Microsoft Starting OneDrive Downgrade Process

Microsoft was once one of the best free cloud storage providers. With OneDrive, you could get 15GB of free storage that could be doubled if you installed OneDrive on your phone as well. That is all set to come to an end in July after Microsoft announced changes late last year. In an effort to smooth the storage capacity downgrade, Microsoft has started warning users about the July 13th deadline to either buy more space or migrate enough data so you are below the new 5GB cap.

When Microsoft first starting cutting storage space, the failure to grandfather current users led to widespread and vocal protests over the changes. In the end, Microsoft relented from the public pressure and allowed current users to keep their 15/30GB of free storage provided they filled out a form requesting as such. After the whole debacle, Microsoft admitted they had rushed things and screwed up. With the early warning to users, it looks like the lesson has been learned.

With a 5GB tier, OneDrive will have the same capacity as Apple’s iCloud free tier and 3GB more than what Dropbox offers. Still, it is less than what Google, Amazon and box all offer and much lower than the 40GB glory days when OneDrive was still SkyDrive. At least we know Microsoft will take user privacy seriously. For those of you who haven’t signed up to keep your free storage, be sure to migrate your data away or buy more storage before the July 13th deadline.

Short URL Addresses May Be Creating Easy Paths To Spy On Your Data

We’ve all seen those huge URL’s, be it for a website or a document you have saved in the cloud, they just seem to go on and on with no sign of ever stopping. Then you spot the tiny URL they offer you instead, short and sweet with only a few letters and numbers to copy and paste before you can open your document anywhere you want. Why not use it? well for starters that small URL may be creating just as easy a path to spy on your data!

Research conducted by Martin Georgiev and Vitaly Shmatikov suggest that looking at the abbreviated “short URL’s” used by companies such as Google, Microsoft, and even bit.ly, a company dedicated to creating and sharing short URL addresses, revealed that using a simple trial and error method they were able to gain access to your cloud storage files.

In particular, Georgiev and Shmatikov were able to find and access files shared through Google Drive and Microsoft’s OneDrive with short URLs. If this wasn’t scary enough, someone could place malicious code in the files that had write permissions enabled, allowing them to infect and spread their effect all through one of your files stored in the cloud. Estimating that around 7 percent of the accounts on OneDrive and Google Drive they scanned were vulnerable to this flaw, it’s scary, to say the least.

More worrying may be companies differing responses to be being alerted about this result, with Google doubling the character length of their short URLs, while Microsoft stated that the vulnerability “does not currently warrant an MRSC case”, while quietly removing the short link function on OneDrive so not to expose others to the problem while they no doubt investigate.

Microsoft Rushed OneDrive Storage Downgrade

After ending unlimited OneDrive storage and making a number of other controversial changes, Microsoft faced heavy criticism. After a storm of heavy backlash, Microsoft eventually rolled back some of the changes they were planning to implement. Many users felt that Microsoft had rushed things and didn’t properly handle the whole debacle. Now it turns out the rush was due to the fact that “a major publication was going to print something that was very damaging and was not true” about the online storage service.

According to Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela, Microsoft had realized that offering too many users unlimited storage simply wasn’t sustainable and was planning the change. Unfortunately, an external factor forced the issue.

“We had given ourselves a couple more months to get everything lined up, all in one fell swoop. OneDrive for Business, OneDrive for consumer, how we grandfathered people, blah, blah blah.

We just were not ready. But the alternative of having a very damaging, borderline false story run in a massive publication […] We just didn’t do a good enough job in the sprint to beat the story to get the communications in the shape that they needed to be.”

In the end, it looks like Microsoft has mostly figured things out, though some issues remain. Hopefully, Microsoft has learned a lesson about communication and that if they offer users something, they’ll take it and run with it.

OneDrive Placeholders May Be Replaced Back in Windows 10 ‘Redstone’

Windows 10 has so far received a mixed reception since its release, the many positive aspects which have included the return of a usable start menu has somewhat been outweighed by an operating system thin on privacy, and also a lack of communication to users concerning the update schedule. Now, Microsoft hopes to win back consumers by adding improvements within the “Redstone” update and includes a rumour that a feature by the name of “Placeholders” may return.

