Overview of OneDrive

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated December 10, 2018)


OneDrive is Microsoft's offering of cloud storage. When you sign up, you can choose from several plans, ranging from the free Basic account (for 5 GB of storage) to a 50 GB plan (which costs $1.99/month) to Office 365 Personal (which offers 1 TB of storage plus premium services for $6.99/month, or $69.99 per year) to Office 365 Home (which, for $9.99/month, or $99.00 a year, offers 6 TB of storage plus premium services, and is available for five users).

The premium services available in the Office 365 plans include the following:

  • Increased Sharing Limit. This allows you to share your content with others and even includes sharing expiration.
  • Offline Folders. This lets you access your data from your mobile devices even if you're not online.
  • Multi-page Scan. This lets you use your phone to scan data into your OneDrive folder.
  • Files Restore. This lets you recover files from any point in time within the past 30 days.
  • Ransomware Detection and Recovery. This allows you to get alerts if Microsoft detects an attack and you can perform recovery of any compromised files within the last 30 days.

Combine my cheap nature with the fact that there are a lot of free cloud storage areas available (including those that let you share content), and you could safely come to the conclusion that I opted for the free Basic account. Having an extra 5 GB in the cloud that I can access from any online PC has proven to be quite handy. I put files on OneDrive that I want to access from both work and home; that way I don't have to hassle with copying them to a portable drive or even go through the process of using Dropbox to shuffle them back and forth.

To set up your OneDrive account, point your browser to  HYPERLINK "https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/plans/"  (obviously, this is for the English-US locale). You'll see the following screen: (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The OneDrive web page (premium plans).

Yes, the less-adorned plans are cut off to the right. To get to them, scroll down a bit until you see the horizontal scroll bar; then scroll over to the right and go back to the top of the page, at which time you'll see this: (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The OneDrive web page (storage-only plans).

From either figure, you can see that it's a simple matter of clicking the button for the plan you want. As mentioned, I clicked the "Sign up" button under the Basic plan, as I just use the free service for cloud-based file storage and for files I want to share among different PCs. Whichever plan you choose, you'll be led through a short wizard to get it established. You'll need to have a Microsoft account (i.e., one ending with ".live.com", ".hotmail.com", ".msn.com", etc.), so if you don't have one already, you might as well set it up now.

 This tip (13596) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...


Using File History

Backing up your data is an important part of computer management. Enabling File History is a painless way to be able to ...

Discover More

Hiding and Displaying the Volume Control

Whether it's to provide you with a bit more space on the taskbar or to simply remove a bit of "clutter" from the system ...

Discover More

Exporting a Portion of the Registry

Windows wouldn't function if it weren't for the Registry, and many system tweaks involve editing it. Before making such ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Fast Undistracted Web Reading

When using Microsoft Edge, focus on the reading of a webpage with Reader View. Reader View turns off the distractions of ...

Discover More

Remove Saved Passwords in Edge Chromium

Having Edge store password information can be a time saver and helpful. See how to remove saved passwords within Edge.

Discover More

Understanding IP Addresses

IP addresses are at the heart of computer networking. They are typically handled automatically, but you may find it ...

Discover More

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 3?

2018-12-15 23:00:43


Actually there is an argument to continue using both. A couple of people have recently reported losing large collection of photographs in OneDrive. Their accounts were hacked. Even after they got access back, the photos were gone. MS has told there there is no way to recover the missing files! to bad, so sad ...

So, if you only have these files in OneDrive, you are not safe from file loss. You need them backed up in at the very least one other location, preferably 2! So you could make Google Drive your second or third "backup" location.

2018-12-13 15:07:08


I use both OneDrive and Google Drive. I use the free versions of each, though, so I can't make a recommendation for anyone who's using either/both for a lot of storage.

2018-12-13 11:55:40


I use OneDrive and Google Drive. Is one better than the other? Should I quit using one and use the other exclusively? Thank you.

2018-12-12 08:49:44

Alison J Miller

Thank you Ron for your excellent answer to my question. I'll certainly check out those links you provided. Sharepoint was the other item I was going to research, as it comes up when I save a document, but I have no idea what it is or how it works.
Thanks again.

2018-12-10 14:06:42


>A really useful article would be one about how to connect to both OneDrive Business and Personal at the same time to be able to move files from one >to the other. I have not been able to find good documentation to do this. I have seen a suggestion that using the OneDrive app on Windows allows you >to make this connection, but I have not seen confirmation that it really works.

Thanks for the suggestion.

2018-12-10 14:02:43


OneDrive is intended primarily for "one person" (that applies to both the consumer and Business versions). The only one that seems to be setup for a partially shared experience is OneDrive associated with 365 Education. Each person does have the option of "sharing" documents or folders with other people. In OneDrive, right click on a file or folder, select Share, make sure "Edit" option is turned on (checkmarked) then use "Get a Link" to generate a link you can email to other people.

I think what you are looking for is the SharePoint service. It provides a shared network experience. Here is the wiki entry for it:

Here is the MS propaganda page:

Google for more info.

A really useful article would be one about how to connect to both OneDrive Business and Personal at the same time to be able to move files from one to the other. I have not been able to find good documentation to do this. I have seen a suggestion that using the OneDrive app on Windows allows you to make this connection, but I have not seen confirmation that it really works.

2018-12-10 10:10:58

Alison J Miller

We have Onedrive for 30 staff members. Each has their own 1TB account.
I'm trying to figure out how I can put all these accounts in a "master Onedrive" and use it like a shared drive. Specifically, we have a shared drive here at the office that I'm trying to stop using and get that on the Onedrive for all staff to use when they are offsite. Right now no one can use the shared drive offsite as we have to be connected directly to the network. Does anyone know how to do that? I've Googled, but I think because I'm not using the correct wording, I'm not getting much up to help. Thanks.

2018-12-10 08:24:14

Len Richards

There are many free online storage locations ... try Mega 50gb .... if you are going to offer tips add others be it Windows or not .... why would you not think to include other services even if they are not Windows or are you employed by Microsoft to hock their stuff only ... 5gb is basically useless compared to others, which you I repeat neglect to mention ... is this tips or not, who cares if the word Windows is in it. Tell subscribers about alternatives to improve your postings and make them more informative

2018-12-10 06:51:49


No much of an overview sadly, more an advert for Microsoft Onedrive.

Newest Tips