What Is OneDrive?

OneDrive, Microsoft’s internet-based storage platform, offers a generous amount of free space to anyone with a Microsoft account. Think of it as a cloud-based hard drive with additional perks. A key advantage is its integration with Windows 10, albeit with occasional hiccups.

Microsoft, naturally, encourages users to purchase additional storage, but there’s no obligation to do so.

How much storage can you get?

At present, OneDrive grants all Microsoft account holders 5GB of complimentary storage. For a mere $2/month, you can secure 50GB. Moreover, numerous Office 365 subscription tiers provide a whopping 1TB (1,024GB) of free OneDrive storage for as long as you retain your Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft’s offerings may change periodically, but the prevailing trend is a significant drop in prices. In due time, most online storage options are poised to become free.

It’s worth noting that the complimentary storage is available regardless of whether users log into Windows with their Microsoft accounts or never utilize OneDrive. As a matter of fact, merely possessing a Microsoft account automatically enrolls you in OneDrive.

OneDrive can be perplexing

Many individuals find OneDrive, specifically the Windows 7, 8, and 10 iterations, bewildering because it essentially maintains two sets of files. (By contrast, Windows 8.1 OneDrive is more transparent about this process.) In Windows 10’s OneDrive, you have the complete OneDrive catalog stored on the web. However, there exists a second, parallel subset of OneDrive folders saved locally on your computer.

For certain users, all their web-based files and folders also reside on their devices, which allows OneDrive to sync folders promptly. Whatever you see in File Explorer mirrors the contents of the cloud storage and vice versa. Yet, others have only a selection of their OneDrive folders stored on their computers. File Explorer exclusively displays this specific subset of folders, hiding the rest lodged in the cloud.

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If you’re not puzzled, it’s safe to say you haven’t grasped the concept.

What OneDrive offers

OneDrive functions similarly to other cloud storage services by providing an online repository for your files. To access your data, you must sign in to OneDrive using your Microsoft account (or use your Microsoft account to log in to Windows).

If you sign in to another Windows 10 computer using the same Microsoft account, you can access all your OneDrive data via the web. However, surprisingly, this may not be the case when using File Explorer. You may not even realize what data is stored in your OneDrive storage solely by examining File Explorer.

This constitutes one of the most confusing and precarious aspects of Windows 10. Remember, when it comes to OneDrive, File Explorer lies.

File Explorer makes it straightforward to copy files from your computer to OneDrive, as long as the destination folder is visible in File Explorer. Copying files in the opposite direction, from OneDrive storage to your local hard drive, is also possible, but only if the file or folder is visible in File Explorer.

Sharing files or folders stored in OneDrive involves sending a link to the intended recipient. For instance, if you want to share a folder of Little Billy’s pictures with Aunt Martha, OneDrive generates a link that you can email to her. Additionally, you can designate a file or folder as Public, granting universal access.

To utilize OneDrive on a mobile device, you can install one of the OneDrive apps designed for Mac, iPhone, iPad, or Android. However, these mobile apps may encounter similar issues found in File Explorer on Windows 10.

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In Windows 10, there’s no need to download or install a distinct program for OneDrive; it’s already integrated into the operating system.

If you have the OneDrive program installed, it automatically synchronizes data across computers, phones, and tablets that are linked to the same Microsoft account as soon as you connect to a network. For instance, if you modify a OneDrive file on your iPad and save it, the updated version is stored in your OneDrive storage on the internet. Consequently, all other devices with access to the file will have access to the new iteration. This applies to Android devices as well.

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