If you’re not familiar with this feature, Placeholders had been a handy space-saving feature within Windows 8.1 that allowed any file to be accessed from a OneDrive account by simply double clicking on an icon within file explorer, the difference was the file wouldn’t actually be downloaded to your machine until the user specified. Sounds good, well many users thought so until Microsoft took a crowbar and removed this feature from Windows 10 OS.

According to persistent rumours, this feature is set to be repackaged in time for Windows 10 Redstone release, which is due to be offered to consumers around Spring time of next year (2016).  Why had this feature been removed in the first place? It seems not everyone was able to understand how this handy tool functioned, this included consumers wondering why they were unable to update their files from the cloud when they had no internet connection to their data that was stored online, indeed.

It will be interesting to see the path with which Microsoft treads concerning the development of Windows 10.

Microsoft Will Grandfather OneDrive 15GB Free Storage Users

Just a little over a month ago, Microsoft announced some wide sweeping and controversial changes for their OneDrive cloud storage platform. Due to apparent customer abuse, the unlimited storage option as was going away and a new pricing tier system introduced. Free users also saw their capacity cut down from 15GB + 15GB to 5GB. The complaint though was that current users were going to see their plans change without being grandfathered in. This changes today at least for the free users.

From now till the end of January 2016, current OneDrive users can sign up here in order to keep their 15GB of free storage and 15GB of Camera Roll bonus if they have that as well. Customers will also be able to get Office 365 Personal free for one year along with the 1TB of storage that comes with that.

If Microsoft had done this in the first place, there likely wouldn’t have been the uproar or backlash that occurred. It ended up taking over 70,000 votes on the OneDrive feedback site to get Microsoft to change their tune. Ironically, paying users will still lose their unlimited storage and some of their plan options.

In the end, this is part of the transition that Microsoft is doing to try to make OneDrive more profitable and more of a way to glue together their Windows ecosystem rather than as pure cloud storage. By offering some free storage that most users likely won’t use, Microsoft may get back some of the free will they’ve lost with their initial debacle. You can find Microsoft’s full statement here.

Microsoft to Host Data in Germany to Protect it From US Spying

Microsoft has announced that it is to open a number of data centres in Germany, in partnership with T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom AG, to offer cloud storage to European customers away from the prying eyes of US intelligence programs. The data centres are expected to be live by the end of 2016 and serve customers within the European Union or member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

“Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every individual on the planet to achieve more,” Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said. “Our new datacenter regions in Germany, operated in partnership with Deutsche Telekom, will not only spur local innovation and growth, but offer customers choice and trust in how their data is handled and where it is stored.”

Microsoft assures customers that the quality of its cloud storage services – which have come under fire for false advertising following its withdrawal of unlimited data storage from OneDrive accounts due to “user abuse” – will not be affected, only where the data is stored.

“Microsoft is pioneering a new, unique, solution for customers in Germany and Europe. Now, customers who want local control of their data combined with Microsoft’s cloud services have a new option, and I anticipate it will be rapidly adopted,” Timotheus Hottges, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, added.

Further Microsoft datacenters are planned for the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Over 20,000 Users Petition Microsoft to Stop OneDrive Capacity Downgrades

Just days after Microsoft announced wide sweeping changes for OneDrive, users have started pushing back. Microsoft is planning to remove its unlimited storage option, restore a 1TB cap, remove the 100 and 200GB options and cutting free users down to 5GB from 30GB (15GB + 15GB Camera Roll). Given these changes, it’s not surprising that petitions on Change.org and the OneDrive forums have taken off.

The Change.org petition is the tamer and less ambitious of the two. It simply asks for the 100 and 200GB tiers to remain as options. With the new changes, only the a new 50GB and 1TB option are available. It also asks that the 15GB Camera Roll bonus for all users be reinstated. In regards to the “abuse” of the unlimited storage which prompted these changes, the petition suggests a 2TB cap for the highest tier and notes that the limited capacities of the other tiers couldn’t have led to abuse, meaning they shouldn’t have been changed. This petition has 5,500 signature so far.

