Skydrive To OneDrive: The Pros And Cons Of Microsoft’s Switch

Skydrive To OneDrive: The Pros And Cons Of Microsoft’s Switch

Well, that didn’t take long. Just three weeks after Microsoft announced it would changing the name of its cloud storage service from SkyDrive to OneDrive, the switch has taken effect. Here are the upsides and downsides of the move.

The Pros

Increase your storage through referrals A basic OneDrive account gives you 7GB of storage (though longtime Microsoft account owners have 25GB). You can now score an extra 500MB of space by referring a friend to sign up (they get an extra 500MB as well). The maximum you can score from referrals is 5GB (that’s 10 friends if you’re too lazy to do the maths). Helpful, though actually finding people who don’t already have some form of Microsoft account might be more of a struggle.

Automated backup for Android Microsoft already supported automatic backup of pictures from Windows Phone, but now it offers that option from Android or iOS as well — and gives you a bonus 3GB of storage if you activate it.

In this area, phone owners are now quite spoiled for choice, since you can automatically back up to Dropbox from virtually every platform, to Drive from Android, and to iCloud from iOS. (As ever, be aware that this option can use a lot of data if you allow uploads via your mobile connection.)

The Cons

A protracted switchover. While you can now sign into OneDrive via the web site, the name change isn’t reflected in Windows or in other apps that use SkyDrive such as Office. The earliest those changes are likely to happen is on the next Patch Tuesday, which will be on 11 March.

Business options not clear yet Microsoft says it will announce more details of its OneDrive For Business options at its SharePoint conference in Las Vegas, which kicks off on 3 March. Until then, we’ll have to wait.

Coding hassles for developers. As we noted when the changeover was first announced, developers who have used SkyDrive will have to recode their apps to reflect the new name. We’d expect the existing APIs and referrals to work for quite a while and most of the changes will be relatively small, but it will still require some recoding and resubmission of apps.

Brand confusion. OneDrive used to be called SkyDrive, and used to be called Windows Live before that. Indeed, if you go to, you end up on While the name of the service doesn’t matter nearly as much as how effectively it works, consistency helps.

Microsoft isn’t the only big player to have had issues in this space: Google Docs became Google Drive, and Apple dumped its MobileMe brand in favour of the name iCloud. So the transition can be managed, but life is arguably easier if you’re Dropbox and you never have to change your name.


  • I have 48gb in my onedrive account now. Although 20gb is a “early adopter to onedrive” offer which expires next year.

    • I have a 20Gb enthusiast bonus. Is that the same or some other reasoning?. So 148Gb all up, paid for I didn’t get the free 100Gb. I should be able to get the bonus 5Gb by recommending clients. I have been moving heaps of clients to SkyDrive as it works with Windows so well and they are too lazy to do any other form of backup.

  • This is such a dumb move. MS keep doing shit like this.. “Oh this service is pretty good but hasnt gone viral? Lets change all the marketing and try again!!”

      • Ah true, good call I had forgotten about that, probably because the case seems so ridiculous its hard to believe its part of real life.

        • Because Microsoft SkyDrive is too confusing for customers with Sky Satellite in the UK. (Yes I know they brand stuff with Sky like Apple uses “i” but still a bit silly)

          That said Microsoft’s naming conventions… vs regular part of Office, Outlook. I watch clients faces glaze over.

  • I used to use Dropbox on everything until it was blocked on my work computer. Now I use SkyDrive/OneDrive.
    However I don’t store anything personal, just manuals train timetables and various pdfs. So it’s not the end of the world if MS lose it all and I still have Dropbox.
    I later learned you can run Dropbox from the URL instead of the installed program.

  • “Automated backup for Android”

    Wellp, there goes the only reason to use Windows Phone. RIP.

  • Just signed up to Office 365 and got the 1TB included on OneDrive.

    Enjoying the browser interface and speeds. The only issue I have is with the desktop client which is hard to calibrate in terms of what and when to upload as it does clog up bandwidth.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!