back to article Microsoft rolls out Files On-Demand with tighter macOS integration – but it defaults to 'on' and can't be disabled

Heads up, OneDrive-using Mac fans: Microsoft has begun rolling out a new Files On-Demand "experience", and you can't disable it. Microsoft's cloudy storage platform, OneDrive, is a handy solution for mixed fleets. Using Windows and Mac hardware? No problem; a local-file-like experience is on hand for either environment (Linux …

  1. Alumoi Silver badge

    What's this OneDrive you're talking about? Some kind of NextCloud but under MS control?

  2. itzumee

    All your documents are belong to us

    When I recently installed OneDrive on my new Windows 10 machine (to which I had previously copied all the documents and other files from my old machine), it promptly set my standard local user folders Desktop, Downloads, Documents and Pictures to point to OneDrive and it moved the contents of those folders there too, but barfed when it realised there wasn't enough space on my (free) OneDrive subscription and wouldn't proceed until the issue was resolved. I checked the original local folders in c:\Users\myusername\ and they were all empty so I decided the safest way to handle this would be to upgrade my OneDrive sub for £1.99 for sufficient space for OneDrive to do it's thing and complete, which it did.

    The annoying thing here is when installing the OneDrive Windows app, there was no option to specify that you don't want OneDrive to suck up your user folders and empty them! Yes, there's an option in the installed OneDrive app's settings but by then it's too late!

    Anyway, I've since copied all of the files back to their original local folders and reset my default user folders to point to those too, but the way the installer works makes me think it's a ruse to get you to cough up money, and it worked, but I've since cancelled the auto-renew so MS will be getting no more dosh from me for OneDrive. I hope.

    BTW, when installing Windows 10 (and I guess 11), never ever ever provide your Microsoft ID, otherwise all of your user folders will be on OneDrive and you'll probably never notice until it's too late.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      Re: All your documents are belong to us

      "makes me think it's a ruse to get you to cough up money,"

      Shirley not!

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: All your documents are belong to us

        Indeed.

        MS wants to be the first $4T company. However, if they think that doing things like this is going to get them there then they are mistaken, very much mistaken.

        The 'Do it our way or else' won't fly with most Mac users.

        MS seems to have forgotten that people with laptops do not always have access to the Internet.

        MS seems to have forgotten that is not their data that they are fscking around with.

        Nanny MS is not to be trusted even 0.00000001mm.

        1. TKW

          Re: All your documents are belong to us

          > The 'Do it our way or else' won't fly with most Mac users.

          I don't really have a favourite side in this argument, but I'd say Apple have probably conditioned their users to expect "do it our way or else" more than Microsoft.

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: All your documents are belong to us

          "0.00000001mm"

          Wow. That makes Microsoft 9,000 times worse than Covid-19!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: All your documents are belong to us

          I think the principal reason that Mac users won't go for it is because they're used to things that WORK.

          To be lumbered with Microsoft sync code that already works badly when it has a direct cable to the Net (I know plenty of people complaining about it) and then use that when mobile?

          Not even when Hell freezes over - when it comes to code, Mac users are a tad spoiled.

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: All your documents are belong to us

      when installing the OneDrive Windows app, there was no option to specify that you don't want OneDrive to suck up your user folders and empty them

      Had a similar (but less costly) experience on my work PC yesterday. On the reboot after Patch Tuesday, NoneDrive unilaterally decided to commandeer sync my desktop folder -- which I had specifically configured it not to do.

      When I saw the sync badges on all the desktop items, I turned off Desktop backup in the NoneDrive settings --- which immediately deleted everything and left in their place a "Where are my files?" icon (similar to REvil; just sayin'). I had to manually go into OneDrive and copy them all back to where they belong.

      Not the end of the world, of course, but disturbing ransomware-like behavior. Which my employer must be happy with; they chose O365.

    3. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: All your documents are belong to us

      Currently working somewhere that is a big user of MS and One Drive. If you combine it with the web version of Office then it’s a new dimension in annoying. You can’t open files for those ‘applications’ unless they’re on One Drive. Also I found that my one drive was filling up with book1 through to book 999. I was used to opening a blank excel spreadsheet every time I needed to do a quick but complicated sum. Wouldn’t save the spreadsheet just close it when done. IT support bloke who is fixing an unrelated issue says he’s never seen so many spreadsheets from one person. It’s then I discover that I’m on book 200 and something,

      Also Outlook for web usually wants to share a link to files on my One Drive. I hate doing that for various reasons and I’d rather send a copy. One bloke shared a link to an important file on his One Drive rather than a copy of this document. Sadly he didn’t give anyone the rights to access that file and had gone on holiday. He thought he’d sent a copy and had no idea that we were without access to it.