 

On the OneDrive forums, the protest is much more vocal. Here, it asks that Microsoft cancel their planned changes and keep things as they are. They note that 5GB is pretty much useless in today’s world and want Microsoft to deal with the “abusers” in such a way that normal users won’t be affected. Not surprisingly, there are at least 18,720 votes for this suggestion. Given that way voting works on the forums, there may be as many as 56,165 users who have voted for this petition.

Given the retroactive application of the new policies, it’s not surprising that many current and future OneDrive users are up in arms about the whole thing. Even if Microsoft felt there was a need to change their plans, applying it only to future customers (excepting the abusers) would have been much more palatable. In the end, given the response to the even greater backlash from Windows 10, Microsoft will probably soldier on and do things their way.

Microsoft OneDrive Downgrade Will Apply Retroactively

When we first heard about the change to OneDrive capacity, we were expecting that Microsoft would grandfather current users. We’re now getting word that all current and future users will be affected by the new policy. This means for users with unlimited storage, they will get their capacity reduced to 1TB and free users from 15/30GB max down to 5GB.

We’re no longer planning to offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers. Starting now, those subscriptions will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage. Free OneDrive storage will decrease from 15 GB to 5 GB for all users, current and new. The 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued.

For at least the first 12 months, unlimited users who are above their limit will be able to keep their increased storage over 1TB. The same goes for free users who will be able to access their stored files for at least 12 months as well. Given this wording, we can expect that users might not be able to add files to their OneDrive till they’ve decreased their use to below the limits once the policy takes place.

The move to cut back on unlimited users comes as some outliers are using as much as 75TB of storage, about 14,000 times more than the average user. This puts the average user at about 5.7GB of usage. Interestingly enough, even though the focus of the policy change is on unlimited users, the new amount of free storage offered 5GB (down from 15+15GB Camera Roll Bonus), is just a tad short of what an average user will need. Older SkyDrive users will be hit even harder as they drop from a potential free 40GB down to 5GB, an 87.5% cut in capacity. At least Microsoft is offering a 1-year subscription to Office365 + 1TB of OneDrive for those willing to provide credit card details, though this might be upsetting to paying users.

With OneDrive integrated so deeply into Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, Microsoft is really doing a disservice to their brand with such a move. 5GB of cloud storage isn’t much these days and even the top tier plan of 1TB won’t do much when many users are not sporting multiple TerraBytes of data on their devices. By pulling such a switch from unlimited to limited, Microsoft risks losing the trust of users and future more users may be more hesitant to commit. It seems like a more nuanced approach that offered unlimited with conditions or tiers about 5-10TB would have been better this nuclear option. In the end, Microsoft wasn’t able to deliver the unlimited storage it promised.

Microsoft Ends Unlimited OneDrive Storage Due to ‘User Abuse’

Microsoft’s cloud storage service has proved to be incredibly popular due to its unlimited data policy. However, reports from The Wall Street Journal suggest some users have taken advantage of the unlimited storage and forced Microsoft to cap the data to 1 Terabyte. Additionally, Microsoft decided to remove the 100GB and 200GB options and implement a basic 50GB tier for £1.99/$1.99 per month. On another note, the service’s free storage is now being cut from 15GB to 5GB.

Microsoft released a statement regarding the revised OneDrive policy and said:

“Since we started to roll out unlimited cloud storage to Office 365 consumer subscribers, a small number of users backed up numerous PCs and stored entire movie collections and DVR recordings. In some instances, this exceeded 75 [terabytes] per user or 14,000 times the average,”

Although, the rollout shouldn’t affect existing customers:

“If you are using more than 5 GB of free storage, you will continue to have access to all files for at least 12 months after these changes go into effect in early 2016. In addition, you can redeem a free one-year Office 365 Personal subscription (credit card required), which includes 1 TB of OneDrive storage.”

“Current customers of standalone OneDrive storage plans (such as a 100 or 200 GB plans) are not affected by these changes.”

This isn’t a surprising revelation as unlimited storage usually involves a fair usage policy. Microsoft’s was quite naive in offering truly uncapped storage and should have known how some users might behave. Although, I strongly believe if a company advertises unlimited storage, it shouldn’t restrict the amount of data allowed per month.

