What is Microsoft OneDrive?

Microsoft OneDrive is the cloud storage platform offered by Microsoft to provide a safe and secure storage facility for all your files in a single place. This service enables you to access files in OneDrive remotely from anywhere in the world. 

The OneDrive service can be considered to be an online version of your external drive. The only difference is that files stored here are available across the internet. With Microsoft OneDrive, users also get some extra features such as the flexibility to operate across multiple platforms and devices. 

With OneDrive, content sharing across different devices becomes child’s play. So, whether it’s convenience, security, privacy, or data integrity, features that Microsoft OneDrive offers are industry-leading.

This cloud storage functions similarly to the common external drive, with the only difference being its availability through the internet and the presence of some additional features. 

For example, since OneDrive lets you work from multiple devices and platforms, it gives you the unique functionality of creating a file on one device and resuming your work after you have left off on another device like a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or even a smartphone. 

Thus, it saves you the trouble of having to transfer content to a USB Drive or emailing it to yourself. This omission of the extra steps makes OneDrive convenient and hassle-free. 

Additionally, OneDrive ensures smooth sharing of the content with other people/devices. Hence, it can also be used for real-time collaborative work by deploying the Microsoft 365 integration feature. 

OneDrive is the cloud storage platform where you can store all your files securely in one place. This is great for backing up your important data. You can access these files from virtually anywhere in the world. If you choose to use a Windows 10 enabled device, the OneDrive experience gets more awesome for you as you get to access even more features. 

If you have a Microsoft account on your computer, you have the option to synchronize and align your system preferences and settings across your devices. Files On-Demand, which is another noteworthy feature lets you access all your files without even downloading them. 

It achieves this by locally storing your files. As the original data is stored in the cloud, you have the capability of using it as a mechanism for data recovery in case your computer/device gets lost or damaged.

Talking about storage capacity, OneDrive offers, as of September 2021, 5 GB of free storage for new users. If a user wants additional storage, they have to pay for it. 

Let us discuss some of the other features of OneDrive:


In the beginning, OneDrive didn’t include the functionality of storing previous versions of files, unless they were in Microsoft Office formats. However, this changed in July 2017. Microsoft OneDrive announced the introduction of this feature of providing version history support for older versions of files for up to 30 days.

Recycle bin

OneDrive has a “recycle bin” feature that stores all the deleted files of the user. The best part is this recycle bin memory is not counted as part of your storage allocation. If you accidentally delete some files, these deleted files can be easily recovered.

Facility to download as ZIP files

OneDrive has a special feature where you can download complete folders as a single compressed file. There is a limit of 15 GB for single use. While the total ZIP file size limit is 20 GB, up to 10,000 files can be included in one ZIP file.

Files On-Demand            

This feature is only available to Windows 10 users. Under this unique feature, OneDrive utilizes Files On-Demand, wherein files synchronized with OneDrive are visible in the file listings without needing any disk space. When the user needs to access the content on file, the file gets downloaded in the background.


OneDrive lets users integrate their Microsoft Office documents (Excel, Powerpoint and Word) into web pages. With these embedded documents, anyone visiting the web pages can interact with the documents, and engage in activities like browsing an embedded PowerPoint slideshow or performing calculations in an embedded Excel spreadsheet. 

Additionally, Microsoft has released a set of API’s for OneDrive to enable developers to develop client apps and web services taking advantage of OneDrive’s cloud storage. This enables users of these apps to browse, upload, view, or edit files stored on OneDrive. 

A software development kit (SDK) is available for .NET Framework, Python, iOS, Android, and with a limited set of APIs for web apps and Windows.

Privacy concerns

Microsoft has the right to monitor data stored on OneDrive. Data stored on OneDrive is subject to monitoring by Microsoft, and any content If any data is found to be in violation of Microsoft’s Code of Conduct may be removed, and the concerned account may even be permanently banned. This has created privacy concerns regarding data stored on OneDrive.

OneDrive for Business

There is also another version of OneDrive introduced for business enterprises. This service is called OneDrive for Business. Though unrelated to OneDrive for personal storage, OneDrive for Business is similar to cloud storage for business users. 

This service is a replacement for the SharePoint workspace used earlier. The physical medium where the information gets stored can alternatively be hosted on-premises or purchased as a Microsoft service subscription.

So be it data safety and privacy, or ease of use, few cloud storage platforms come close to beating Microsoft OneDrive. Hence, users can, without a doubt, start using Microsoft OneDrive to fulfill all their cloud storage needs. Where else you can find so many features in a cloud storage platform? 

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