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OneDrive logo.svg
OneDrive screenshot.png
OneDrive, as it appears in a web browser
Type of siteFile hosting service
Available in107 languages; see § Internationalization
LaunchedAugust 1, 2007; 7 years ago (2007-08-01)
  (Redirected from Windows Live SkyDrive)
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OneDrive logo.svg
OneDrive screenshot.png
OneDrive, as it appears in a web browser
Type of siteFile hosting service
Available in107 languages; see § Internationalization
LaunchedAugust 1, 2007; 7 years ago (2007-08-01)

OneDrive (previously SkyDrive, Windows Live SkyDrive and Windows Live Folders) is a file hosting service that allows users to upload and sync files to a cloud storage and then access them from a Web browser or their local device. It is part of the suite of online services formerly known as Windows Live and allows users to keep the files private, share them with contacts, or make the files public. Publicly shared files do not require a Microsoft account to access.

In addition to personal cloud storage, Microsoft offers managed business storage as OneDrive for Business.[1]


Windows Live Folders logo
Logo as "SkyDrive"

At its launch the service, known as Windows Live Folders at the time (with a codename of SkyDrive), was provided as a limited beta available to a few testers in the United States.[2] On August 1, 2007, the service was expanded to a wider audience. Shortly after, on August 9, 2007 the service was renamed Windows Live SkyDrive and made available to testers in the United Kingdom and India.[3] As of 22 May 2008 SkyDrive was available to 62 countries and regions.[4][5] On December 2, 2008, the capacity of an individual SkyDrive account was upgraded from 5 GB to 25 GB, and Microsoft added a separate entry point called Windows Live Photos which allowed users to access their photos and videos stored on SkyDrive. This entry point allowed users to add "People tags" to their photos, download photos into Windows Photo Gallery or as a ZIP file, as well as viewing Exif metadata such as camera information for the photos uploaded. Microsoft also added the ability to have full-screen slide shows for photos using Silverlight.

SkyDrive was updated to "Wave 4" release on June 7, 2010, and added the ability to work with Office Web Apps (now known as Office Online), with versioning. In this update, due to the discontinuation of Windows Live Toolbar, the ability to synchronise and share bookmarked Web links between users via SkyDrive has also been discontinued. However, users were still able to use Windows Live Mesh, which replaced the previous Windows Live Favorites, to synchronize their favorites between computers until its discontinuation in February 2013.[6]

In June 2010, users of Office Live Workspace, released in October 2007,[7] were migrated to Windows Live Office. The migration included all existing workspaces, documents, and sharing permissions.[8] The merger of the two services is a result of Microsoft's decision to merge its Office Live team into Windows Live back in January 2009,[9] as well as several deficiencies with Office Live Workspace, which lacked high fidelity document viewing and did not allow files to be edited from within the web browser.[10] Office Live Workspace also did not offer offline collaboration and co-authoring functionality – instead documents were "checked out" and "checked in," though the service did integrate with SharedView for real-time screen sharing.

On June 20, 2011, Microsoft overhauled the user interface for SkyDrive, built using HTML5 technologies. The updated featured caching, hardware acceleration, HTML5 video, quick views, cleaner arrangement of photos and infinite scrolling. Microsoft also doubled the file size limit from 50 MB to 100 MB per file. With this update, Microsoft consolidated the different entry points for SkyDrive, such as Windows Live Photos and Windows Live Office, into one single interface. Files and folders shared with a user, including those in Windows Live Groups are also accessible in the new interface.[11] On November 29, 2011, Microsoft updated SkyDrive to make sharing and file management easier, as well as HTML5 and other updates. This update also allowed users to see how much storage they had (and how much they had used), a feature that had been removed in the previous update as part of the redesign.[12]

On December 3, 2011, Microsoft released a SkyDrive for iOS app, and a SkyDrive for Windows Phone app, which are available in the App Store and Windows Phone Marketplace respectively. On April 22, 2012, Microsoft released a SkyDrive desktop app for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and OS X users which allows them to synchronize files on SkyDrive, much like Windows Live Mesh, as well as allowing users to "fetch" files on their computer via the web browser. In addition, SkyDrive also provided additional storage available for purchase, and reduced the free storage space for new users to 7 GB (from 25 GB). Existing users were offered a free upgrade offer to retain their 25 GB of free storage. The updated SkyDrive also allows files up to 2 GB in size (uploaded via the SkyDrive desktop app).[13] The update also brought additional features such as Open Document Format (ODF) capability, URL shortening services, and direct sharing of files to Twitter.

