Microsoft OneDrive (previously SkyDrive) is a cloud-based file hosting and synchronization service. With OneDrive, you can store a copy of your documents in the cloud and synchronize those files across your devices. OneDrive is tightly integrated into Windows 10, and there are OneDrive apps for every popular desktop and mobile operating system.
Microsoft was relatively late to join the cloud hosting market, but in this Microsoft OneDrive review, we demonstrate how it’s become an interesting contender for the best cloud storage service available today.
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Microsoft OneDrive: Plans and pricing
There are four Microsoft 365 plans for home use, four plans for businesses, and another three plans aimed at the enterprise level. All Microsoft 365 plans include other Microsoft software while bundling in some form of OneDrive.
All Microsoft personal accounts include a free OneDrive account with 5 GB of storage space. If you run out of space, you can upgrade to the 100 GB plan for $1.99/month. The $6.99 plan bumps this up to a useful 1 TB of space, and you get all Office 365 apps (Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word) as part of the package.
Business accounts start at $5/user/month if you pay annually on the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan. Every user gets 1 TB of disk space, but you don’t get desktop versions of the Office apps. The Microsoft 365 Business Standard account ($12.50/user/month) includes the desktop version of Office apps.
If your team needs even more storage, the Microsoft 365 E3 plan ($32/user/month) includes all the main Microsoft apps and unlimited OneDrive storage when you have five or more users.
OneDrive works like most cloud-syncing solutions in that copies of the files that you store in a folder on your device are automatically uploaded to the cloud. If you install OneDrive on multiple devices, the files will remain in sync on all devices when you make changes.
Where OneDrive excels is in its integration with other Microsoft products. On Windows, the OneDrive folder acts just like any other folder on your system, so you can use it seamlessly with any other application. If you store your Office files on OneDrive, multiple people can edit them at the same time.
Interface and in use
On Windows, the OneDrive folder is available from the desktop and the taskbar. On Android and iOS, the OneDrive apps are excellent, with intuitive design and support for swipe gestures. The macOS OneDrive app is merely fine, with just enough basic features to satisfy people who use both Windows and macOS.
You can also access your OneDrive files through your web browser. The web application lacks the depth of Google Drive, but you can sort files, choose different views, and create new Office documents from within the interface.
OneDrive’s web interface has a help system that you can access from within the app, and it’s also available within the desktop application. It points you to common answers to queries about the software. There’s also a comprehensive OneDrive help and learning section at support.microsoft.com.
If you still can’t find your answer, there’s email support. In our testing, Microsoft responded to our queries within 30 minutes, which is outstanding. Microsoft told us that they always aim to respond to technical queries within 40 minutes.
Your Microsoft account and OneDrive files are protected by two-factor authentication, so even if your password was leaked, it would still be difficult for hackers to view your files without access to your phone and email. You can even use the Personal Vault feature, which adds another layer of authentication to specific folders, including securing it with a PIN.
Your files are AES 256-bit encrypted on Microsoft’s servers and when they’re being transferred, keeping them secure. Backups are kept on multiple servers, so the service is robust. But end-to-end encryption is not employed, so it’s technically possible for Microsoft’s engineers to access your files if they were compelled to by law.
If you have little interest in an Office 365 subscription, you could save money by choosing a standalone cloud storage service like iDrive. iDrive costs around $5.79/month for 2 TB of storage, whereas OneDrive costs $6.99/month for 1 TB.
Another heavy-hitting cloud storage solution with an attached office suite is Google Drive. Google Drive offers a generous 15 GB of storage with the free plan, and users who pay for the service get discounts on Google Play purchases and deals on hotel stays found through Google Search.
As a cloud storage solution, Microsoft OneDrive is adequate. It’s far from the cheapest option out there, and some other services offer better control over user authentication and file monitoring, but the basics are solid and performance is good.
That said, Microsoft OneDrive excels as a cloud storage solution if you primarily use Microsoft products. It’s tightly integrated into Windows and Office, so if you use Office daily, then OneDrive could make your life much easier. You can collaborate with others in real time on Office files, and all your documents will be automatically backed up.
As Microsoft’s paid plans with OneDrive all include a combination of Office 365 apps and other Microsoft products, the decision to use OneDrive mostly comes down to whether you want to go all-in on Microsoft products.
- The best cloud storage services