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Microsoft OneDrive review: Most affordable cloud storage, plus Office

Onedrive-ikonImage: Foundry

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

AffordableLots of spaceExtra family subscription can be utilised for backup

Cons

Third party software needed to use for backup

Our Verdict

OneDrive, as part of Microsoft 365, is the most affordable cloud storage service on the market, and with a bit of tweaking you can utilize all six terabytes you get with the family plan. Sync isn’t quite as good as Dropbox, but it’ll do for most things.

Price When Reviewed

$1.99 month (100GB) | $6.99 month (1TB) | $9.99 month (Family, 6x1TB)

Best Prices Today: Microsoft Office 365 Home

RetailerPriceMicrosoft$1.99View DealAmazon$69.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Microsoft’s cloud storage service is called OneDrive, and if you’re running Windows 10 or 11, you’ll have noticed that the company is very keen for you to use it. It would be easy to think that as a first-party program it would be best in class on Windows, but that’s not necessarily the case. In the basic functions of syncing and sharing folders and files, Google Drive is almost as good, and Dropbox is still better on a technical level.

But OneDrive is good enough, and if you’re one of the millions of people who want to use Microsoft Office, it’s by far the most affordable option. In fact, if you subscribe to Office, OneDrive can basically be counted as part of the package.

Cheap, cheaper, OneDrive

Every OneDrive users gets 15 GB of free storage, while premium accounts that offer 100 GB and 1 TB of cloud storage costs $1.99 and $6.99 per month, respectively. That’s excellent pricing. A family subscription to Microsoft 365 costs $9.99 per month and gives you up to six accounts, each with a terabyte of space. What’s more, there’s nothing to stop you from creating more than one account for yourself and using the extra accounts with third-party programs, such as backups. I personally have two accounts and use one solely for backing up my computer (I use the Arq Backup but it works just as well with Duplicati or Duplicacy).

Should you still pay for Office, you get several terabytes of storage for free, or looking at it the other way round: For about the same price as the competitors, you get all of Office for free alongside Microsoft’s cloud storage. Outstanding.

Smart sync

Similar to Dropbox but unlike Google Drive and the Windows version of iCloud Drive, OneDrive uses so-called block-level copying. This means that if you make changes to a large file, OneDrive only needs to upload the changed bits and not the whole file again. Depending on how you use your computer, this can make a big difference in sync speed — or hardly any.

OneDrive has a setting to hide and not sync selected folders to a drive, which is handy if you have a large folder on one computer that you don’t need access to on another. Open OneDrive settings, select Account on the left and then Select folders to set which ones will be available in the OneDrive folder.

On top of that, OneDrive can also offload folders and individual files from your computer so that they are only stored in the cloud, but can be retrieved if you want to access the content. In Windows Explorer, you can see whether a folder or file is local or cloud-only via a small icon in the Status-column: Blue cloud for only in the cloud, green tick for also stored locally. Right-click and select Always keep on this drive or Free up space to choose whether or not to keep the item on your computer for offline access.

Right-clicking also brings up an OneDrive submenu where you’ll find options for sharing, changing permissions, viewing version history and more. You can download older versions directly from the version history here and do not need to open OneDrive in the browser.

Facts:

Tested: 2023
Manufacturer: Microsoft
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, IOS
Free account space: 5 GB
Storage space: 5 GB, 100 GB, 1 TB, 6 x 1 TB
Monthly price: Free, $1.99, $6.99, $9.99
Synchronization of optional files and folders: Yes
Family sharing: Family subscription provides a 1TB account each for up to six family members
Backup function: No, but can be used with third-party software
File history: Yes (25 previous versions, 30 days for deleted files)
Other features: Office applications included in the same subscription, Microsoft Defender for mobile phones

This review originally appeared on pcforallse and was translated from Swedish to English.

Best Prices Today: Microsoft Office 365 Home

RetailerPriceMicrosoft$1.99View DealAmazon$69.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

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Recent stories by Anders Lundberg:

iCloud Drive review: Cloud storage for Apple usersDropbox review: Still the best at syncing and sharingGoogle Drive review: Solid cloud storage, but the settings can be confusing

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