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Microsoft Reduces OneDrive Storage Limit for Free and Paid Users

OneDrive Storage Limit

Microsoft has announced some major changes in their OneDrive Storage limit. These changes affect both free and paid subscribers of OneDrive and Office 365. The new storage limits will be applicable to current and new users. Microsoft has decided to reduce OneDrive storage limit from 15 GB to 5 GB for free users. Paid OneDrive subscriptions will also see changes in storage provided to them. More importantly, Microsoft has decided to drop unlimited storage options for Office 365 subscribers.

The reason for this sudden change has been explained by Microsoft in an entry posted on OneDrive blog. In very first paragraph of the article, the reason is made very clear: Abuse of storage. According to the details posted in the article, there were a number of users who started storing huge amount of data on OneDrive. The users of unlimited plans backed up their PC and dumped entire movie collection which exceeded 75 TB per user.

Update: This decision left users frustrated for obvious reasons. Microsoft has decided not to decrease OneDrive storage for free users, only if you claim now.

Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 TB per user or 14,000 times the average.

Microsoft will no longer offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. These subscribers will get 1TB of storage instead. Free OneDrive storage is also being decreased from 15 GB to 5 GB per user. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued.

The changes in OneDrive storage limit are as follows:
  • No more unlimited storage for Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. All current and new subscribers will get 1 TB of storage.
  • 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans are going away as an option for new users and will be replaced with a 50 GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  • Free OneDrive storage limit will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all current and new users. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued. These changes will start rolling out in early 2016.
Here’s how these changes will take place:
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1 TB, you will be notified of this change and will be able to keep your increased storage for at least 12 months.
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and find that Office 365 no longer meets your needs, a pro-rated refund will be given.
  • If you are using more than 5 GB of free storage, you will continue to have access to all files for at least 12 months after these changes go into effect in early 2016. In addition, you can redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription (credit card required), which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.
  • Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.
What will happen to data if a user is above the new storage limits?
  • Users will be notified and will have 90 days’ notice to take action before their account will become read-only.
  • If a user is over quota after the 90 days, he/she will still have access to files for 9 months. Files can viewed and downloaded. However, the user will not be able to add new content.
  • If after 9 months and a user is still over quota, his/her account will be locked. Which means that they will not be able to access the content in until they take action.
  • Users’ data may be deleted if they fail to take action after 1 year.
Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscriber with unlimited storage will be affected in following way:
  • If you are an Office 365 consumer subscriber and have stored in excess of 1 TB, you will be notified of this change and will be able to keep your increased storage for at least 12 months starting on November 2, 2015.
  • After that period, your account will become read-only, but you will still have access to your files for at least 6 months. You can view and download your files, but will not be able to add new files.
  • If you are still over quota after that time, your account will be locked. That means that you will not be able to access the content in your OneDrive until you take action.
  • If after 1 year you fail to take action, your content may be deleted.

Any user who has earned storage as part of a promotion will not be affected by these changes.

Microsoft first attracted users to use OneDrive as a way to backup their camera roll and free up space on their smartphone. They provided 15 GB additional storage to anyone who used OneDrive to dump their photos which gave a total of 30 GB of free storage. Well, not any more. In the race of attracting more and more users towards cloud services, there comes a time when such decisions need to be taken. In such situation where users start abusing the storage given, it becomes hard for any service provider to maintain the data. Microsoft’s decision is not surprising, especially the decision to stop providing unlimited storage.

Unlimited never meant ‘unlimited’ anyway, did it?

I have around 14 MB storage on OneDrive. At least I’m not affected by the change. Do you use OneDrive? How much data do you have on OneDrive? What are your thoughts on this change? Feel free to comment.

Update: This decision left users frustrated for obvious reasons. Microsoft has decided not to decrease OneDrive storage for free users, only if you claim now.

Read more on Microsoft OneDrive blog.

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