Microsoft has long been a dominant force in the IT sector, so it’s no real surprise that its cloud platform, OneDrive, is one of the most popular on the market. Back in November, though, the company announced plans to introduce changes that will have a major effect on most users. It said it would scrap its unlimited-storage option for subscribers, cut the level of free storage from 15 GB to 5 GB and replace its 100 GB and 200 GB plans with a single 50 GB plan.
Users are now beginning to receive official notifications regarding the update, which comes into force on August 10 2016. So what is going on?
The company has been pretty open about the changes and why they’re happening. Microsoft effectively says it tried to be too generous at the start, claiming it “overcommitted” with its free storage limits. It seems the explosion of big data has exceeded even Microsoft’s expectations.
It promises that cutting back on the free cloud-space available, and by imposing new limits on its paid services, is the only way to ensure it continues to deliver the great cloud service everyone expects.
What’s going to happen?
Being good guys, Microsoft is giving users plenty of notice about the upcoming changes. If you’re over the limit that will soon apply to your account, now’s the time to begin reducing your data. Start by having a spring clean, getting rid of old files and photos that you no longer need. We’ve all got clutter in our clouds – now’s the perfect time to get rid.
If you still find you’re over the limit, you do have options.
Free users with more than 5GB of data will be offered a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal, which comes with a whole 1TB of storage – enough to keep approximately 1 million office documents or 330,000 images.
If you don’t claim this offer but are still determined not to pay any extra, you have the chance to ‘earn’ an extra 10 GB of storage by referring others to use OneDrive. To do this, they just need to sign up using a unique referral link found in the ‘Invite Friends’ section of your settings. You’ll get an extra 500 MB for every new user.
Failing that, it may be time to start paying. The upside of this, of course, is that 50 GB will be enough to store a lot more data. You no longer need to be so careful about what you upload!
…and if I still don’t act?
Those who don’t take the necessary steps and still retain too much data in their accounts will start receiving further notices.
Ninety days after the first notification, your files will become read-only. Then, after nine months, your account will become locked, meaning you won’t be able to access your files until you take action. From this point, you have six months before the account will be deleted.
Don’t say we (or rather Microsoft) didn’t warn you!