Microsoft ends unlimited OneDrive, slashes free storage limit

Microsoft is cutting considerable corners with OneDrive

There's some bad news for Office 365 users who were enjoying unlimited OneDrive storage, as Microsoft has now done away with this offering due to apparent abuse by a minority.

In a blog post, Microsoft announced that some Office 365 consumer users had gone to town given the unlimited space, and had backed up "numerous PCs" and/or "entire movie collections and DVR recordings".

In some cases, that exceeded 75TB per user, and Microsoft deems that abuse of the system. Although it does bring up that old chestnut – when a service is unlimited, shouldn't it actually be unlimited?

Yes there's fair usage to consider, but a company can always expect a minority of users to go to town with such an offering, and you'd have thought their servers would have been able to cope with a heavy load from a small number of people.

Microsoft said: "Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users."

So instead of unlimited storage for Office 365 Home, Personal or University users, these folks will now get 1TB of storage on OneDrive.

For those who have already piled up multiple terabytes of data on their OneDrive account, they will be able to keep their increased storage limit for at least a year.

Miserly move

Microsoft is also making other changes, and in what seems a miserly move – and definitely nothing to do with abuse – the free storage limit on OneDrive is being slashed from 15GB to 5GB.

Sadly that's happening for existing users as well as those new to OneDrive, and the free limit will be decreased from early next year. The 15GB camera roll bonus is also being done away with.

Needless to say, these won't be popular moves, and the fact that the blog post mentions specific content from user accounts (entire movie collections and so on) also raises the question of exactly how much Microsoft pokes around in OneDrive data.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).