back to article That dreaded syncing feeling: Will Microsoft EVER fix OneDrive?

Microsoft and synchronisation go back a long way. Remember Briefcase, a feature of Windows 95 and later, which syncs files between two folders, one of which can be on a removable drive or on the network? Briefcase was mostly replaced by offline network shares that synchronise local and server copies, a feature which remains in …

  1. Roger Greenwood

    or you just carry on using dropbox.

    1. Avatar of They


      Dropbox it appears as a folder in your documents, you can have as many subfolders as realistic and everything syncs. Android, Linux Mint and Windows 7 all just sync.

      Well that is how I use it.

      MS should just copy dropbox. (I would say buy drop box but I like dropbox and want to continue to use a good product.)

      1. mrbawsaq

        Re: Exactly

        Works across all devices for me too.

        Sincerely hope MS do not buy Dropbox as I will have to stop using it too. For starters, they'll rename it to something utterly stupid like MS Office One Bingbox 10 Business 365 Azure.

      2. Gavin McMenemy

        Re: Exactly

        Actually there is a limit on file path length in Dropbox...

      3. Test Man

        Re: Exactly

        "MS should just copy dropbox. (I would say buy drop box but I like dropbox and want to continue to use a good product.)"

        What Microsoft are doing to OneDrive in Windows 10 is exactly how it works in Dropbox, and exactly how it worked in Windows 8. It was Windows 8.1 that introduced the "placeholders" feature, and judging by a rep for Microsoft's comment on the matter, they plan to drop it.

        However, if you read the article, there are numerous problems with readopting a "selective sync" approach, one of which is that if you hide files in Windows Explorer, they aren't viewable or useable in Windows Explorer. The proposed "fix" for this (allowing you to search offline) isn't good enough - how do they think you're going to be able to find that one pic of your 8-month old in a cute outfit amongst thousands of "DSCFxxxx,jpg" filenames?

        No matter how it's spun, removing placeholders is a step backwards, plain and simple.

    2. Gavin McMenemy

      Eh no. Dropbox is actually fairly terrible in many enterprise environments. And their support is terrible if you end up in one of those.

      Mind you, OneDrive .... Oh I've been there with OneDrive.

      Essentially you're swapping one issue for a dfferent set.

      I'm starting to lean more in favour of setting up your own cloud and dealing with Sync that way. Although the VIPs really do like the recognisable names...

      1. PeterM42
        Thumb Up


        "Eh no. Dropbox is actually fairly terrible in many enterprise environments. And their support is terrible if you end up in one of those"

        Good grief - I didn't know DropBox NEEDS support - it works so well.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ Gavin McMenemy

        > Dropbox is actually fairly terrible in many enterprise environments

        You're not wrong, try one of the other *enterprise* level products, Code42's SharePlan, EMC's Syncplicity perhaps, maybe even Box.

    3. Vince

      Yeah because Dropbox does not have any of those flaws. Oh wait... yeah it also can't cope if you access/modify a file in 2 places (and does the same thing as OneDrive) - actually most things do this.

      They're all much the same.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do you have 1TB available in dropbox?

      1. dieselbug

        Do you NEED 1TB?

        1. Anonymous Coward
        2. tirk

          RE " Do you NEED 1TB?"

          Here we go. "I don't need it, so there can be no valid use for it".

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          MAybe not now, but it means in the long run I can have a fairly amount of files in OneDrive - that can esily exceed the local space I want to be occupied, and could require too much time or available bandwith to sync.

          And anyway, designing a system to let user sync up to a 1TB is fairly diffent than one designed to sync just a few GB.

    5. Anonymous Coward


      Since DropBox's servers are in San Francisco, any British company storing personal data there could well be breaching the Data Protection Act (principle 8). MS may not be perfect (although I have the regular consumer version and it works fine for everything I need) but at least we can choose the country that the server is based in.

