My quick review of OneDrive – Microsoft cloud storage service

Switching to OneDrive from Google Drive
Quick review of OneDrive – the Microsoft cloud storage service

OneDrive was previously called Sky Drive but that’s beside the point. Using a cloud storage service once used to be just a way of experimenting with different technologies but now storing your images, music, videos and all sorts of documents in a cloud drive is as normal as storing them on your local hard drive. For many years I have used Dropbox. I never upgraded to their premium account because there was no need. Somehow many people had subscribed to the service through me and this is how I had accumulated lots of space in Dropbox (they add 500 MB to your account if someone starts using Dropbox through your recommendation).

Then I don’t remember why I started using Google Drive. I even upgraded to their paid subscription. Along with Dropbox I used it for many years. But as the size of my files increased, I needed more space. I don’t like the Dropbox subscription model: you are either free or for 1 TB of space, you need to subscribe to a $ 9.99 package. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to need 1 TB of space in the next five years. I needed something around 200-300 GB.

Of late I have been generating lots of PDFs as I am storing my Hindustani Classical Music notes out of the six volumes of Hindustani Sangeet Kramik Pustak Malika by Vishnu Digambat Bhatkande. I was facing some problem with Google Drive because on my tablet I wasn’t able to open the PDFs whenever I saved them in Google Drive. But this problem was not there in Dropbox. Dropbox integrates quite well with lots of apps for PC as well as mobile phones – this is something they have been doing quite nicely. The problem was even not there in OneDrive.

In this blog post I have explained why I opted for MS Office 365 – my usage of OneDrive was one of the primary reasons. That was my general review of MS Office 365. This is my review of OneDrive, the Microsoft cloud storage service that is being provided along with the subscription of MS Office 365 or maybe also as standalone cloud storage service (I haven’t explored that). Many businesses have a desire to implement more cloud-based functionality into their existing Office suite applications. To do this, products and services from the likes of Bamboo Solutions are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and organizations looking to streamline and improve their operations while also seeking to make the most of their existing technology and software with supplementary capabilities.

Quick review of OneDrive

So far I haven’t been happy with OneDrive. I mean, I’m not saying the problem is so grave that I’m not using the service, but it is quite buggy. It isn’t as seamless as Dropbox or Google Drive. All the time when you’re using it, especially when you have used Dropbox and Google Drive for some time, OneDrive feels like a service from a smaller company that still needs to work with many bugs. It actually feels like one of those Apple software applications made for non-tech-savvy people.

For example, I was unable to change the default location of the OneDrive folder. By default, the OneDrive folder is created on the drive where the Windows operating system is installed, in most of the cases, the C drive. Because it is installed with the operating system and not separately, during the installation there is no way of deciding exactly on which drive you would like OneDrive to create the folder. With both Dropbox and Google Drive you can do this. While installing the cloud storage management interface on your computer, both Dropbox and Google Drive ask you where you would like to create the folder. Even after you have created the folder on the C drive, you can very easily change the location later on.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with OneDrive, or at least, I haven’t been able to do it. Multiple times I have tried to change the default location of the OneDrive folder and it has caused problems for me. The application simply stops syncing files. To my great alarm, once I had transferred all the files from Dropbox and Google Drive to OneDrive and then changed the location, it deleted all the contents of the folder. Fortunately, I hadn’t deleted my files in the original Dropbox and Google Drive folders. This was perhaps one indication that I should have stopped using OneDrive there and then, but I didn’t, maybe because I still had my original files so the blow was not very hard.

The web interface does not have a search box! Can you imagine that? Dropbox has it. Google Drive has it. But when you use the web-based OneDrive interface, there is no search box to look for your file. Or if it has one, I couldn’t find it, at least not as easily as I could find on Dropbox and Google Drive.

There is some problem with the syncing, especially on my Xiaomi Mi Pad. It is working fine on my daughter’s iPad Air. It seems to be working fine on my HTC Desire phone. But on my Mi Pad the OneDrive folders simply refuse to load in their entirety.

Another nag is, when you are uploading stuff manually from your mobile phone, each time when you try to upload the file through the Share button of the mobile phone, OneDrive goes to the root folder instead of the folder where the file was uploaded just a few seconds ago. So whenever you want to upload the next file, you again have to navigate all the way to the folder where you are manually uploading the files. In both Dropbox and Google Drive, the previously selected folder is always there when you are uploading the next file.

Instead of being a review it seems like a rant but these are the sort of problems I have been facing ever since I started using OneDrive. You may not notice these problems if OneDrive is the only cloud storage service you have ever used. But if you have seriously used cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive on a day-to-day basis, on multiple devices, you will have a lot to complain about OneDrive. Microsoft seriously needs to focus on reworking the interface if they really want to compete with Dropbox and Google Drive. Right now the only advantage of using OneDrive is that it comes free of cost with the MS Office 365 subscription.

About Amrit Hallan
Amrit Hallan is the founder of TechBakBak.com. He writes about technology not because "he loves to write about technology", he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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