enables you to restrict file access. Users can assign a password to the file, ensuring that only those with the password have access to it. They can also specify expiration dates, allowing just a short time window for external people to read the content. Additionally, they can establish limits that allow some users to view the document but not alter it.
Navigate to the document’s location on OneDrive and click the share button to share data with limited access. From here, you can select access options and create a shareable link using the dropdown menu.
When the entire Microsoft account and Microsoft 365 subscription are active, Two-factor authentication (2FA) is enabled for OneDrive, which is reassuring. This means that even if your login credentials are compromised, access to your files and account will remain denied. Additionally, a Personal Vault option requires an additional layer of authentication (such as a fingerprint or a PIN) to access.
AES 256-bit encryption protects files in transit and at rest, but not end-to-end encryption, as Microsoft engineers can access your data when necessary, such as for the restoration, and Microsoft assures that access is closely restricted. Microsoft also distributes the files over numerous data servers to further protect against data loss, and we consider the system quite robust in general.
OneDrive’s free basic account has 5GB of storage. One tier higher, its Standalone plan includes 100GB for $1.99 per month. OneDrive offers two premium options for personal users: Microsoft 365 Personal (1TB storage for $5.99 per month) and Microsoft 365 Family (6TB storage for $7.99 per month). Both programs include Microsoft 365 applications such as Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word.
Business users seeking sophisticated capabilities such as user management and file audits can choose from four options. OneDrive for Business Plans 1 and 2 are $5 and $10 per user per month, respectively. These plans do not include Microsoft 365 apps. The first plan provides 1TB of storage per user, while the second plan provides limitless individual cloud storage service with sophisticated security features.
Consider Microsoft 365 Business Basic at $5 per user per month or Microsoft 365 Business Standard at $12.50 per user per month for access to Microsoft 365 apps and services like SharePoint, Teams, and Exchange. Both options include 1TB of storage per user, but the latter adds access to more apps and services.
Users who rely on Microsoft products will appreciate how integrated OneDrive is with Windows and Microsoft 365. You can work together on files and have they automatically backed up in real-time.
OneDrive truly deserves to be examined in context. For a serious Windows user and those who regularly utilize the Microsoft 365 suite, OneDrive functions as a cloud storage complement to other Microsoft products. However, as a macOS, Android, or iOS add-on, we don’t find it nearly as striking or useful.
In other words, it is not the features or pricing of OneDrive that determine whether it is a good or terrible deal; rather, it is more dependent on the applications and services you are currently using. We can tell with certainty that OneDrive is a far more refined product than SkyDrive was when it launched a few years back. OneDrive has matured to the point where it can handle all of your file backup and syncing needs across many platforms.
OneDrive is not the cheapest or most secure cloud storage service available. Additionally, its UI is far from elegant or stylish. It is, however, simple and intuitive to use—you will require little to no coaching. If you require assistance, the comprehensive and rapid support provided by OneDrive will be more than adequate.
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