What You Need to Know about the Changes to OneDrive Storage Limits

Microsoft has made many changes to the storage limits for OneDrive and OneDrive for Business users. Here is what you need to know if you have files stored in one of these cloud storage services.


Microsoft is changing the storage limits for users of its OneDrive and OneDrive for Business cloud storage services. Back in 2014, the company had significantly increased the limits. Admitting it overcommitted, Microsoft officials noted, “If we continued with the current offerings, we wouldn’t be able to sustain our growth and deliver the reliable service that you count on.”

The storage limit changes affect many OneDrive and OneDrive for Business users, including:

  • Free OneDrive account holders
  • Office 365 business plan subscribers
  • Subscribers to standalone business plans that include OneDrive for Business storage
  • Office 365 consumer plan subscribers

Changes to Storage Limits in Free OneDrive Accounts

Many businesses and consumers are taking advantage of free OneDrive accounts. On July 27, 2016, Microsoft is reducing the amount of free storage available to these accounts by two-thirds — from 15 gigabytes (GB) to 5 GB. It is also discontinuing the 15 GB camera roll storage bonus.

Free OneDrive account holders who exceed the 5 GB storage limit will be given the option of subscribing to Office 365 Personal for free for one year. Office 365 Personal subscriptions include 1 terabyte (TB) of OneDrive storage. This offer will be available until August 15, 2016. While the first year is free, a credit card is still required and the subscription will automatically renew after one year if the subscriber does not cancel it. If the account holders do not want the Office 365 Personal subscription, they will need to purchase additional storage or remove some of their files.

Users who are over the quota but do not take any action will find it exceedingly difficult to access their files. At first, they will be able to view and download their files, but they will not be allowed to add new content. Eventually, though, they will not be able to access their files at all. Their files might even be deleted. These limitations will occur in stages over an extended period of time. The OneDrive Changes FAQ web page details the timeline.

Storage Limit Changes in Office 365 Business Plans

Back in October 2014, Microsoft announced that all Office 365 business customers will receive unlimited OneDrive for Business storage. That has changed. Only the most expensive Office 365 Enterprise, Government, and Education plans will now receive unlimited OneDrive for Business storage. According to Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint, unlimited storage will be available only to organizations that have more than five users subscribing to one of the following plans:

  • Office 365 Enterprise E3, E4, or E5
  • Office 365 Government E3, E4, or E5
  • Office 365 Education

All other Office 365 business plan subscribers will receive 1 TB of storage per user instead of unlimited storage.

It is important to note that those organizations eligible for unlimited storage will start out at 5 TB per user. If they want additional storage, they will need to contact Microsoft support and request it.

Changes to Storage Limits in Other Business Plans

A storage increase is occurring in two standalone business plans that include OneDrive for Business. According to Teper, unlimited storage will now be available to organizations that have more than five users subscribing to OneDrive for Business Plan 2 or SharePoint Online Plan 2. Subscribers to all other standalone business plans will continue to receive 1 TB of storage per user.

Storage Limit Changes in Office 365 Consumer Plans

Like the Office 365 business plan subscribers, consumers who purchased Office 365 Personal, University, and Home plans were promised unlimited storage back in October 2014. However, these consumers will now have storage limits. The amount of available storage will depend on the type of subscription. Office 365 Personal and University subscribers will get 1 TB of storage. Office 365 Home subscribers will have 1 TB of space per user. (Up to five household members can use one subscription.)

Consumers who purchased their Office 365 plans before November 2, 2015, will have a grace period of at least one year if their files exceed the new storage limits. For example, if an Office 365 Personal subscriber has 2 TB of storage (1 TB over the new limit), they will be able to store 2 TB for at least a year. If they find that unacceptable, they can get a pro-rated refund amounting to the cost of their subscription. Anyone who wants a refund will need to cancel the subscription and ask for a refund by June 30, 2016.

Explore Your Options

If you have an abundance of data stored in OneDrive or OneDrive for Business and the new limits do not meet your needs, you might want to upgrade your Microsoft subscription or change to a cloud storage service offered by a different vendor. Your IT service provider can help you decide the best cloud storage option for your business.


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Posted by Ben Spector on 02-May-2018 13:41:47
Ben Spector
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Topics: Cloud Computing, Collaboration, Data Backup, Office 365, folders, Microsoft, onedrive, Data Storage, office, filing system, File Sharing

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