  2. Matt_payne666

    dropping the placeholders is a real pain... I like the 'full' folder view on my companion devices, the thing that was missing was a clear indicator that a file was local or remote all folders and files looked like local files unless you concentrated on the status bar and noticed its status...

    that icon is now fixed... a big green tick overlays synchronised files, while a grey icon signifies files that are due to sync... perfect - but now it looks very sparse in my folders, if I require a non-synced file I need to open onedrive, hunt the bugger down and copy it manually... if I want to save it back im forced to use the client to put it back in its rightful place in my folder structure...

    this is all preview software, but I hope they replace the placeholders...

  3. jnemesh

    Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

    Sorry MS, but I have lost all confidence in your ability to provide WORKING software for my machines. Aside from work (where we just upgraded a couple months ago to Windows 7 machines), I have ZERO use for your company, your products, or your online services in my life. I am living just fine without your bloated code, your "metro" interface, and your underpowered, NSA-friendly console.

    1. Tom 38

      Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

      I was all like, "Crikey, he's angry about the console? I know cmd.exe is bad, but you really don't need it much".

      I'm getting old, think I need to play more video games..

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. tempemeaty

      Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

      In jnemesh's defense. How many of us are using Linux or some other OS because of our dissatisfaction with a number of different aspects of the Windows OS?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

        About 1% of us

        1. tempemeaty

          Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

          "About 1% of us"

          I agree. ~1% is true for Linux global OS market share statistics.

          Sorry if I wasn't completely clear. I mean that in all sincerity. When I say "us," I mean those who read The Register. I could be wrong but I get the sense that the readers of the The Register don't all fit the statistical norm.

          1. TheAnt

            Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

            OS Market share?

            Do you mean desktops? might be 1%

            Servers? Has to be rather higher? Wikipedia quote a finger of 36% for web servers, for what its worth.

            Total sales? Linux probably outsold Windows last year thanks to all those phones, set top boxes, printers, routers, NAS boxes and the trillion and one other sorts of things that run Linux that don't look like a PC. Android sales are about 250M/y while PC sales managed 75M/y.

            So it looks like Linux is used by more than 1% of us.

            Most people run Windows on their PCs because they have no real choice. When people are given a choice very few people chose Windows, I mean look at the phone market place, what did Windows manage here? Did they manage 2.5% market share? and that's despite tons of TV advertising and trying to buy market share.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

          Not sure about that, I've stopped counting how many I migrated to linux since XP support stopped, and I'm so happy because they are so scared of screwing things that they stick with what I explained to them :-D

          1. Christopher Rogers

            Re: Screw OneDrive, when are they gonna fix WINDOWS????

            That is actually the best reason to go Linux - it scares the end user into doing nothing more than what you tell them they can do.

  4. MyffyW Silver badge

    Thanks for the ancestry details

    Sort of got me thinking along the lines of Aladdin Sane / Ziggy Stardust / Thin White Duke, and I was in a weird, mellow place.

    Then you mentioned Skydrive for Business, and all I could see was the video to "dancing in the streets".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks for the ancestry details

      cannot un-see.

      Thanks Family Guy last night.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've had my fair share of problems with folder syncing from all the big players <cough> no official Linux Google Drive client</cough>. What I don't understand though is why it seems to be so damn hard for them to get right. The way I see it this problem is just a simplified version of source code management. Sure you aren't typically working with text files but the whole sync'ing thing is basically the same. Why do all the companies shy away from pushing the syncing choices onto the users. When there's a conflict just ask the user, teach them they have to manage their files. It's not like they will ever be doing a merge, they just have to pick the version they want to keep.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yep! Have an upvote. The problem is a direct match to the one that developers have pretty much cured due to massively distributed teams. Not by choice. Necessity can be a real Mother. I don't care what Microsoft calls it, it's still not functioning reliably here.

      Personally I use BTSync due to the simplicity of linking devices for the basic stuff. (How can you argue with a QRCode doing the dirty details?) For the seriously difficult (terabyte+), it's SpiderOak. My account with them really is unlimited (such a deal!), encrypted with only my key, and just works.

    2. frank ly

      re. Linux Google Drive client

      I use Insync with my two Google accounts. It costs $10 per account for a perpetual license on as many machines as you like. It works nicely and you can have selective syncing of folders. I also have my 5GB Dropbox folder tucked inside one of my Google Drive synced folders, hence giving dual redundancy for cloud storage of 'important' documents (note: only do this on your 'main' computer because I think there's a possibility of sync oscillation. On your other machines, have Dropbox in an isolated folder.)

