Office 365 – OneDrive to store and share files

OneDrive from Microsoft

Do we recommend OneDrive to our clients and users? We continue to use and test OneDrive.  It has definite quirks and problems.  While all software or computer tools have problems, this one is very important to NOT have problems.  Thus we are not sure yet whether we recommend it to business clients.  For home users, it’s a reasonable option if you are primarily a Windows user for your computer.

You can login for OneDrive at the Microsoft web site or access your OneDrive files through a client on your Windows computer (OneDrive Personal and Business).  On your Mac, you an only access OneDrive Personal files with a client (why they have the client for personal and not for business is beyond me at this time).

OneDrive is Microsoft’s option for us to use for storing files on the internet (‘in the cloud’).  There are two versions – Personal and Business.  Personal is used with your MSN, Hotmail or Outlook email account.  Business is used with an Office 365 account.

You can compare it to Dropbox or Box as examples for what Microsoft is trying to do with the product.  So far however, the personal version of OneDrive seems to be working more successfully than the OneDrive for Business version (take a brief OneDrive tour by clicking here).  It’s as if the product isn’t something Microsoft is really interested in having become a huge success – it’s just, well, there for us to use – at our own risk.

Problem areas to know about with OneDrive

  1. Closing the software – Users tend to close the software since it can, at times, completely consume the computer processing (something you don’t see with DropBox or Box).
  2. Synchronizing not working – Since the software can stop working and provides little if any alerts, the user must be trained to routinely check to ensure it is synchronizing.  If synchronizing fails and the user continues to update their data (from the OneDrive folder – the most likely way of updating files), you can LOSE YOUR UPDATES.
  3. Not ready for business – while the personal version seems to work most of the time, I’m not confident in it’s ability to protect me.  DropBox and Box just seem to work and not have issues.  I can only surmise that Microsoft isn’t interested in this as much as they should be and while they have a solution for Business, it’s not a great one.  Unless they resolve the problems with OneDrive for Business, it won’t go far.
  4. Easy to lose updates or data – users are working and changing files all day.  They rely on their computer to work and alert them if it’s not working.  OneDrive for Business does not alert the user to problems – they have to look for them.  This is a pathetic approach to user intervention and will be bad for users some day.
  5. Backup your OneDrive data yourself – this sounds ridiculous, but I had OneDrive for business develop a synchronization issue.  I was still able to update my files on my local hard drive WITHOUT ISSUE.   It took 3 weeks to finally call Microsoft about it.  They proceeded to remote in to my computer and corrected the problem – but during the process I lost 3 weeks of file updates.  They told me over and over again that I would lose NOTHING.  Some how though, they deleted my local updates – which included 3 weeks of billing/invoicing for my IT clients.  Thus, if I were backing up those files to a local hard drive (again, ridiculous), I would have been able to recover my updates.

To share files and have them work or appear in the OneDrive client on a Windows computer:

Sharing documents or folders in OneDrive

If you’re having problems, try the steps here for OneDrive troubleshooting.

Problem – when sharing folders, run into issues with ‘Limited access lockdown mode’ – as in, it won’t let you share folders with this setting enabled.

Talking with Microsoft support, got the following:

Regarding the “Limited access lockdown mode”, it is safe to disable this feature provided that the files/folders that you will be sharing will be set to ” Share with everyone except External Users.”
This setting will allow members of the account to have acess to the files that you are sharing.
Also, on the same page where you can set the the sharing, you will also have the option if you want to allow them to “EDIT” or just ” View.”

OneDrive Personal – Findings and helpful tips

3/11/2015 – An update to OneDrive was installed on my iMac.  After the installation I had to setup OneDrive again (as if it were being installed for the first time – annoying).  It asked me where my OneDrive files were located.  Once I selected the location, the software informed me that the information would be ‘merged’ – most likely everything would be duplicated.
The problem with merging is duplication – very difficult to clean up afterwards.  The problem with not merging is the loss of all file updates since the last time OneDrive synchronized.