ASUSTOR Releases ADM 2.5 Beta

ASUSTOR announced the release of the ASUSTOR Data Master (ADM) 2.5 beta version which contains updates and features that focus on file security and backup. The ADM 2.5 beta is open to all ASUSTOR NAS users and it can be downloaded now from the official site.

ADM 2.5 beta provides a variety of enhanced core functions and new applications including iSCSI LUN snapshots for virtual storage, fast and flexible internal backup and shared folder based network recycle bins. Newly added apps for this version include the Syslog Server App, a management tool that enhances network maintenance productivity and the DataSync for Microsoft OneDrive App, which syncs the Microsoft OneDrive service with ASUSTOR NAS.

A great time save in this setup is the newly added iSCSI LUN snapshots and a snapshot manager. It provides almost instantaneous creation of snapshots and can save a significant amount of time and storage capacity when compared with traditional LUN backups. The snapshot manager helps users to view, manage, and restore the up to 256 snapshots that can be created for each LUN.

The Network Recycle Bin also got an update and now retains the original directory structure better and allows you to more easily recover accidentally deleted files including their file permissions and user settings. They’re also available for each shared folder now, giving the user the ability to enable it where needed and leave it out where it would be annoying. Another network improvement is the Syslog server that centrally aggregates system logs from various network devices.

The last addition is one that will be extra handy for those who upgraded to Windows 10. ASUSTOR ADM 2.5 beta supports Microsoft’s OneDrive and allows each individual ADM account to log into a OneDrive account and combine the power of cloud storage with your NAS. Synchronization works both ways and you can also just up and download files manually as you want.

As mentioned, the ADM 2.5 beta upgrade is available for download now on the official ASUSTOR Beta Program mini-site.

 

How To Turn Bing System Web Results Off in windows 10

Windows 10 with Cortana has been received with mixed reactions due to certain bugs and privacy issues, but users have also found another annoying feature which integrates with a system file search. If you would like to search for something in particular which does not directly match a system setting or installed app, Cortana taps into Bing and brings up a list of web results by default, which is a handy other half tool. This can be frustrating instead of the simpler searching your local hard drive for relevant files. In order to only search locally, users have to click on the “My Stuff” button in the search results.

If you would like a quicker way around this, then here it is, firstly, you do need to disable your personal assistant Cortana, Everytime I hear that name it reminds me of that dreadful Clean Bandit Windows phone Ad that was on every second. To disable it, open the Cortana/search interface and click the Notebook icon before clicking on and selecting settings, once done, move the “Cortana” slider to off. Addendum to this, Microsoft still stores all personal information which has been supplied to this feature on its servers.

Then open the search interface again and select the Settings cog. In the menu that opens, move the “Search online and include web results” slider to off to disable Bing’s search integration. And that is pretty much it, any searches from now on will only focus on your local files, although what Microsoft call local could be in China for all we know.

This won’t search your OneDrive files as this has been integrated into the default option.

Thank you PC World, not that one, for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of naldotech

 

OneDrive Can Finally Sync Shared Folders

The long-awaited option to synch shared folders on OneDrive is finally here. Microsoft finally started to roll out an update that allows users to sync content in shared folders and have it pushed to other users as soon as the files get synced.

Up until now, Google Drive and Dropbox took the lead in sharing folders and making it easier to collaborate with other people on the same projects. I personally preferred Dropbox so far due to the fact that it synced files and delivered the updated files to colleagues almost instantly (depending on the internet speed, of course). However, as Microsoft wants to integrate OneDrive in its upcoming Office 2016 suite, changes needed to be made.

Besides, synching folders in OneDrive was one of the top upvoted features in Microsoft’s feedback forum, so it was bound to be implemented sooner or later. You may not have the feature yet, but Microsoft is said to have started gradually rolling out the update to users. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS X will get the aforementioned update, and yes, it seems that Windows 8.1 will be skipped. OneDrive Director of Product Management, Angus Logan, tells that Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 and this might be a way to ‘force’ users to update to the latest Microsoft OS.