    3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      But But But

      You can't let ordinary users loose on anything even remotely resembling version control! Sooner or later they would have to make decisions and it is this that MS, Goog etc. are trying to protect them from. I can just hear the wailing now:

      "Hello support. My computer told me I had two versions of the same file but woudn't tell me which one was the best. Well obviously I chose mine instead of Fred's but the computer must have done something wrong because I now have an empty document. Fred isn't happy either. He says he's got the same thing. I tried to use the 'retrieve' feature, but now neither of us have any files at all. Don't be siily of course there is, only it's got a strange name. Yes I'm absolutely sure... It's R. E. S. E. T.

      ... Oh

      How do we get our files back then?

      No come on, stop messing about. We need this stuff.



    4. joed

      I'd not consider file sync an easy problem. Maybe in situation where all synced devices have persistent network connection, aligned system clock and minimal latency of network connection (the last two are lesser issues and/or can be worked around). Just consider the possibility of a file edited on two systems and then having to chose what version to keep (and what work to lose). Now multiply this by number of files in synced folders (and just give up). Myself I'm not a fan of syncing - neither I like the system deciding on my behalf nor I like the idea of sorting it out myself.

      My preference is just to have "online/onedrive folder" where I drop the stuff I'm OK with compromising my ownership rights (yep, once in cloud always in cloud). Not to mention that I "loved" the view of my drive going into red as stupid onedrive was chewing up free space (small SSD I will admit but so what) to cache synced items. I'd like MS to give me the option to use their OD as offsite storage with no sync and local copies. Too much to ask?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is 'cloud syncing' tied to the operating system? Surly its an application that just keeps given files\folders synced? There's no need for Windows 10 for this. No special OS hooks. What am I missing??

  7. Anonymous Coward

    I stopped reading at...

    "Users do not much enjoy opening documents from a web browser,..." I think they meant "Users do not much enjoy opening documents in SharePoint,..."

    Where did they find users with this characteristic? I've never met one, and I've been online since 1988.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: I stopped reading at...


      1. Rovindi

        Re: I stopped reading at...

        Eeh, made me chuckle.

        Have an upvote!

  8. big_D Silver badge


    Having a Samsung ATIV SmartPC 500 with 64GB and a Surface Pro 3 with 256GB, I hope that they sort it out before Windows 10 gets to release. The current functionality is great, I can see all of my 250GB of photos, plus the other documents and videos on OneDrive. How I am supposed to squeeze them all into what remains of the 64GB on the ATIV, if I want to browse them, I don't know...

    This sounds very much like a work in progress, so I am not too worried, yet...

  9. Tom Betz

    The signal flaw in OneDrive/OneDrive for Business

    There is one flaw in both versions of OneDrive that is so egregious that it makes all the others look piddly.

    Unlike Box, DropBox and Google Drive, one is not permitted to reconfigure where the locally synced copy of OneDrive resides; it must reside inside the user's Windows Profile.

    That makes both versions of OneDrive sync incompatible with a key feature of Windows for corporate users, roaming profiles. You think it might slow adoption somewhat?

    Stupid. Simply stupid.

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: The signal flaw in OneDrive/OneDrive for Business

      I use the consumer version at home. I have a C-drive (SSD) for Win8.1 and a D-drive (rotating rust) for data, with the local copy of OneDrive on D (configured that way at setup). Unless I've misunderstood, you're claiming that isn't possible (works for me)?

    2. NJunk

      Re: The signal flaw in OneDrive/OneDrive for Business

      Is this actually correct for onedrive ? I don't think so


      I really wish I had seen this article before recommending onedrive for business to customers ( lucky it was few in number and now no more)

      As soon as I discovered the only solution to corrupted database was a resync it was game over

      We found onedrive to be absolutely fine mind.

  10. A Butler

    Their are issues with Google drive aswell..

    To be fair I have had issues with Google drive and file / folder syncing on the iPad aswell. All these services have their minor niggles however in general they all work great considering they have to work across such a variety of poor inconsistent internet connections. Plus do not get me started on iCloud and the inflexibility of viewing files in a simple web browser!

