Microsoft's super-secure OneDrive Personal Vault is now available globally – and it's free

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Microsoft has rolled out the new secure cloud storage feature, OneDrive Personal Vault, to users around the world.

First announced back in June, Personal Vault is designed as somewhere to store sensitive files.The feature adds a secure storage folder to OneDrive accounts which are protected by two-factor authentication – either a fingerprint, face scan, extra PIN, or secure code sent out via email or SMS, in addition to a regular password.

Microsoft has taken various measures to ensure that files stored in Personal Vault are kept safe. Files that are stored in it are not synchronized to a standard folder on a Windows 10 machine, but to a BitLocker-encrypted location instead.

In addition, it's not possible to share items from the Personal Vault, so there is little danger of accidentally providing other people with access to private files.

On top of this, Personal Vault will automatically log you out and close down after a period of inactivity to help prevent unauthorized access.

To avoid the problem of having potential sensitive files stored in less secure locations, the OneDrive mobile app can be used to take photographs and scan documents directly to Personal Vault. This 'scan and shoot' option means you can avoid having the images lying around insecurely on your phone.

Keep it secret, keep it safe

OneDrive Personal Vault is available to everyone for free, but anyone using the free or standalone 100GB plan is limited to storing three files. For people with Office 365 Home or Personal subscriptions, this limitation is removed, so it is possible to store as many files as your storage limit permits.

As well as the expansion of Personal Vault, Microsoft has also made some other OneDrive announcements. A new backup options means that OneDrive can automatically back up files in your Desktop, Documents and Pictures folders to the cloud, and for anyone looking to expand their available storage, it's now possible to do so in increments of 200GB.

For iOS users, Microsoft has also added a Dark Mode option to the OneDrive app.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

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