Microsoft’s New OneDrive Storage Policy Punishes All Users for a Problem it Created

Microsoft this week announced that it is changing the storage plans for everyone across the board and not for the better and also punishes all users.

Microsoft this week announced that it is changing the storage plans for everyone across the board and not for the better. In case you haven’t heard, Microsoft published an article on The OneDrive Blog that lays out changes to the storage plans of OneDrive.

Devices with OneDrive

Microsoft Kills OneDrive Unlimited Storage and More

I will just dive right into what’s going on for those of you who haven’t learned about the new OneDrive policy. The changes include the following:

  • We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  • Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.

We’re taking the following steps to make this transition as easy as possible for customers:

  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1 TB, you will be notified of this change and will be able to keep your increased storage for at least 12 months.
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and find that Office 365 no longer meets your needs, a pro-rated refund will be given. To learn more visit the FAQ.
  • If you are using more than 5 GB of free storage, you will continue to have access to all files for at least 12 months after these changes go into effect in early 2016. In addition, you can redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription (credit card required), which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.

Punish Everyone for the Actions of a Few?

Microsoft announced unlimited storage for subscribers of certain Office 365 plans. Well, if you do that, what do you think will happen? A lot of users are going to take you up on it right?

Microsoft continues its explanation on the same post:

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average.

So Microsoft is saying that a few users have “abused” the offer by uploading enormous digital media collections. If you say “unlimited storage” I don’t see how that is considered abuse.

But, let’s say for the sake of argument that it is abuse. Why do all Microsoft users get punished across the board?

Personally, I have nowhere near 1 TB of data in my OneDrive, and most users will probably never reach that amount. However, there are those who actually benefited from the storage. I read an article about this by Gregg Keiser on ComputerWorld, and he quotes one user as saying “I do video renderings for work. I take max 3TB online. This is extremely bad for me.”

That’s just one example, but I am certain there are a lot more out there who benefit from the generous storage space to actually get work done.

Another interesting point to all of this is that Microsoft allows you to upload your music collection to OneDrive for playback via Groove Music – free of charge. Allowing that, of course, invites people to upload their collections and some of us have enormous collections of CDs ripped to a lossless format like FLAC which is supported now in Windows 10.

The company is backing off on its free OneDrive storage allotment, too. Previously we covered how new users would get 15 GB of Free storage which is something that really set OneDrive apart from the rest.

I also wrote that with this amount of space, it’s advantageous to set all of your mobile devices to auto-backup your photos to OneDrive. These were good incentives for new people to pick OneDrive over a competitor like Google, Apple, or Dropbox.

Microsoft’s response to a few users going nuts uploading mass amounts of content to OneDrive is ridiculous and punishes us all for the actions of a few. This knee-jerk reaction of trying to fix a problem the company created is quite disappointing.

For those of you who use OneDrive storage space for legitimate reasons and are going to be negatively affected by this new policy, make sure to read the OneDrive Changes FAQ on the options you have.

What is your take on this issue? Leave a comment below and let us know your opinion!



  1. Timothy Huber

    November 3, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    You have to wonder who at Microsoft ever thought that this would seem like a reasonable reaction.

  2. Ben

    November 3, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Microsoft currently really depends on people’s trust. I work in Hollywood making movies. Most of my peers use Macs, so did I. But I wanted to be really mobile, and I wanted to be able to do anything anywhere – and be able to pick it up anytime on any device. Windows 10 seemed to be offering that.

    But OneDrive is key to that experience. I got a Surface Pro 3 and Office 365, and built an editing PC and synced all the user files and libraries through OneDrive – whatever I need is instantly on either device, available without an internet connection, but also safely stored online. It’s great! I could share things easily with clients, work wherever, and not have to worry on which device I left what. It’s still good for that, but I was going to do more.

    Right now I use 500 Gb of 1 Tb. I was going to put everything on OneDrive and make it my life (5 Tb). It’d lock me into Windows permanently, but I’ll gladly pay for ease and convenience, security, stability, and the promise of improvement! When they announced the Unlimited plan, I figured they’d do it like AT&T, provide unlimited for a time, cancel the plan, grandfather the unlimited people in, and then either slow down their speeds or set realistic caps on everyone.

    Right now, I’m kicking myself. I have invested thousands into Microsoft products, encouraged by the promises of a better digital ecosystem. I have waited patiently with incomplete apps and services for a promise that is now brought into heavy doubt via this announcement and posting. I have convinced my family and my friends to join in Microsoft. I’m not only personally embarrassed now, but my business and life goes by these products. I stupidly trusted Microsoft, a company that has time and time again shown itself to be a complete idiot in PR and design time and time again – from the constant Windows Phone Reboots, to the XBOX DRM scandal, to Windows 8 – with my workflow. I stupidly believed that I had actually found a one-stop service for my digital life, instead of OneDrive delivering on that promise, I now have to find many solutions and complicate my life.

    I simply do not trust Microsoft. It is ridiculous that they’re taking away space already given, and forcing people to move their data elsewhere. If I can’t trust MS with my data, what good are they as a digital company in the Digital age? I’m so ashamed of the investments I’ve made in the past year. I really hope they take this announcement back.

    • Brian Burgess

      November 3, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      There is nothing but pure negative reactions to this. Microsoft made the announcement last night…as if that would hide this terrible knee-jerk reaction.