    Obviously The Reg is going to highlight the errors in the Microsoft service.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Their are issues with Google drive aswell..

      Feel free to submit articles highlighting problems with other products, oh quasi-anonymous Microsoft supporter.

  11. Mage


    Years of hiding it on installs and telling people not to use it.

    People thought it was a sort of folder just to put stuff in, even on only ONE computer!

  12. John Riddoch


    Synctoy is basically rsync wrapped up in a GUI. That said, it does the job passably well and has a command line interface for scripted usage. I use it for a few tasks, mainly ad-hoc backups and syncing the MP3 collection from NAS to SD card (to go into my phone). It might not have advanced in 5 years, but it doesn't really need any more features/bloat.

  13. NotWorkAdmin

    Remember Briefcase?

    Damn you I'd almost managed to forget.

  14. Vince

    I hate myself already, but briefcase had one really really really useful purpose.

    Specifically when dealing with MS Access - it was a dead simple way to create useful replica functionality that actually worked - and I know of clients who still cry for it... they really miss it.

  15. Tom 35

    Different things same name

    I wish Microsoft would stop putting the same name on different things. And they don't even do a complete job of it.

    Hello, I've just clicked on onedrive in my office 365 and it's saying something about sharepoint... ?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VCS solved this issues àlong ago...

    I don't understand why MS can't adopt a VCS model... show what files are local, which are not, and which needs to sync... also I'd like to avoid to sync everything on my SSD disks or phone, having 1TB available on OneDrive means there are files I wish to open on demand only, and that could be stored in a sort of local cache of limited size.

    Use different icons to show it, and if some users don't understand what icons means, give them an Android phone, it's all they can use...

  17. Tezfair

    Recent trials

    Customer has 10 remote offices / single user at each and all have Office 2013. Outlook is already syncing to on premise server. File server in HQ to be accessed by staff, with files shared out to the external staff.

    Have tried BTSync, but it's not a 'commercial' product and still under development

    Currently using OwnCloud to sync the files to each office, but slow ADSL causes issues on folder operations.

    So this weekend just gone, thought I would have a little play with alternatives. Googl drive seemed the most likely way forward, cheap, lost of space but the moment I opened an excel spreadsheet, it was converted to gsheet and saved as such, so the HQ staff can't open it in Office.

    So tried O365 despite vowing to never touch it. Trialed ODFB as all they need is the ability to open docs on line and sync back the changes to the file server for the local staff. Should have been the ideal product. Not a chance....

    ODFB sync tool crashes constantly, assuming it's not running the cpus at no less than 25%

    Discovered that there is a 20k file limit despite a large storage capacity

    Very slow uploads, I mean 3Gb over the weekend slow

    Then I started to have a play...

    Online word, yes you can open a file, but there's no 'Save as', you can't import a picture from the O365 library nor rename files.

    I know you can download to a local word. I know I can install ODFB on each machine and sync, but the point was to have a single central sync and the external staff work 100% within a browser. They have simple tasks, simple spreadsheets so a browser based office should be more than enough for their needs.

    It could have been a great product, but it's not quite there yet.

  18. HandleOfGod

    OneDrive vs Dropbox

    After qualifying for an offer with Dropbox I received an extra 30GB space FOC. Great - so I put my main documents drive on my computer there and have worked like that for some time. Sadly the space was not enough to put all my files, so just My Docs. And then a couple of months ago I received a note saying the extra space was expiring. As it happened I was already looking at coughing up actual money so I could put all my files in the cloud so the expiry of the extra space simply focussed my attention.

    With Dropbox and OneDrive both offering 1TB for £79 per year the decision was essentially won by the fact that with OneDrive you also got a copy of Office 2013 for your household and various devices thrown in. Plus the 1TB was for each household user. Also it's app for Android is better. So OneDrive it was and I duly coughed up.

    Fast forward a couple of months and I have come to understand quite how crappy the OneDrive client is compared to the Dropbox one. My experience of the Dropbox client was that it was super quick and efficient - changes made synced instantly and moving or copying files around took less than 3 seconds to understand the changes. Making changes through the web UI you can see the changes applied to the local computer in Explorer in real time. Surely OneDrive would be the same?


