Your OneDrive storage has been gutted, now what?

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On Monday, Microsoft announced that it was cutting storage options for OneDrive, dropping free storage for all OneDrive users from 15GB to 5GB, capping OneDrive for Office 365 Home, Personal, or University accounts from unlimited to 1TB per year, and dropping the free 15GB Camera Roll bonus. While we won’t use this post to go into the wisdom, or lack thereof, of the decision, it does pose some suddenly rather pertinent questions about what you’ll need to do with your OneDrive account to accommodate Microsoft’s about face.

The 1TB cap on Office 365 accounts (and note that Office 365 business accounts are not affected by these changes) begins immediately, while the drop from 15GB to 5, and the loss of the 15GB Camera Roll bonus will take place in early 2016.

[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]So what does this all mean? If you’re a OneDrive user affected by these changes, what do you need to do?[/pullquote]

First of all, of course, if you don’t have any extra OneDrive storage and have less than 5GB on OneDrive, you don’t have to do anything (as long as you keep that storage under 5GB). OneDrive will function as it always has, for better or worse.

If you have any bonus storage, say from one of the “enthusiast’s” bonuses, that storage will remain in effect until it runs out, usually one year after it was activated (the one exception being the Camera Roll bonus, as noted above).

Also, if you have paid storage that comes with some subscriptions, like the Groove Music Pass, for example, you’ll keep that extra storage for as long as you keep your subscriptions active. This includes Office 365 storage up to 1TB, as long as you have an active Office 365 subscription.

If you don’t fall into one of those categories, however, things get a little trickier, but you do have a number of options.

Suck it up and pay

Perhaps the easiest thing to do, although not the cheapest, is to pay for the storage you need. Microsoft has made even this somewhat painful, as its 100 and 200GB storage options are also being retired (although if you were previously on a 100 or 200GB plan you will be allowed to maintain it, at least until Microsoft reneges on that, too). You can opt in to a new 50GB storage option for $1.99 per month, and keep your storage, just not for free.

You could pick up a Groove Music Pass for $99.90/yr and gain 100GB storage as long as you keep the subscription active.  That’s more per gb than the 50GB paid option, but you get all the other benefits of Groove Music including music streaming, etc.

[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Get Office 365 Personal with 1TB storage free for one year if you’re over 5GB[/pullquote]

You can also opt in to an Office 365 Personal plan, which offers 1TB of OneDrive Storage and the latest version of Office for 1 PC or Mac, 1 tablet, and 1 phone. Microsoft is offering 1 year free with these changes, but you’ll have to provide a credit card and will be auto-renewed at $69.99 a year unless you opt out (updated to correct the earlier reference to Office 365 Home)

If you’re over the 5GB (or 1TB with O365) limit, you still have some time to get your storage in order. Microsoft has split the transition into three basic tiers, with the timing dependent on whether you’re over your free storage limits, or over your Office 365 limits, but the process is the same.

Grace Period

At first, you’ll have a grace period, where you don’t need to do anything, and you’ll retain full functionality. That lasts for 3 months from the time Microsoft informs you that your free 15GB limit and your 15GB Camera Roll allotment has ended, sometime in early 2016, or if you have O365, beginning immediately and lasting 12 months.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]All of your storage, not just the portion over your limit, will be put in read only mode[/pullquote]

Read Only

Then, your storage (and this is important, ALL of your storage, not just the portion that’s over the limit) will be put into read only mode. You’ll be able to access your files to read them, or download them off OneDrive. Until you reach a state where you’re under the limit set by your free allotment, plus any paid storage you have, you won’t be able to make any edits, or upload any files or folders (even if you free up some space but stay over your limit) to ANY of your files.

That period will last for 9 months after the initial 3 month period for free accounts, or for 6 months after the first year for overdrafted Office 365 allotments.

Locked Out and Gone

Next, your accounts will be locked, and you won’t be able to access them at all until you take action. You’ll have another year in each case in which to unlock your files, but after that you’ll risk losing them for good.

If you decide to abandon OneDrive and move to some other solution, you’ll have at least a year in any case to make a decision before you lose any capabilities on OneDrive, and some time after that to still get your files offloaded.

What will you do with your OneDrive Storage?  Our poll asking if you’ll stay with Microsoft or leave for some other storage service seems to be split pretty evenly down the middle, which side will you fall on?