If you’ve ever used Microsoft Window 8, RT 8.1 or 10, you’ve probably been wondering what is OneDrive? Users who’ve just installed a fresh copy of Windows or accepted the invitation to upgrade their OS to Windows 10, must have seen the floating cloud icon appearing in the bottom-right corner of their screen.
This Microsoft OneDrive review will take a look at what is OneDrive and assess its features while comparing it to other popular choices so that you can decide if this service is the right one to protect your sensitive data.
OneDrive – General Info
So, what is OneDrive? In a nutshell, OneDrive is Microsoft’s answer to Dropbox, Google Drive, and the other “box-type” storage solutions, that is completely integrated with Microsoft Windows. Probably every piece of software out there that bears the seal of Microsoft has a OneDrive function. It comes integrated into your operating system so you can use it without any additional grief or installs.
It’s a great option if you need to sync you favorite files and folders all across your devices, manage files in real-time and share information with other people. They have a decent 5 GB free plan that gets you going, and additional storage can be purchased extremely cheaply.
OneDrive’s greatest feature is that you can use it in various ways, without having to rely on Internet connection at all. We will discuss the offline functions, as well as other cloud storage features in the following sections.
Plans & Pricing
Everyone who’s signing up with OneDrive will receive a free 5GB storage allotment to fill with files, folders, pictures, and videos. OneDrive does not have any special restrictions when it comes to uploading files to the cloud. Just make sure that the size of the folder or file you are about to upload does not exceed 10GB, no matter what subscription plan you’ve purchased.
Alternately, if you think that 5GB are not enough for your needs, you can always purchase more storage space, by purchasing a storage plan.
|OneDrive Basic||Free||5 GB||
No bonus features
OneDrive 50 GB
|$1.99/mo||50 GB||No bonus features|
|Office 365 Personal||$69.99/yr||1 TB||
Office 365, 1 tablet backup, 1 phone backup, 1 PC backup, sharing features
Office 365 Home
|$99.99/yr||5 TB (1 TB per user)||
Office 365, 5 PCs, 5 tablets, 5 phones, sharing features
As a service addressed to both families and businesses, OneDrive can accommodate any cloud needs. So, what is OneDrive and what can it do for your business? The main difference between OneDrive Basic and OneDrive for Business is the Office 365 suite included in the pack.
Moreover, the corporate version of OneDrive has more safeguards available. These security features are there in order to prevent data theft and loss. The business version of OneDrive also features powerful auditing and reporting tools, improved cross-platform syncing, and an improved file management feature.
OneDrive In-Depth Review
This section we will go into detail about what is OneDrive and discuss each one of the features of this service. We’ll be taking a look at the backup options, recovery, security, and additional features provided by OneDrive and assessing them compared to the competition.
Before starting to use OneDrive, though, you need to create or sign into a Microsoft account. Setting up your first OneDrive account couldn’t be easier thanks to Microsoft’s intuitive and user-friendly interface. Head on over to the start menu and click or tap on the OneDrive icon.
You’ll automatically be directed to OneDrive’s official sign-in page, where you’ll get additional information on how to set up your first OneDrive account. Once you’ve signed-in, you can start using OneDrive’s features.
There are a couple of ways you can access and work with OneDrive. The most obvious way of committing your files and folders to the cloud is to head on over to OneDrive’s official website and work from there.
There isn’t really an automatic backup option for PC. OneDrive keeps a “sync folder” on your PC that constantly keeps in sync with your cloud drive. If you want a file or folder backed up, you’ll need to copy it over into the OneDrive folder or upload it to the web interface.
On phones and tablets, there is an option to automatically upload photos and videos to OneDrive, which works just like how Google Photos does. The catch is OneDrive counts these photos against your storage allotment, so you’ll need to be careful if choosing this option. The free plan would be eaten up incredibly quickly.
As far as syncing goes, we can truly state that OneDrive has one of the fastest syncing rates out there, followed closely by Dropbox and Backblaze. Within a matter of seconds, you will be able to review the updated version of your document from any device affiliated to your OneDrive account.
Restoration is also done manually with this method. Using the web interface, you can select files or folders to download. Within Windows with OneDrive installed, you can simply copy-paste files where you want them or drag and drop. This feature is probably the best about OneDrive though. The ease of copy-pasting files can’t be matched. You can easily get the files where you need them and it doesn’t even feel like you’re accessing the cloud.
File download times for OneDrive are really fast. They also run in the background so you can keep using your computer while the files are transferring.
Security is a potential flaw for OneDrive. While other competitors like Google Drive use 128-bit AES encryption or better at rest to secure your files, OneDrive only encrypts its files at rest for its business clients. Home users are out of luck, and there is only encryption provided during the file transfer process.
This is a potential downfall for some. Still, others may not find they really have anything damning to back up, so it might not be a big deal. But you must be cautious, and it isn’t recommended to store anything with any personal information on OneDrive. The possibility of a compromise always exists.
As mentioned earlier in this OneDrive review, the coolest feature is the Office 365 bundle that is included in the higher-tier plans. OneDrive works in tandem with all of these Office apps, allowing you to easily save and load files to OneDrive right from the interface. There are also a wealth of collaboration features that come along with this. There is also file sharing included and the ability to back up photos and videos on mobile devices.
One of OneDrive’s greatest feats is how easy it is to stay in touch with your team’s progress even if they are not around. Thanks to Microsoft’s built-in Open Web Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, keeping up-to-date with your work is easy.
Furthermore, you don’t need to download a document in order to edit it or to make annotations. Just open up the document using the Web Office application, review it, edit it, hit save and OneDrive will take care of the rest.
OneDrive – Pros & Cons
This section of our review of what is OneDrive will take a look at everything discussed earlier and summarize it into simple pros and cons lists.
- The storage cost is very low.
- Integration into Windows makes usability very easy.
- Transfer speeds are very fast.
- The free plan only gives 5 GB.
- There is no at-rest encryption for home users.
OneDrive Alternative Options
Google Drive and OneDrive are almost identical if you download the Google Drive Sync app for PC, which integrates into Windows. It also has mobile apps and can back up photos and videos on mobile devices for free. Storage upgrades are almost the same cost as well. This one comes with better security though, utilizing 128-bit AES encryption for data kept on their servers.
Dropbox is another near comparison. Installing the app puts a sync folder into your PC that can be used to copy files over and keep them synced with the cloud. It also has mobile apps for backing up data and accessing your files on the go. Dropbox now encrypts files at rest using 256-bit AES encryption, so you can be assured your data is safe.
Tresorit is the same as all of the above options, except they put a real focus on security. Tresorit supports end-to-end encryption and encrypts their data at rest using top-of-the -line security. They also push 2-factor authentication on its users to protect their account. And use zero-knowledge encryption, letting users be in charge of their own encryption keys. This means even employees at Tresorit can’t access your files. But it does place a little more burden on the user.
OneDrive can be described as a powerful file sharing and storing tool. Due to its unbeatable price offers and its features, we can clearly state that OneDrive is among the most popular choices for cloud storage services.
As mentioned in this review about what is OneDrive, if you’re a Microsoft ecosystem devotee, the auto backup of files on phones and tablets and included Windows and Office integration are huge boons. If you’re already paying for Office, you’ve already got a lot of OneDrive storage anyway, so you may as well use it.
Just be cautious about storing sensitive information on OneDrive because your data is not encrypted on their servers. It’s also worth your while to use Microsoft Authenticator to add a 2-factor option. As always, our recommendation is to review your plan to see whether this cloud solution suits your needs or not.