    Whenever any changes are made on the computer, instead of instantly updating like Dropbox, OneDrive's app goes into a "looking for changes" procedure which last about 30-60secs before then going into a "processing changes" procedure which takes about the same time. Whatever it is doing causes my 6 core CPU sufficient trauma that the cooling fans spin louder and louder until they are howling. If you continue to move files around whilst this is going on the procedures essentially loop continuously, always changes applying about 2-3 mins behind you and the constant churn of the app and whine of CPU fan.

    Worse, there is no block level sync. So, for example, change one word in the ID tag of a 15MB MP3 file and watch Dropbox silently sync the change in around 8 secs. Do the same on OneDrive and watch 2 mins of "looking for changes / processing changes" followed by another 2 mins of uploading the entire file all over again. You can just imagine what it's like if you batch rotate a bunch of 15MB JPEG's!

    But it gets worse. Move a file on OneDrive and after 2 mins of a whining CPU fan it does recognise the change and go back to sleep. But copy that same file and it goes and uploads the whole thing again! So copy (rather than move) 30GB of images, for example, as I had to do recently (don't ask) and OneDrive required 83 hours to upload a bunch of images it already had! Dropbox marks the whole thing as done in less than 10 secs. Honestly, the two products don't even belong on the same page.

  19. dotslash

    I miss Mesh

    It did what I wanted and it did it well.

    They said Skydrive was going to be better, but it turns out Mesh actually allowed me to be more "productive" (to use M$ jargon) on different devices easily, with less available remote storage.

    This was 5 years ago, the cloud marketing gimmick was still taking off (i think!)

    1. dan1980

      Re: I miss Mesh

      Mesh also allowed you to sync over a LAN if remember correctly.

      OneDrive is a me-too bullet-point for Office365 so that they can equal and/or exceed Google - look: CLOUD STORAGE!

      As such, it largely doesn't matter whether it works flawlessly or not - it's a way to get people on board when they're comparing features. MS already know that once you've done the migrations, you're most people are likely to stay put for a good while.

  20. DaddyHoggy

    My daughter has an Win 8.1 laptop and a Win Phone 8.1.

    We can't get anything to stably sync between these two devices. Worse - the laptop recently fell over and had to have a clean re-install of Win 8.1. After it was finished I copied back all her personal files from her OneDrive - success I thought - but not so - it would seem that OneDrive didn't copy the files back - it moved them back - the OneDrive is now empty - her personal files are on her laptop - I can't see them on the phone any more and even though OneDrive continues to assure me the "My XXXX" folders are sync'd - it won't copy these files back to OneDrive itself and if I do it manually - they seem to - eventually - disappear again...

    As she also has access to my Android tablet we now use Google Drive to Sync/back-up her files.

    1. Test Man

      "After it was finished I copied back all her personal files from her OneDrive"

      That's your mistake there. When it's in OneDrive and you have to reinstall Windows 8.1 you don't need to "copy" anything, you just simply find the folder and mark it as "Always Available Offline". Voila!

      No need to copy things to another folder, ever.

  21. dan1980

    Just not hard.

    Groove. Shudder.

    What we need is simple - a fucking icon that shows if a file is synced or not. What's that? There already is such a thing used for 'Offline Folders" (another shudder)?

    Why don't they just use that?

    We need five states to be represented:

    • Local files - not synced anywhere
    • Files synced and connected currently
    • Files synced but not connected
    • Files stored online, not synced but current connected
    • Files stored online, not synced and not connected

    In other words - is the file synced and is it currently connected. All you need is two things: the document/folder icon to be able to be displayed normally or in a greyed/faded fashion, to signify simply whether the file can be opened or not and a sync icon overlay to show whether it is synced and what the state of that is. That just requires two colours for the icon - green for synced and connected and red/yellow/grey for synced but not connected.

    I don't know why this is all so hard, but then we're talking about a company that decided to remove the shared folder 'hand' overlay because blah blah everything is shared now-a-days and we needed the overlay for something else.

    1. Test Man

      Re: Just not hard.

