OneDrive, as it appears in a web browser
Type of site
|File hosting service|
|Available in||107 languages|
|Launched||August 1, 2007|
OneDrive (previously SkyDrive, Windows Live SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders) is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local device. It is part of the suite of online services formerly known as Windows Live and allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly shared files do not require a Microsoft account to access.
In addition to personal cloud storage, Microsoft offers managed business storage as OneDrive for Business.
At its launch the service, known as Windows Live Folders at the time (with a codename of SkyDrive), was provided as a limited beta available to a few testers in the United States. On August 1, 2007, the service was expanded to a wider audience. Shortly thereafter, on August 9, 2007, the service was renamed Windows Live SkyDrive and made available to testers in the United Kingdom and India. As of 22 May 2008[update] SkyDrive was initially available in 38 countries and regions., later expanded to 62. On December 2, 2008, the capacity of an individual SkyDrive account was upgraded from 5 GB to 25 GB, and Microsoft added a separate entry point called Windows Live Photos which allowed users to access their photos and videos stored on SkyDrive. This entry point allowed users to add "People tags" to their photos, download photos into Windows Photo Gallery or as a ZIP file, as well as viewing Exif metadata such as camera information for the photos uploaded. Microsoft also added the ability to have full-screen slide shows for photos using Silverlight.
SkyDrive was updated to "Wave 4" release on June 7, 2010, and added the ability to work with Office Web Apps (now known as Office Online), with versioning. In this update, due to the discontinuation of Windows Live Toolbar, the ability to synchronise and share bookmarked Web links between users via SkyDrive was also discontinued. However, users were still able to use Windows Live Mesh, which replaced the previous Windows Live Favorites, to synchronize their favorites between computers until its discontinuation in February 2013.
In June 2010, users of Office Live Workspace, released in October 2007, were migrated to Windows Live Office. The migration included all existing workspaces, documents, and sharing permissions. The merger of the two services is a result of Microsoft's decision to merge its Office Live team into Windows Live back in January 2009, as well as several deficiencies with Office Live Workspace, which lacked high-fidelity document viewing and did not allow files to be edited from within the web browser. Office Live Workspace also did not offer offline collaboration and co-authoring functionality – instead documents were "checked out" and "checked in", though the service did integrate with SharedView for real-time screen sharing.
On June 20, 2011, Microsoft overhauled the user interface for SkyDrive, built using HTML5 technologies. The updated version featured caching, hardware acceleration, HTML5 video, quick views, cleaner arrangement of photos and infinite scrolling. Microsoft also doubled the file size limit from 50 MB to 100 MB per file. With this update, Microsoft consolidated the different entry points for SkyDrive, such as Windows Live Photos and Windows Live Office, into one single interface. Files and folders shared with a user, including those in Windows Live Groups, were also accessible in the new interface. On November 29, 2011, Microsoft updated SkyDrive to make sharing and file management easier, as well as HTML5 and other updates. This update also allowed users to see how much storage they had (and how much they had used), a feature that had been removed in the previous update as part of the redesign.
On December 3, 2011, Microsoft released SkyDrive apps for iOS and Windows Phone, which are available in the App Store and Windows Phone Marketplace respectively. On April 22, 2012, Microsoft released a SkyDrive desktop app for Windows Vista, 7 and 8, as well as OS X, allowing users to synchronize files on SkyDrive, much like Windows Live Mesh, and to "fetch" files on their computer via the web browser. In addition, SkyDrive also provided additional storage available for purchase and reduced the free storage space for new users to 7 GB (from 25 GB). Existing users were offered a free upgrade offer to retain their 25 GB of free storage. The updated SkyDrive also allowed files up to 2 GB in size (uploaded via the SkyDrive desktop app). The update also brought additional features such as Open Document Format (ODF) capability, URL shortening services and direct sharing of files to Twitter.
On August 14, 2012, Microsoft announced a new update for SkyDrive which brought changes and improvements to SkyDrive.com, SkyDrive for Windows desktop and OS X, and the SkyDrive API as part of Live Connect. For SkyDrive.com, the updates brought a new "modern" design for the web service consistent with Outlook.com, and along with the UI update the service also received improvements such as instant search, contextual toolbar, multi-select in thumbnail view, drag-and-drop files into folders, and sorting improvements. For the SkyDrive for Windows desktop and OS X applications, the update brought new performance improvements to photo uploads and the sync experience. The update also improved the SkyDrive API with the removal of file type restrictions, ability to upload images in their full resolution, as well as a new SkyDrive file picker for opening and saving files. On August 28, 2012, Microsoft released a SkyDrive app for Android on Google Play store. On September 18, 2012, Microsoft also introduced a recycle bin feature on SkyDrive and announced that SkyDrive will allow users to create online surveys via Excel Web App.