    4. Falmari Silver badge

      Re: All your documents are belong to us

      @itzumee Thanks for the warning I am getting a new Windows PC this week.

      Now I know it is to late for you but I have found a simple way to get files back from OneDrive onto your local machine. Just go to the OneDrive Help @ Settings, then select in the Setting tab in the dialog go to last option Save space .... and uncheck it. The files will download back to your PC.

      I tested it today on my PC and files that were only on OneDrive downloaded to my PC.

  3. keithpeter Silver badge
    Linux

    Linux client?

    "Now, about that official Linux version..."

    ...which is very unlikely to be installed by me.

    The last thing I want is some kind of conditional syncronisation of my whole ~/home/user where (if I have understood correctly) files may or may not actually reside in my home directory once edited.

    Best of luck all those who help confused people trying to work out why they can't find a file.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Linux client?

      Good point. And anyway, if we want remote storage, we can just set up some remote storage and mount it as a directory using SFTP or better, SSH. I'm sure someone could knock up a pretty GUI for those that don't like the command line (or maybe they have already?) Not to mention other solutions already out there.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "(Linux users, sadly, need not apply for the time being)"

    So what's the downside, then?

  5. DJV Silver badge

    OneDrive - once bitten...

    My only interaction with OneDrive is to completely uninstall it. Having tried to use this shonky piece of crap in the past and have it piss over me, I won't go near the damn thing ever again!

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: OneDrive - once bitten...

      It works OK really.

      Well, kind of OK.

      Well, kind of OK once you've arranged the chicken bones & goat's guts in the right pattern and given up your firstborn's soul.

      That is... unless you try to use it with Creative Cloud. As soon as you want to open a file on your local workstation Photoshop will proceed to trigger the download of every single file in your OneDrive space in order to build a preview, eating up all of the piddly little bit of fast SSD that you get in Macs now that seems to be because they're some sort of Cloud Terminal Access Device.

      The upshot of trying to open a local file in Photoshop CC is that your machine grinds to a halt, throws the Low Disk Space warning and empties your waste basket before going into a slow cycle of re-clouding everything one file at a time as Photoshop downloads the next in the list as soon as the file system says there's the space for it.

      Funnily enough CC products work OK when you store your document on Adobe's servers... provided you've paid them and keep paying them for enough space.

      I yearn for the good old days sometimes.

  6. Johnb89

    Teetering on the edge of chaos

    Random app from some company that can access, modify, delete, scramble or sell anything on my computer, that they can change or break at will with the mandatory auto-updates. In case the opportunity for them to screw my computer up wasn't enough, they want to open me up to supply chain attacks. (I refer to cloud OS integration apps generally).

    icloud does the magic 'store it in the cloud, erase it from my device from time to time without telling me, can't force a sync, need internet to get it' game, Tiresome, stupid, and annoying... so let's copy that.

    I access cloud storage from the browser only, be that dropbox, pcloud, onedrive, sharepoint, box, google drive or the others that I've needed to use. Yes, that is inconvenient.

    1. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: Teetering on the edge of chaos

      Random app from some company that can access, modify, delete, scramble or sell anything on my computer, that they can change or break at will with the mandatory auto-updates. In case the opportunity for them to screw my computer up wasn't enough, they want to open me up to supply chain attacks. (I refer to cloud OS integration apps generally).

      Surprised they don't just do it. Ah maybe that's why they want to force MS account login on Win11....

    2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

      Re: Teetering on the edge of chaos

      icloud does the magic 'store it in the cloud, erase it from my device from time to time without telling me, can't force a sync, need internet to get it' game

      Not if you turn off iCloud Drive and OneDrive.

      I'm preparing to switch all of my machines (PC/Mac/Linux; iCloud on Mac/iOS, OneDrive on PCs) to NextCloud to regain control over my data. The migration plan for each machine is:

      - Copy all $CLOUD drive contents to external HD, so I'm 100% sure I have local copies.

      - Shut off $CLOUD drive sync & reboot.

      - Verify local file repo contents against the external HD, repopulate as needed.

      - Enable cloud(ish) backup for NextCloud.