      Exactly. Simple icon overlay would do it. Anyone who wants everything synced can simply use the relevant option that is already there in PC Settings.

    2. pcoventry

      Re: Just not hard.

      So you want Carbonite then... that's been doing all that since Day 0

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    with a touch of rsync covers it for me. Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Nearly works on Android...

  23. Anonymous Bullard


    Twenty years and they still haven't got the hang of it.

  24. robertpostill

    Don't forget mac

    So I work in a Windows/Mac environment. I'm a Mac user and lo there is no OneDrive for Business. So I get to use Sharepoint (or the office 365 rebadged Sharepoint) for the web UI. It's like pulling teeth. Endless errors, crap defaults and the sure and certain knowledge you're on the second class platform. It's about as nice as dancing on a bag of nails. The new Microsoft might be a little more open but they've got a lot of ground to make up on a really important productivity issue.

  25. Shannon Jacobs

    Data loss from early Windows phone

    So far back that I can't remember the details, but it was after Microsoft induced Palm to commit suicide. At some point after that I was somehow fooled into buying a not-smart phone with a Microsoft OS on it.

    Fortunately, most of the terrible memories of that Windows phone have faded, but one that still grates was how it kept losing or mangling the calendar and contacts data. My fuzzy recollection is that I normally had to restore the data on the computer side, and then it would appear on the phone, and everything would look normal, and then it would disappear on the phone after some random interval. This went on for a while until I gave up and abandoned all hope and the data. Sorry Dorothy.

    I am unable to imagine the circumstances under which I would buy another Windows phone of any sort.

  26. Greencat

    Cough...Mac client

    Never has MS' confusing naming approach (Oh, so there are two OneDrives?) been so galling. If I want OneDrive for personal use on the Mac I can get it, but for business via 365? Forget it - and seemingly no ETA either.

    Between this, and the non-appearance of Office 2014 for the Mac - you'd be forgiven for believing you were a second class customer as a Mac user. Even the iPad gets better treatment.

    Still, at least we have the bloated new version of Outlook for the Mac to play with (how can a piece of software grow by 10x in size between versions?) What exactly does it do to deserve around 3/4 Gig of HD space?

    1. pcoventry

      Re: Cough...Mac client

      Onedrive IS available for the personal accounts on Mac. I have Yosemite and it works fine

      It is NOT for business accounts which I why I just moved from Business to personal 365. Business client is not even on the roadmap!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All this from a company ...

    Who can't even supply a basic Windows-File-Copy program that automatically 'overwrites all newer'... Gimme a break!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mind sync, how do M$ programmers ever find anything?

    I still have to use XP searches to reliably find source code in //Comments...

    Vista / Win7 & later also make it tricky to locate source files that have hyphens or other characters at the start of a file name. So its necessary to use complex tacky syntax such as: system.filename~="---"

    Gotta ask, am I the only one who laments simple reliable File Searching...?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If only there were proven open source systems for managing source code and files.

  30. Frank N. Stein

    Maybe these OneDrive issues are for a problem for Windows users, but on my iPhone and Macbook Pro, there is no OneDrive problem. In fact, I was easily able to backup the files from my old Macbook Pro to OneDrive and download the files to OneDrive on my new Macbook Pro. Funny that it seems to work better on Apple products than Windows. Good thing I don't bother with OneDrive on my Windows 8.1 PC. That is only users for gaming. SHRUG.

  31. kmac499

    Pet Hate with One Drive

    The damn default name it takes from your login details that you can't change to something more personal or meaningful.

  32. Phil_Evans

    Highly amusing

    I noted that the article is without a breath of humour, but the irony conveyed is deafening. I haven't laughed so much in ages. So it goes...

    1) We've done it, good.

    2) Oh, someone else has too

    3) Oh, it's us

    4) Let's toss a coin

    5) Let's do it again

    Breathtaking and uncanny.

  33. wondermouse

    I had a client using a paid subscription to Skydrive very successfully on his old Windows 7 laptop, His new laptop with Windows 8 would NOT sync successfully with it at all. In the end we gave up and installed Dropbox.