Microsoft became involved in a lawsuit with British television broadcaster BSkyB for using the word "Sky", resulting in a High Court ruling in June 2013 that the service's brand breached BSkyB's trademark. On July 31, 2013, in a joint press release between BSkyB and Microsoft, it was announced that a settlement had been reached and as a result the SkyDrive name would be dropped. BSkyB allowed Microsoft to continue using the brand "for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand". On January 27, 2014, Microsoft announced that "SkyDrive" and "SkyDrive Pro" (an unrelated service affected by the court ruling) would become, respectively, "OneDrive" and "OneDrive for Business". The re-branding took effect across most platforms on February 19, 2014.
Initially, the service provided only 7 GB of storage and, for one year, an additional 3 GB of free storage to students. Users who signed up to OneDrive prior to April 22, 2012 were able to opt-in for a limited time offer of 25 GB of free storage upgrade. The service is built using HTML5 technologies, and files up to 300 MB can be uploaded via drag and drop into the web browser, or up to 10 GB via the OneDrive desktop application for Microsoft Windows and OS X. From September 23, 2013 onwards, in addition to 7 GB of free storage (or 25 GB for users eligible for the free upgrade), power users who required more storage could choose from one of four premium storage plans.
Depending on the market, users may need to have a certain credit card or PayPal account to pay. The paid storage plan will be renewed automatically each year unless Microsoft or the user cancels the service. When the user cancels the service before the term ends, the service will remain active until the end of the term. In effect, the user is not canceling the service, but rather the automatic renewal.
Upon the re-launch as OneDrive, monthly payment plans were introduced, along with the ability to earn up to 5 GB of free storage for referring new users to OneDrive (500 MB each), and 3 GB if users enable automatic uploads of photos using the OneDrive mobile apps on smartphones. Subscribers to Office 365's home-oriented plans also receive additional storage for use with the service, with 20 GB per user.
In June 2014, it was announced that OneDrive's default storage would increase to 15 GB, putting it in line with the amount of storage offered by its competitor Google Drive. The amount of additional storage for Office 365 subscribers also increased to 1 TB. Microsoft also lowered the price of OneDrive storage subscriptions at that time.
In October 2014, Microsoft announced the removal of storage limits from all Office 365 subscribers.
When users delete any files on OneDrive, the service will allow the user to undo the action and restore the deleted file from the recycle bin back to the original folder. Items in the recycle bin do not count against the user's OneDrive storage limit. All items stored in the recycle bin are kept for a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 60 days. If the content in a user's recycle bin exceeds 10% of the user's storage limit (e.g. 0.7 GB for a user with a total of 7 GB OneDrive storage), OneDrive will delete the oldest content from the recycle bin (provided that the files have been in the recycle bin for at least 3 days).
Download as ZIP file
Entire folders can be downloaded as a single ZIP file with OneDrive. For a single download, there is a limit of 4 GB or 65,000 files (whichever comes first).
Microsoft added Office Online (known at the time as Office Web Apps) capability to OneDrive in its "Wave 4" update, allowing users to upload, create, edit and share Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents directly within a web browser. In addition, Office Online allows multiple users to simultaneously co-author Excel documents in a web browser, and co-author OneNote documents with another web user or the desktop application. Users can also view the version history of Office documents stored on OneDrive.
OneDrive allows the viewing of PDF documents, as well as documents in the Open Document Format (ODF), an XML-based file format supported by a number of word processing applications, including Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org and Corel's WordPerfect. OneDrive's search function does not allow search within PDF documents, however.
Plain text editing
Photos and videos
OneDrive can use geo-location data for photos uploaded to the service, and will automatically display a map of the tagged location. OneDrive also allows users to tag people in photos uploaded via the web interface or via Windows Photo Gallery.