On August 14, 2012, Microsoft announced a new update for SkyDrive which brought changes and improvements to, SkyDrive for Windows desktop and OS X, and the SkyDrive API as part of Live Connect. For, the updates brought a new "modern" design for the web service consistent with, and along with the UI update the service also received improvements such as instant search, contextual toolbar, multi-select in thumbnail view, drag-and-drop files into folders, and sorting improvements. For the SkyDrive for Windows desktop and OS X applications, the update brought new performance improvements to photo uploads and the sync experience. The update also improved the SkyDrive API with the removal of file type restrictions, ability to upload images in their full resolution, as well as a new SkyDrive file picker for opening and saving files.[14] On August 28, 2012, Microsoft released a SkyDrive app for Android on Google Play store.[15] On September 18, 2012, Microsoft also introduced a recycle bin feature on SkyDrive and announced that SkyDrive will allow the user to create online surveys via Excel Web App.[16]

Microsoft became involved in a lawsuit with British television broadcaster BSkyB for having the word "Sky" within its name, resulting in a High Court ruling in June 2013 that the service's brand breached BSkyB's trademark.[17] On July 31, 2013 in a joint press release between BSkyB and Microsoft it was announced that a settlement had been reached and as a result the SkyDrive name would be dropped. BSkyB allowed Microsoft to continue using the brand "for a reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand".[18] On January 27, 2014, Microsoft announced that "SkyDrive" and "SkyDrive Pro" (an unrelated service affected by the court ruling) would become, respectively, "OneDrive" and "OneDrive for Business".[19][20] The re-branding took effect across most platforms on February 19, 2014.[21]



The service offers 15 GB of free storage for new users.[22] Additional storage is available for purchase.[23]

Initially, the service provided only 7 GB of storage and, for one year, an additional 3 GB of free storage to students.[24] Users who signed up to OneDrive prior to April 22, 2012 could have opted-in for a limited time offer of 25 GB of free storage upgrade. The service is built using HTML5 technologies,[11] and files up to 300 MB can be uploaded via drag and drop into the web browser,[25] or up to 10 GB via OneDrive desktop application for Microsoft Windows and OS X.[26] From September 23, 2013 onwards, in addition to 7 GB of free storage (or 25 GB for users eligible for the free upgrade), power users who required more storage could choose one of the four premium storage plans.[27]

Depending on the markets, users may need to have a certain credit card or PayPal account to pay.[28] The paid storage plan will be renewed automatically each year unless Microsoft or the user cancels the service. When the user cancels the service before the term ends, the service will remain active until the end of the term.[29] In effect, the user is not canceling the service, but rather the automatic renewal.

Upon the re-launch as OneDrive, monthly payment plans, along with the ability to earn up to 5 GB of free storage for referring new users to OneDrive (500 MB each), and 3 GB if users enable automatic uploads of photos using the OneDrive mobile apps on smartphones, were introduced.[21] Subscribers to Office 365's home-oriented plans also receive additional storage for use with the service, with 20 GB per user.[30]

In June 2014, it was announced that OneDrive's default storage would increase to 15 GB—putting it in line with the amount of storage offered by its competitor Google Drive. The amount of additional storage for Office 365 subscribers also increased to 1 TB.[30] Microsoft also lowered the price of OneDrive storage subscriptions at that time.

Recycle bin[edit]

When users delete any files on OneDrive, the service will allow the user to undo the action and restore the deleted file from the recycle bin back to the original folder. Items in the recycle bin do not count against the user's OneDrive storage limit. All items stored in the recycle bin are kept for a minimum of 3 days and a maximum of 60 days. If the content in a user's recycle bin exceeds 10% of the user's storage limit (e.g. 0.7GB for a user with a total of 7GB OneDrive storage limit), OneDrive will delete the oldest content from the recycle bin (provided that the files have been in the recycle bin for at least 3 days).[16]

Download as ZIP file[edit]

Entire folders can be downloaded as a single .zip file with OneDrive. For a single download, there is a limit of 4GB or 65,000 files (whichever comes first).