      I have been advising people to use OneDrive for a long time because of the liberal storage policy. They even took away the free 15 GB for free users and camera roll bonus.

      Phones today take incredibly large HD photos and videos, and that was a big selling point to bring new users into the Microsoft ecosystem. I mean, seriously, why go that crazy?

      I guess the best thing we can do is continue to push back and hope the company re-evaluates this decision and indeed does take it back.

      It’s extremely disappointing on so many levels.

  3. Vic P

    November 4, 2015 at 6:35 am

    I tend to avoid offers of “Free” services. I remember back in the 80’s when all ATMs were free to use.

  4. Richard Abatemarco

    November 4, 2015 at 10:01 am

    It’s bad enough that M$ screwed over a whole company (Nokia) that poised for a comeback until it agreed to sell it’s phone division to them for over $7 billion dollars. After that Nokia phones took a serious hit and it looks like there is no sign of increasing sales. I moved away from the iPhone and purchased a Nokia Lumia Icon from Verizon. Great phone but support was lacking and now this? I don’t need a smartphone produced by a company who digresses their product line and tosses their app development support team to the ash heap. Quite honestly, I’m done. I have been researching an Android option and will probably be moving over to that platform by end of the year. I’m glad I don’t have a whole lot vested on the MS side unlike my family who have everything tied in Apple.

  5. Peter Roth

    November 4, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Definitely a disappointing move, very similar to wireless carriers’ “unlimited data” claims.

    However, OneDrive has already been disappointing me with its slow download speeds: I use it for iPhone photo backup but I cringe at the 1-2 mbit download rate when I try to download a batch of photos.

    Their support has been useless, calling it a “perceived difference in download speed” despite dozens of identical complaints.

    This move by MSFT may just be the incentive to switch to Google Drive which isn’t free (either) but at least offers better transfer rates.

  6. Tenika

    November 4, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    With so many options for cloud storage, it really comes down to who’s most affordable and easiest to use. Some people make the decision like Ben did and choose to use the service that is most compatible with their devices’ OS. I didn’t use OneDrive in the beginning because I just prefer not to use MS’s services in general (other than owning a PC anyway) but I decided to use it for the same reason others did: large amounts of free or cheap storage. I never did use it for much though and instead preferred to backup my iPhone photos to OneDrive as a redundancy. I won’t lose much by this change but current and future customers are given yet another reason to choose from the many other options for cloud storage and leave MS in their rearview.

  7. Greg

    November 7, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I only had 4 GB of files on OneDrive but after the latest update and the new sync process (no more pointers) I could no longer see a full 50% of my files on OneDrive. The little green check mark said everything was synced but many folders and files were missing. Oddly if I Right Clicked and Save Link As in Firefox I could see the missing folders and files. They were actually on OneDrive but I couldn’t see them. I tried multiple devices, networking, unsyncing and resyncing, spent over an hour with a Microsoft Tech driving my computer and nothing.

    OneDrive is now not only really small but unreliable. I’m back to using only my hard drive and a thumb drive as a backup like I did 15 years ago. And let’s not forget this impacts the Surface sales too as many of those had small SSD drives in favor of OneDrive. You always get the idea with Microsoft that the left hand never knows what the right hand is doing.

  8. Fenoy

    November 8, 2015 at 8:21 am

    I have one of the 100GB plans that I’ve been paying for the past several years plus the camera roll and some loyalty space which totals up to 140GB. I currently only use about 25GB as I moved my photos to two HDs after finding that using LR and PS was not, for me, an optimal approach with OneDrive. Frankly I’m not sure I understand what all the row is about. MS is giving customers a year to modify their cloud storage so you have plenty of time to make necessary adjustments. As for the customer who requires 3TB to do video rendering then I don’t think it is unreasonable for that individual to determine, over the course of the next year, what works best for him and pay for a 3TB account. Cost of doing business.

    • Bill

      November 8, 2015 at 10:19 pm

      @Fenoy, I’m not sure what there is to not understand. People are not upset about their storage disappearing overnight, but even if they are given a year to figure out something else, they have to now figure out what their other options are and even of over time, transfer everything elsewhere and completely change their workflow. For many, that won’t be a trivial matter.

      They were sold a pig in a poke, they were sucked in to a better than needed cloud storage service and once they relied on it, it was dropped to a less than adequate amount of storage.

      A standard bait and switch tactic, but with repercussions such as Ben who moved to all Windows, including wasting thousands of dollars purchasing Microsoft equipment, only because he assumed the promised cloud storage was going to be there for him, and the everything on OneDrive environment works best with Microsoft equipment.

      Even for non-pro consumers, many households have more than one computer, more than one tablet, and more than one smartphone, to now have to move their OneDrive content to another service won’t be inconsequential.

      And for everyone affected there is the cost of lost time, and for many professionals and businesses, money, of doing all the research again of where to go next, and then changing all their software that has been uploading and downloading using OneDrive to now use whatever they move to.

  9. Lawa

    April 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve been using OneDrive for both personal and educational purposes for the past 3 years and I’ve been recommending it to everyone that asked about a good & free cloud storage, but honestly if Microsoft went ahead and applied these changes to my drive I would definitely never ever use OneDrive again.

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