    I have to say that Dropbox isn't really suited to an SME or enterprise environment, as it's impossible for admins to administrate on a granular level. All you can do is set up a folder that everyone has in their dropbox. You can't set up teams with their own folders, managed centrally with varying permissions. Dropbox really needs to up its game if it wants to be taken seriously as a tool for businesses.

    Box can do all of this but the flexibility comes at a price, and it's too expensive for many small businesses to entertain.

    1. briesmith


      Try Kahootz at

  34. jelabarre59


    MS is not at all interested in fixing problems in OneDrive. Something as enabling OD to show *file extensions* has been a long standing request/defect with them, and all you get from MS is mealy-mouthed excuses on why you don't need it/shouldn't have it. Oh yeah? If we didn't need it, then why are we asking for it?

  35. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    "Most people run Windows on their PCs because they have no real choice. When people are given a choice very few people chose Windows"

    Yup, I've gotten plenty of "Don't you hate it when your computer..." (insert laundry list of Windows-only problems, real or imagined.) I reply "My computer doesn't do that, I'm not running Windows, those problems are all Windows-specific."

    Anyway... OneDrive. What would be so hard about having a choice -- the "remote-only files aren't visible" for those users who want it, and the choice of showing *all* files but having remote-only files greyed out to indicate they aren't there yet. If you had an internet connection, it'd retrieve the file when you go to open it; or you'd right click the file or files and choose to retrieve a copy now if you need them pre-retrieved. *shrug*. I dunno, I just thought this kind of thing (distributed file system with offline capability) was the kind of thing that had been solved decades ago, with giving it a nice UI the only thing that needs to be worked out. But it sounds like Microsoft has released a suite of incompatible products under the OneDrive name and now trying to mash them together. Yeah.

  36. briesmith

    Another Battle

    Let me posit a situation.

    Microsoft are very keen on the cloud; they like the idea of us never owning anything, of everything we use being registered and renewed every month. They've almost certainly got 1,000s of evangelists for the cloud within their organisation.

    Also beavering away for Microsoft is the OneDrive team; they like the cloud, they use the cloud but they want people to use OneDrive and that means syncing data reliably, cheaply, quickly and all the other lies.

    This is an anathema to the Cloud evangelists. "You want your data in two or more places?", "Really?", "How quaint.", "Well it's never gonna happen." "What ever you want, whenever you want it, you just download it."

    You can see why things don't get fixed?

    And talking about things never getting fixed, document preview in Office is still broken (and Jimmy Savile is still dead, apparently.)

  37. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Belated footnote

    Just noticed that pictures from my phone camera WP635 are not uploading to One Drive. It says it is. But the pictures aren't there.

    And there isn't anything I can find to fix this.

    (To be fair it's a computer thing - not even just Windows - that sometimes software claims to be working and it just isn't.)

  38. Muskiier

    If I find it like learning Klingon, how can I ever roll it out to users

    I guess we could suffer all the bugs and come up with workarounds and go for budget to increase support staff to deal with frustrated users but why. I don't understand what whoever is in charge of the file management piece at MS is doing. Did anyone even ever figure out how to make libraries work for users in Win 7? As for OneDrive in the Sky; who needs that Sunday afternoon call from an exec looking for the proper version of a file that you've got to rush back to your computer to hopefully find on the server and send to her. It just goes to show that, really, this part of the cloud is still smoke and mirrors on stage behind hype and marketing. BTW, Box has been very reliable for me personally and a limited roll out corporately with it's ability to support AD I'd do that before OneDrive. Maybe Box is the purchase MS should make (no I don't work for Box).

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A year later from this article and Microsoft *still* hasn't fixed OneDrive, despite the release of both Windows 10 and Office 2016. If anything, it's now worse. Placeholders have gone meaning you have to have all or nothing from each folder on your local driver. You can no longer browse non-synchronised folders unless you manually set up a mapped drive. Worse - much worse - is that the totally pointless Office Upload is still there. Its sole purpose is to generate errors. In seeking to add functionality for the 0.1% of users who might write documents simultaneously, Microsoft has messed it up for the other 99.9% who simply want to write documents. And it doesn't even work if you do want to write shared documents, usually giving you the choice of abandoning your work or saving it as a new, non-shared document. Genius.

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