It seems that Microsoft is moving one step closer to helping businesses collaborate and make it easier to share and sync files, but is it enough to get you to switch to OneDrive? We like to know what software you are using to share folders. Is it Dropbox, Google Drive, or will you switch to OneDrive in the end? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of macitynet.it

The Privacy Question Of Windows 10

Windows 10 is out as of today (Wednesday 29th July 2015) and on the surface is a major improvement over the much maligned Windows 8. This should be excellent news for consumers, which it is to a large extent, but what is lurking under the hood in terms of privacy?

Well, according to the Windows 10 piracy and service agreement (even word knows where I am going with this as I typed privacy and this was changed to piracy) There are a few settings which you might want to take note of.

Data Sync

Firstly, Microsoft has implemented “Data Syncing” by default, this means when you sign in with your Windows account, the operating system immediately syncs settings and data to the companies servers. This includes your browser history, favourites and the websites you currently have open as well as saved app, website and mobile hotspot passwords and Wi-Fi network names and passwords.

You can opt out of this if you look under “settings” but just to be clear, you are already opted in to Data Sync unless you decide that you would rather not have your history on Microsoft’s servers.

Information Cortana shares

Like the idea of voice assistant “Cortana” you might also like to know what data is also shared within this feature, which includes information such as your device location, data from calendars, the apps you use, data from emails and texts, who you call, your contacts, how often you use your device (takes in a deep breath) What music you like, alarm settings, if you have the lock screen on, what you view and purchase, your voice input as well as nicknames, names of people and appointments, whether or not you’re building an underground lair aaannnndddd how often you interact with them on your device. Granted Cortana is designed to “learn” from analysing information, a lot of information as it turns out.

Microsoft’s encryption and collection of data

The terms and conditions also state that Microsoft will collect app use data for apps that run on Windows’ and ‘data about the networks you connect to” Windows 10 will also generate a unique advertising ID for each user on each device, this can and probably will be used by developers and ad networks to profile you. You can turn advertising profiling off in the settings, which might be worth a look.

Like the idea of encrypting your drive? It might be worth mentioning that your BitLocker recovery key will be backed up to your OneDrive account.

Disclosing data

Now for the killer privacy lacking feature, the following is what Microsoft defines as to who they might disclose your data to.

“We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services”

This is not clear when the criteria would be met and who they might disclose private data in folders to. Behind the glossy façade lays at the very least a few questionable policies which might infringe on basic liberties. If you’re using Windows 10, I would have another look at the settings to see what can be turned off, that is unless you’re happy with Microsoft’s new arrangements with its customers.

Thank You thenextweb, Microsoft Privacy and service agreement

Image courtesy of christianpost

Microsoft Listed the Features You Won’t See in Windows 10

As the release of Microsoft’s latest distribution of Windows approaches, we all need to be informed on what changes to expect from the company. This is why the company listed a few deprecated features for users to know what the final build will miss compared to previous versions.

Of course, we will see some driver compatibility issues at first with older hardware, but we are more interested in what features are not included compared to Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. From what we can see, Microsoft is stripping out the Media Center completely, along with Windows 7’s gadgets.

Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts Games will be removed as soon as users upgrade to Windows 10, but the latest distribution is said to come with a new version of the latter games named Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Minesweeper. Also, I don’t think anyone is using a Floppy Disk nowadays, but it’s nice to see you can still get support for it through additional drivers. The full list of deprecated features can be viewed below:

Feature deprecation section

  • If you have Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, or Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center and you install Windows 10, Windows Media Center will be removed.
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
  • Windows 7 desktop gadgets will be removed as part of installing Windows 10.
  • Windows 10 Home users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available. Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the ability to defer updates.
  • Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts Games that come pre-installed on Windows 7 will be removed as part of installing the Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft has released our version of Solitaire and Minesweeper called the “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” and “Microsoft Minesweeper.”
  • If you have a USB floppy drive, you will need to download the latest driver from Windows Update or from the manufacturer’s website.
  • If you have Windows Live Essentials installed on your system, the OneDrive application is removed and replaced with the inbox version of OneDrive.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Microsoft “Office Lens” Document Scanner App for Android Beta Released

Microsoft just released the Android beta app for “Office Lens”, an app that allows you to capture notes, business cards, receipts, and other printed material to be saved as a digital file. The app can also capture things like whiteboards and save them as a digital file, a useful tool for capturing meeting notes in the office.