Office Online[edit]

Microsoft added Office Online (known at the time as Office Web Apps) capability to OneDrive in its "Wave 4" update allowing users to upload, create, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents directly within a Web browser. Users can create, view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents within the Web browser. In addition, Office Online also allow multiple users to simultaneously co-author Excel directly within the web browser, and co-author OneNote documents with another web user or the desktop application. Users can also view the version history of Office documents stored on OneDrive.[31]


OneDrive allows one to view Portable Document Format (PDF)[32] as well as Open Document Format (ODF), an XML-based file format that a number of word processing apps can use, including Microsoft Office,, and Corel's WordPerfect.[33] OneDrive's search function does not allow search within PDF documents, however.[citation needed]

Plain text editing[edit]

OneDrive includes an online text editor that allows users to view and edit files in plain text format such as text files and batch files. Syntax highlighting is available for C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, Windows PowerShell, CSS and HTML files. This online editor includes a find and replace feature, and a way to manage file merging conflicts.[34][35]

Photos and videos[edit]

OneDrive can use geo-location data for photos uploaded onto the service, and will automatically display a map of the tagged location. OneDrive also allows users to tag people on the photos uploaded onto the service via the web interface or via Windows Photo Gallery.

Photos uploaded onto OneDrive can be played as an automatic slideshow.

Client applications[edit]

OneDrive client
SkyDrive app (Windows 8).png
SkyDrive Metro-style app running on Windows 8
Stable release


  • Android:
    2.6.2 (15 July 2014; 3 months ago (2014-07-15)) [±][15]
  • BlackBerry 10: (4 March 2014; 7 months ago (2014-03-04)) [±][36]
  • iOS:
    4.1 (19 February 2014; 7 months ago (2014-02-19)) [±][37]
  • OS X:
    17.0.4036 (7 April 2014; 6 months ago (2014-04-07)) [±][38]
  • Windows (desktop):
    17.3.1171.0714 (1 September 2014; 45 days ago (2014-09-01)[39]
  • Windows (Metro-style):
    6.3.9600.17042 (April 2014; 6 months ago (2014-04)) [±]
  • Windows Phone: (14 March 2014; 6 months ago (2014-03-14)) [±][40]
  • Xbox 360:
    11 November 2013; 10 months ago (2013-11-11)[41]) [±]
TypeFile manager, file synchronization

Microsoft has released OneDrive client applications for Android,[15] iOS,[42] Windows 8,[28][43] Windows Phone[42] Xbox 360,[44] and Xbox One[21] that allow users to browse, view and organize files stored on their OneDrive cloud storage. In addition, Microsoft also released desktop applications for Microsoft Windows (Vista and later) and OS X (Lion and later)[45] that allow users to synchronize their entire OneDrive storage with their computers for offline access, and synchronization of files and folders between multiple computers.[46] The OneDrive desktop client for Windows allows users to "fetch" the contents of their PCs via the web browser, provided the user enabled this option; OS X users can fetch from a PC, but not vice versa. The Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 8 versions also allow camera photos to automatically be uploaded to OneDrive.[21] Upon the re-branding as OneDrive, the Xbox One app also added achievements.[47]

In addition to the mentioned client apps, OneDrive integrates Windows 8.1 and later, Microsoft Office 2010 and later, as well as the Office and Photos hub in Windows Phone, enabling users to access documents, access photos and videos stored on their OneDrive. Windows 8.1 can sync user settings and files, through either the included SkyDrive app (whose name was later changed to OneDrive with an update[48]) or File Explorer, deprecating the previous desktop client. Along with the use of reparse points, these changes allow files to be accessed directly from OneDrive as if they are stored locally. The OneDrive app was also updated to include a local file manager. Unlike Windows 8, OneDrive use on 8.1 requires the user's Windows account be linked to a Microsoft account; the previous OneDrive desktop client (which did not have this requirement) no longer works on 8.1. Additionally, the Fetch feature does not work on Windows 8.1.[21][46][49][50]

Integration with Microsoft Office[edit]

Users of recent versions of Microsoft Office (for Microsoft Windows or OS X) can use the desktop applications to simultaneously edit the same section of documents stored on OneDrive. Changes are synchronized when users save the document, and where conflicts occur, the saving user can choose which version to keep.[51] This allows for collaborative real-time editing with multiple users. Multiple users can also use several different desktop and web programs to edit the same document.

