Microsoft to Reduce the Amount of Free Storage Space Available on OneDrive

No-OneDrive-Windows-10I have often written about the advantages of having cloud-based storage space, primarily as a place to store copies of your important information, including copies of all your genealogy information, family photos, and more. There are a number of safe and secure file storage services to choose from, and their pricing also varies. Most of the file storage services give away some amount of storage space free of charge and then charge modest prices to anyone who desires even more storage space. Today I received a notice from Microsoft about the company’s OneDrive service, one of the more popular file storage services. Microsoft is dramatically cutting the free space available in OneDrive.

According to an announcement I received in email from Microsoft:

We want to inform you about some upcoming changes to OneDrive that will affect you. In approximately 90 days, the amount of storage that comes with OneDrive will change from 15 GB to 5 GB. We are also discontinuing the 15 GB camera roll bonus. As a result of these changes, you will be over your OneDrive storage limit on June 16, 2016 (visit the Storage page to check your account). You can learn more at our FAQ.

To bring your account within the new limits, you can purchase additional storage,* or choose to remove some files.

We realize these are big changes to a service you rely on. We want to apologize for any frustration they may cause you. We made a difficult decision, but it’s one that will let us sustainably operate OneDrive into the future.

Thank you for using OneDrive.

– The OneDrive Team

As suggested in the message, you can learn more in Microsoft’s FAQs at https://goo.gl/kPUJlA.

If you use Microsoft OneDrive, you might want to check the amount of storage space you are using and adjust your plans accordingly.

Comment by Dick Eastman: I encourage everyone to use safe and secure file storage services for backup purposes. In fact, you never want to depend upon any one backup. Always have two, three, five, or even twenty copies of your important files, all stored in different places. That almost guarantees safety of your critical information. As I have written several times, remember the acronym L.O.C.K.S.S. That stands for “Lots Of Copies Keeps Stuff Safe.”

However, none of us with lots if genealogy information should depend upon free space alone. If the information is important enough to justify spending some money, you should consider paying for some storage space. After all, most of the space available in the cloud is cheaper than purchasing an external hard drive at the local computer store. Safer, too. Unlike another hard drive in your home, cloud-based storage won’t be destroyed by fire, flood, tornado, burst water pipes, or other disasters in your home.

As in any other purchase, you always want to be sure your money is well spent for a cost-effective service. It looks like Microsoft OneDrive is no longer cost-effective. Several other services offer better prices.

I make multiple backups to multiple services. I only store small amounts of information in available free space on a couple of the services I use. However, I store huge amounts of data on Dropbox, Amazon Glacier, BackBlaze, and SpiderOak. I find this to be cheap insurance. You also might want to think about your storage needs.

I don’t consider Microsoft OneDrive to be a bad service. Indeed, it has always proven to be reliable. However, after today’s announcement, I no longer consider OneDrive to be cost-effective.

If you are not sure which service is best for your needs, I suggest you look at BackBlaze. It is simple, it is reliable, and it is one of the cheapest services available. BackBlaze offers UNLIMITED backups for a Windows or Macintosh computer for $5 per month. For more information, see my earlier article at https://blog.eogn.com/2015/09/21/backblaze-online-backup-service-2/.

My second choice for very low-cost backup services is Amazon Glacier. Although it has one of the lowest prices available, Amazon Glacier does require a significant amount of technical expertise to install and configure. I do not recommend Amazon Glacier for computer novices. However, if you possess the required expertise or if you have a technical expert on call, such as the 12-year-old up the street, you might want to look at https://aws.amazon.com/glacier.

How important is your information?

8 Comments

OneDrive to me is very cost effective with an Office 365 subscription for $99 a year, I get the always latest version of Office, 1 Tb of space, and free land minutes on Skype. And the same for up to 4 of my family members, they each get 1Tb. The 1 Tb limit for Office 365 subscribers did not change with this latest update.

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Is information stored on One Drive safe from Ransomware? Or is information on it, similar to an external drive identified by letter in Windows, potentially vulnerable to be encrypted by malware?

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    —> Is information stored on One Drive safe from Ransomware?

    See https://www.microsoft.com/security/portal/mmpc/shared/ransomware.aspx and http://infoworks.tv/can-onedrive-protect-you-from-ransomware/

    Also, like most of the other cloud-based file services, OneDrive keeps ALL versions of files for a while. If a file or even multiple files become encrypted by ransomware, you simply restore an earlier, unencrypted version of each file from OneDrive or other file storage service and the problem is solved. See http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/51889/how-to-recover-a-different-file-version-on-microsoft-onedrive/ for information about restoring earlier versions of files.

    The same is true for most, but not all, other cloud-based files storage services and for many backup programs you run in your computer. For instance, Time Machine, the popular backup program for Macintosh systems, keeps all versions of all files forever or until it runs out of disk space. If it does run out of disk pace, it deletes the OLDEST backups but still keeps hundreds of newer backups.

    With any of these products, ransomware should never be a serious problem. Simply delete the newly-encrypted files(s) and replace them with earlier (unencrypted) versions from your backups. Ransomware then becomes a rather minor inconvenience, not a disaster.

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    Dick,
    I just had a user fire off the Locky ransomware program because she followed the instructions in an e-mail from someone she didn’t know to enable macros. In the 20 minutes it took her to report a problem and disconnect her PC from the network, over 200 GB (10,000+ files) were encrypted over several mapped drives. Luckily, I run fill backups every night, so I was able to restore from the prior night’s backup and we didn’t lose anything.

    Since OneDrive and probably others appear as just another storage location on your local PC, I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before these guys figure out how to access OneDrive, etc.

    Programs like Mozy and Carbonite access your cloud storage through a backup program and not as a drive through Windows Explorer, so they should be safe. Mozy has an option to backup to the cloud AND a removable hard drive.

    On-line backup is great, so is a removable local hard drive, but remember to disconnect it when you aren’t using it, otherwise the ransomware will go after it, too.

    Incidentally, the ransomware wanted me to pay the ransom in bitcoin (which is untraceable) and download a key and unencryption program to restore my data. Of course, who knows what else might be in the unencryption program? Maybe a time bomb that will go off in 5 months to re-encrypt my file?

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Interesting that their 50 gb plan cost 2x as much as Apple’s iCloud plan. Who would think that Apple would be the low-cost provider?

The bad part is that if you’re using MS products on multiple devices phone, PC, Mac, etc they’re usually set up to sync using OneDrive. Folks may not know that their space is being consumed. If you’re using OneNote on a Mac the only way to keep a backup is sync with OneDrive.

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    Apple just announced that they are moving some of their cloud storage from AWS (Amazon) to Google. So, at best, Apple is a re-seller and private-brander of these services.

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Microsoft just announced competive moves to reposition OneNote, with the hope of taking market share from Evernote. Think twice before moving over to OneNote. Promises made by Microsoft may not be kept.

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BIG problem with making too many multiple backups.
Keeping track of everything, security and falling into the wrong hands.
I received the email today from Microsoft. I for one will be using Google Drive instead – How can Google continue to offer 15Gb of storage for Photos and whatever and Microsoft can’t? Microsoft Phones Stink, had one for a year and I am going back to Android.

I really hope Microsoft go BUMP!

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