Photos uploaded to OneDrive can be played as an automatic slideshow.
|Type||File manager, file synchronization|
Microsoft has released OneDrive client applications for Android, iOS, Windows 8, Windows Phone Xbox 360, and Xbox One that allow users to browse, view and organize files stored on their OneDrive cloud storage. In addition, Microsoft also released desktop applications for Microsoft Windows (Vista and later) and OS X (Lion and later) that allow users to synchronize their entire OneDrive storage with their computers for offline access, as well as between multiple computers. The OneDrive desktop client for Windows allows users to "fetch" the contents of their PCs via the web browser, provided the user enabled this option; OS X users can fetch from a PC, but not vice versa. The Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8 versions also allow camera photos to automatically be uploaded to OneDrive. Upon the re-branding as OneDrive, the Xbox One app also added achievements.
In addition to the client apps, OneDrive is integrated into Windows 8.1 and later, Microsoft Office 2010 and later, as well as the Office and Photos hub in Windows Phone, enabling users to access documents, photos and videos stored on their OneDrive account. OneDrive in Windows 8.1 can sync user settings and files, through either the included SkyDrive app (whose name was later changed to OneDrive with an update) or File Explorer, deprecating the previous desktop client. Along with the use of reparse points, these changes allow files to be accessed directly from OneDrive as if they are stored locally. The OneDrive app was also updated to include a local file manager. Unlike Windows 8, use of OneDrive on 8.1 requires the user's Windows account be linked to a Microsoft account; the previous OneDrive desktop client (which did not have this requirement) no longer works on 8.1. Additionally, the Fetch feature does not work on Windows 8.1.
Integration with Microsoft Office
Users of recent versions of Microsoft Office (for Microsoft Windows or OS X) can use the desktop applications to simultaneously edit the same section of documents stored on OneDrive. Changes are synchronized when users save the document, and where conflicts occur, the saving user can choose which version to keep. This allows for collaborative real-time editing with multiple users. Users can also use several different desktop and web programs to edit the same document.
Microsoft OneNote users can sync one or more of their notebooks using OneDrive. Once a notebook is selected for sharing, OneDrive copies the notebook from the user's computer to OneDrive, and that online copy then becomes the original for all future changes. The originating copy remains on the user's hard drive but is no longer updated by OneNote. Users can switch back to an offline-only version of the notebook by manually changing its location in OneNote, but unpredictable results may occur, including the OneNote application crashing and loss of notebook data under certain conditions. Under such circumstances, re-sharing the Notebook to OneDrive may result in recovery of the lost data.
OneDrive allows users to embed their Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents into other web pages. These embedded documents allow anyone who visits these web pages to interact with them, such as browsing an embedded PowerPoint slideshow or perform calculations within an embedded Excel spreadsheet. In addition, Microsoft has released a set of APIs for OneDrive via Live Connect to enable developers to develop web services and client apps utilizing OneDrive's cloud storage. This allows users of these web services and client apps to browse, view, upload or edit files stored on OneDrive. Currently a software development kit (SDK) is available for web developers and developers of Windows 8 style apps, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.
OneDrive is already interoperable with a host of web services, including:
- Outlook.com: Allows users to:
- Directly upload Office documents and photos within Outlook.com, store them on OneDrive and share them with other users.
- Directly save Office documents within Outlook.com to OneDrive, and view or edit these documents directly within the web browser.
- Edit Office documents within the web browser using Office Online and reply directly back to the sender with the edits made.
- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn: Enables users to quickly share their files with their contacts on these social networks. OneDrive maintains an access control list of all users with permissions to view or edit the files, including those users on social networks.
- Bing: Save & Share feature allows users to save search histories into a OneDrive folder.
- Windows Live Groups: Before being discontinued, Windows Live Groups provided each group with 1 GB of storage space on OneDrive to be shared between the group members. Group members were allowed to access, create, modify and delete files within the group's OneDrive folders, along with the other functionality that OneDrive provides. However, these features eventually became native to OneDrive.
Data stored on OneDrive is subject to monitoring by Microsoft, and any content that is in violation of Microsoft's Code of Conduct is subject to removal and may lead to temporary or permanent shutdown of the account. This has led to privacy concerns in relation to data stored on OneDrive. Microsoft has responded by indicating that "strict internal policies [are] in place to limit access to a user’s data", and that advanced mechanisms, such as Microsoft's automated PhotoDNA scanning tool, are utilized to ensure users abide with the Code of Conduct and that their account does not contain illegal files, such as partial human nudity (including art or drawings), any discussion of purchasing firearms, or any online surveys.
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