      Hoped-for result: proper cross-platform backup, sync, and sharing, where I control both the client and the server. NextCloud testing went well, so I'm optimistic.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Teetering on the edge of chaos

        Your grand cunning plan will work UNTIL

        some intern at a company somewhere decides that $CLOUD is mandatory and that the previous ON/OFF feature is no longer useful.

        Naturally, you won't know it until it is too late and the damage has been done.

        I don't use iCloud for anything other than transferring images from my iDevice to my MBP. Then they get deleted from the iDevice once two backups have been taken to fast USBC drives. I have so far managed to refuse all of Adobe's attempts to get me to use their cloud. I feat that might not last much longer.

        [see icon] to all cloud services that enable themselves against my wishes.

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Sucking the Life out of Colossal Bodies .... is a Vampire Realm and Alienating Territory too.

    Microsoft and Apple of late appear to have joined forces and sources, most probably in an attempt to be THE Leading Titanic Player in whatever emerging computer intensive fields there may yet be to Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.

    However, others might be thankful and appreciative of them for providing a much greater behemoth to infiltrate and seed with inquisitive foreign feeds and almighty needs.

    One assumes that they know what they are doing and to where and to what such collaborations will also lead and provide. If they don't, they really shouldn't be shedding their independence to be more closely wedded too what may be similar long term and near future goals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sucking the Life out of Colossal Bodies .... is a Vampire Realm and Alienating Territory too.

      The thing with Apple is that you can at least disable most of the annoying and/or risky things. Don't want keychain in iCloud (which I don't)? Fine, don't allow it. Don't want iMessage mirrored? Untick the box, done.

      In addition, it tends to default to safe - and yet, it keeps working without any fuss.

      If you want to fight on a daily basis with updates and security checks because you cannot trust the machine, you have a need to justify your existence and do not want to interface with anything else on the planet, OK, use Windows.

      For anything else, there's MacOS and Linux.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Over my dead body

    That pretty much puts the nail in our use of MS Office.

    We already phased it out in favour of LibreOffice (still planning to look at Collabra but a bit short on time) due to licensing complexity, costs and a general lack of trust..

    1. Adam JC

      Re: Over my dead body

      Bad news.. OneDrive has been built into standard images for the past year+. OneDrive has nothing to do with MS Office...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Over my dead body

        Oh excellent, nothing left to worry about then - we already stopped using Windows itself years ago. If I'm not mistaken it was around 2006 or so. I don't know how many CVEs we saved ourselves from, but from a patch traffic perspective we've probably saved ourselves in the terabytes by now.

        Would be a fun exercise to work out, actually.

  9. short a sandwich
    Stop

    Oh dear.

    And if one's office broadband is of the rural, non-fibre variety? That's going to go well, NOT.

    7Mbs download here on a good day, 1Mbs up.

  10. Sammy Smalls

    Try one drive on an M1

    Constant 100% runaway and flakey desktop integration make me want to scream.

    Currently my most hated daily app.

  11. jvf

    gone and forgotten

    Didn't realize one drive resided as a program on my windoze machine. Just found and deleted it before it could wake itself up and do something.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: gone and forgotten

      Don't worry, it'll be back with the next Patch Tuesday along with the chosen MS settings, not any you may have chosen. It's done for you benefit, in case you changed you mind since you deleted it, took it out the back and shot it and then nuked it from orbit just to be sure.

  12. msobkow Silver badge

    I avoid Microsoft's cloud on principal alone.

    I use Windows for *gaming* and the availability of anciliary applications. Most of my real work is on Linux VMs or "in the cloud." Why would I want to expose my data to more footprints than necessary?

    I have a Google business subscription; I use that instead. My issue isn't one of how badly the company involved might snoop; my issue is having too many fingers in the "data archive" pie.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If anyone has actually looked at the Microsoft Graph API, you'll realise how much Teams and OneDrive are basically cardboard and string built on SharePoint. The fact that either of them work at all really amazes me. The fact that neither has yet been the subject of a major security leak, quite frankly, astonishes me.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Those are not the only Microsoft / O365 Apps that are actually just a portal into some other MS offering... kind of reminds me of those Stain Devils... One for each of 100 different kind of stain, but in essence there are only 4 different chemicals in them - an acid one, an alkaline one, an ester based one and an abrasive one.

  14. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Symlinks

    Not supported, just to make sure you don't work around the "Thou shalt have your OneDrive folder HERE" by symlinking to the directories you would like synced.

    Pah.

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