I’ve been using Microsoft OneDrive since its inception as SkyDrive years ago. I keep my personal pictures, documents, and even some music in consumer OneDrive and my business files in OneDrive for Business which is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 offering. Utilizing OneDrive allows access to my files from any device I have access to as long as I have access to the internet but over the years more features have been added that make OneDrive even more important to me. In this post, I’ll document some of these features and how they help me daily:
Backup/Recovery: I’ve always considered OneDrive a backup solution but recent features have been added that enhance this functionality. Version history has been available for a couple of years and was expanded in 2017 to cover all file types. This functionality allows you to recover a version of a file previously saved. More information on how to utilize version history can be found here.
The negative to using OneDrive as a backup has been the fact that if a file was deleted, or worse, a user was infected with a crypto virus, the file or files could not be restored. Recently, Microsoft has added snapshotting to OneDrive (both consumer and business) which allows users to restore their files from a previous date/time. More information on the consumer functionality can be found here and business here. This new functionality allows users to sync files to their local PC as needed and still be protected from ransomware. (Note: the consumer version requires a subscription to Home Office 365.)
OCR scanning functionality: Office Lens is a mobile application which is available free of charge on both IOS and Android that provides the ability to scan documents, business cards, and even whiteboards to the local device or OneDrive. Recently Microsoft has added this functionality to the mobile OneDrive applications also available on IOS and Android.
Music streaming: As mentioned above, I keep some of my local music collection in OneDrive. Doing this allows me to access and play this music via the Windows 10 Groove Music application.
File Sharing and Collaboration: Once files are stored in OneDrive, they can be shared with other OneDrive users. This can be done with an email, link, or even a password protected link. Once the files are shared, users with access to the files can then collaborate on them with Office webapps or desktop apps including co-authoring.
Windows 10 OneDrive integration: OneDrive consumer has been fairly integrated in Windows since at least Windows 7 but Windows 10 took it to a whole new level and now the business version is integrated. In addition to this integration, as of W10 1709 Microsoft added the ability to save space on your device with a feature called Files on Demand. This feature allows you to see the files stored in OneDrive and access them as you need them (requires internet access). Once the file is accessed, it will be synced and stored both locally and in OneDrive.
Recently Microsoft held its annual SharePoint conference and announced even more features for its business version of OneDrive, these new features are documented here.
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