Microsoft OneNote users can sync one or more of their Notebooks located on Windows hard drives using OneDrive. Once a Notebook is selected in the OneNote File tab to Share on Web or Network, OneDrive copies the Notebook from the user's hard drive to the OneDrive server, and that server copy then becomes the original for all future changes made on the PC or any other remote device that accesses it. The originating copy remains on the user's hard drive but is no longer updated by OneNote. To cease syncing and using OneDrive for the Notebook, the user retrieves the Notebook from OneDrive by viewing the Notebook Properties, and Changing Location from "…" back to their local hard drive. However, unpredictable results occur, including a crash of the OneNote app and loss of Notebook data, if the folder containing the returned Notebook sections is not renamed prior to the return of the sync'd Notebook folder which will be written by OneDrive to the selected location with its original name. Under such circumstances, re-sharing the Notebook to OneDrive may result in recovery of the lost data.


OneDrive allows users to embed their Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) onto other web pages. These embedded documents allow anyone who visits these web pages to interact with them, such as browsing an embedded PowerPoint slideshow, or perform calculations within an embedded Excel spreadsheet. In addition, Microsoft has released a set of APIs for OneDrive via Live Connect to enable developers to develop web services and client apps utilizing OneDrive's cloud storage.[52] This allows users of these web services and client apps to browse, view, upload or edit files stored on OneDrive. Currently a software development kit (SDK) is available for web developers and developers of Windows 8 style apps, Windows Phone, iOS and Android.[53]

OneDrive is already interoperable with a host of web services, including:

Privacy concerns[edit]

Data stored on OneDrive is subject to monitoring by Microsoft, and any content that is in violation of Microsoft's Code of Conduct is subject to removal and may lead to temporary or permanent shutdown of an account. This has led to privacy concerns in relation to data stored on OneDrive.[59] Microsoft has responded by indicating that "strict internal policies [are] in place to limit access to a user’s data", and that advanced mechanisms, such as Microsoft's automated PhotoDNA scanning tool, are utilized to ensure users abide with the Code of Conduct and that their account does not contain illegal files (including, but not limited to, partial human nudity (including art or drawings), any discussion of purchasing firearms, any online surveys, etc.[60]).[61]


As of September 2014, supports 107 languages:[62]

  1. Afrikaans
  2. Albanian
  3. Amharic
  4. Arabic
  5. Armenian
  6. Assamese
  7. Azerbaijani (Latin)
  8. Bangla (Bangladesh)
  9. Bangla (India)
  10. Basque (Basque)
  11. Belarusian
  12. Bosnian (Latin)
  13. Bulgarian
  14. Catalan
  15. Central Kurdish
  16. Cherokee (Cherokee)
  17. Croatian
  18. Czech
  19. Danish
  20. Dari
  21. Dutch
  22. English (United Kingdom)
  23. English (United States)
  24. Estonian
  25. Filipino
  26. Finnish
  27. French
  28. Galician
  29. Georgian
  30. German
  31. Greek
  32. Gujarati
  33. Hausa
  34. Hebrew
  35. Hindi
  36. Hungarian
  37. Icelandic
  38. Igbo
  39. Indonesian
  40. Irish
  41. isiXhosa
  42. isiZulu
  43. Italian
  44. Japanese
  45. K’iche’
  46. Kannada
  47. Kazakh
  48. Khmer
  49. Kinyarwanda
  50. Kiswahili
  51. Konkani
  52. Korean
  53. Kyrgyz
  54. Latvian
  55. Lithuanian
  56. Luxembourgish
  57. Macedonian
  58. Malay
  59. Malayalam
  60. Maltese
  61. Maori
  62. Marathi
  63. Mongolian (Cyrillic)
  64. Nepali
  65. Norwegian (Bokmål)
  66. Norwegian (Nynorsk)
  67. Odia
  68. Persian
  69. Polish
  70. Portuguese (Brazil)
  71. Portuguese (Portugal)
  72. Punjabi (Gurmukhi)
  73. Punjabi (Pakistan)
  74. Quechua
  75. Romanian
  76. Russian
  77. Scottish Gaelic
  78. Serbian (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  79. Serbian (Serbia, Montenegro)
  80. Serbian (Serbia, Montenegro)
  81. Sesotho sa Leboa
  82. Setswana
  83. Simplified Chinese
  84. Sindhi
  85. Sinhala
  86. Slovak
  87. Slovenian
  88. Spanish
  89. Swedish
  90. Tajik
  91. Tamil
  92. Tatar
  93. Telugu
  94. Thai
  95. Tigrinya
  96. Traditional Chinese
  97. Turkish
  98. Turkmen
  99. Ukrainian
  100. Urdu
  101. Uyghur
  102. Uzbek (Latin)
  103. Valencian
  104. Vietnamese
  105. Welsh
  106. Wolof
  107. Yoruba

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]