What is OneDrive?

By: Keith Haskin

Have you noticed OneDrive?

While using your computer you may have seen something called OneDrive and not sure what it is or what it does and just ignored it. I get it. A simple pop up here and there can be annoying, so you just close the box. I want to let you know what OneDrive is and what it can do for you.

OneDrive is a cloud storage offering from Microsoft. Normally when you save pictures or documents to your computer they live on the hard drive of that machine. Or maybe you have a flash drive or an external hard drive that you save your important files to as well. In a way, OneDrive is like an external hard drive, except instead of storing your files on a physical device you store them in the cloud. The cloud is an online server that you access using the internet. Some examples of the cloud are websites like Facebook or Twitter.

Getting Started with OneDrive

To start using OneDrive, you need an account. There are a couple of options from Microsoft so you will need to choose the one that fits your needs best. Here are many options from Microsoft that will give you the ability to use OneDrive.

The free version of OneDrive comes with 5Gb of free storage. It's built into Windows 10 and 11. A standalone purchase of OneDrive can be purchased starting at $5 per month.

Every version of Microsoft 365 comes with a whopping 1TB of storage per user; but if you want unlimited storage per person you can purchase an unlimited plan on the side for $10 per month.

Benefits of OneDrive

OneDrive has many benefits. The ability to store your files on the cloud is just one of them. Because the files live in the cloud, you can access them from any other device, including your phone using the OneDrive app. For me this is a real game changer. Most of the time I am at my desk working on documents and save them to my OneDrive. But I also do work away from my desk and need access to those documents. I can open the OneDrive app on my phone and there they are just like on my computer. I do this all the time, and so can you when you start syncing your files with OneDrive.

Being able to use OneDrive on your computer, save your files in the cloud and then access them using your smartphone is awesome. Another feature you get using the OneDrive app on your smartphone is the camera. The app has a camera you can use to take pictures and save them to your OneDrive. As mentioned, OneDrive is cloud storage and can be accessed by any device. When you take pictures in the OneDrive app on your smartphone you can also see them on your computer. But the camera on OneDrive is not just any camera. It becomes a scanner that uploads the pictures in PDF format. This is great if you need to scan a document but do not have access to a scanner.

You can also sync your camera on your smartphone to upload regular photos to OneDrive as well. I take a lot of photos – my family, pets, food, cool things I see. If you’re like me then you have thousands of pictures on your phone. With the OneDrive app, you can sync together with your photos and it will automatically store them in the cloud. This eliminates the need for connecting your phone to a computer with a cable or using one of those micro SD cards.

Sharing with OneDrive

Now that you have your files stored in the cloud you can easily share them with others. Whether it is collaborating on a document with a colleague or sharing pictures you took at your family reunion, OneDrive makes this process simple with just a few clicks and can be done from a computer or smartphone. (There is a different look between the free Microsoft account and the Microsoft 365 account so please keep that in mind, but the process is generally the same for both.)

Computer (free account view) – Login to office.com with your Microsoft account and open the OneDrive app

 MS One Drive location

Right click on the folder or file and click Share

Share Foldet location

Enter the email address you want to share with – you can also click Link Settings for advanced features like setting an expiration date or a password:

Send link example

Link Settings menu:

link setting example

Sharing Using a Smartphone (Microsoft 365 account view)

Open the OneDrive app on your device:

One Drive icon

Select the folder or file you want to share and click on the ellipses:

Picture Folder eclipse

Then click Share:

Share folder location

Enter the email address you want to share with – you can also click Link Settings for advanced features like setting an expiration date or a password.

link setting advanced features
additional link settings

In Conclusion

As you can see, Microsoft OneDrive can be very useful if you know how to use it. There are many reasons to use OneDrive not mentioned here but this is a quick overview of how I use it and what I like best about it. I recommend checking it out and see for yourself!

Keith Haskin
I'm Keith Haskin at Honorbound IT, I am here to answer the call! Whether you need support or have questions about our service, let me know and I’d be happy to help!

Continue Reading