OneDrive and OneDrive for Business review

It's tied into the Microsoft ecosystem but can it ever rival Dropbox?

Overall Score 
Tightly integrated with Microsoft Office 365; generous storage limits
Slower speed than Dropbox; not so ubiquitous
Only if you or your company are wedded to Microsoft’s other software – which of course many are – does OneDrive make a compelling case.
15GB for free; 100GB for £1.99 per month; or 200GB for £3.99 per month.

Microsoft’s cloud storage service has been through many different iterations, but it’s now clear that OneDrive (and to a lesser extent OneDrive for Business) is becoming a key component of Windows. Deeply embedded into the operating system, Microsoft clearly wants us to store all our documents, music and photos in OneDrive, and is handing out generous amounts of storage to help us do so. But can it be trusted? Is it fast enough? And does it have the features and performance to match rivals such as Dropbox?

This review is split into two parts, first covering OneDrive then OneDrive for Business. Although they share the same name, these are two unique services, based on different technology that serve different purposes. They can even be run alongside one another. Here, then, is our verdict on each.


OneDrive has been baked into Windows since the launch of Windows 8. If you sign into the operating system with a Microsoft account, OneDrive folders will appear in Windows Explorer alongside local Documents, Photos and Videos folders – it could barely be less hassle to set up. Those running on Windows 7 will need to download the free OneDrive app [] to achieve the same effect, but older versions of Windows are no longer supported.

OneDrive on Windows 8 is pretty smart about what it syncs. Recognising that some Windows 8 devices – such as compact tablets – have limited storage, Microsoft doesn’t automatically create local copies of every file in a user’s OneDrive. Instead, it creates “placeholders” for files it doesn’t have room to store locally. These placeholder files are still searchable and appear in Windows Explorer as any other file would, but they are downloaded on demand when the user wants them, which means you need an active internet connection to open many of the files in your OneDrive.

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