The written text will be recognized with OCR, transforming what was written into text that you can edit. Using the app is very simple, and to start you just open the app and use the camera to capture your image.  The app takes care of the rest by framing, cropping, and enhancing the image. The resulting file can be saved to your gallery, Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote, or as a PDF. To get started with the app you will need to join the beta community on Google+ and sign up to test the app.

Source: Android Police

Dropbox Users Can Get 100GB Free OneDrive Storage

In an attempt to pull Dropbox users over to OneDrive, Microsoft is offering anyone with a Dropbox account 100GB of free storage (for one year). If you visit the OneDrive site and register your Dropbox account, you’ll immediately get your big storage increase – a massive amount compared to the measly 2GB you get for free with Dropbox.

It is only for a year though, so who knows what would happen to the stuff you have stored over the standard 25GB when that year is up. With that in mind though, it’s pretty clear Microsoft isn’t being totally a good samaritan, such a deal will undoubtedly lure in more OneDrive users who will then feel inclined to pay the subscription fees once their free year is up.

Still, if you need 125GB right now, there’s no better place for you. Be sure to have a fast upload speed if you’re thinking of using it all at once though.

Source: The Next Web

HP Announces Mini PC With Just 32GB Storage

Hard drives with ridiculous amounts of storage have become cheap these days, really cheap. Many low-end desktops and laptops now come with 500GB+. So why has HP just unveiled a machine with only 32GB of storage at CES? Because they want to make things even cheaper. Using the cloud.

The Stream mini costs only $180 and is designed to be a full-fledged Windows-based desktop PC. The machine comes with a low-end Celeron processor and 2GB RAM. It also comes with that exceptionally low 32GB of storage. However, it is worth mentioning that it also comes with a two-year subscription to the OneDrive cloud service, giving users 200GB up in the cloud. It also only uses 45 watts of power, which is less power consumed than that of most lightbulbs.

This little machine, with such low specs and only 2 USB ports, seems to be a big bet on HPs part on the usefulness of cloud computing. We’ve seen it with Chromebooks – machines that use an OS that is effectively designed for the cloud, but never on a desktop PC running Windows. It’ll be interesting to see if this works.

HP isn’t risking everything on this though, there’s a version of the machine just called ‘Stream’ that carries a much more appropriate 500GB, perhaps the company’s strategy just in-case nobody’s comfortable with so little local storage.

Source: The Verge

E-Mail Startup Acompli Acquired by Microsoft

Startup e-mail app Acompli has been snapped up Microsoft. The moves surprised no one, since news of the deal accidentally leaked last week when a blog draft with the url http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2014/11/25/microsoft-acquires-acompli/, written by Microsoft Vice President Rajesh Jha, turned up on RSS feeds.

Acompli’s free e-mail app, for iOS and Android devices, has garnered many positive reviews since its release earlier this year. It supports Gmail and Microsoft Exchange integration – which likely brought the app to the attention of its new owner – as well as Dropbox, iCloud, and OneDrive.

Source: engadget

OneDrive Receives Big Update from Microsoft

Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service has been lagging behind competitors in terms of upload functionality and file size limits for a while now. With the hotly contested cloud storage industry in tightly locked competition, Microsoft have finally upped their game – offering the ability to sync files that are larger than 2GB in size, as well as having a new file size limit of 10GB. Whilst that maximum file size won’t fit a massive video file, it’ll surely be adequate enough for most who are using the service.

On top of the update, Microsoft’s expanded the functionality of uploads – which now allows desktop clients to easily share files stored on OneDrive with other people through the use of a simple right click of a file. It’ll allow you to email the file, tweet or pass around a direct link to your upload. On top of this, the OneDrive Web interface has been given a fresh coat of paint – and now allows Chrome users the ability to upload entire folders directly into OneDrive. In the past, Chrome users would be forced to upload files individually to the service – not only creating major headaches for Chrome users, but also making the OneDrive service far inferior to the likes of major competitors such as DropBox. To check out the updates, visit Microsoft’s OneDrive site here.

Thanks to Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

Image curtsey of Microsoft.

Windows 9 To Allow Cloud-Based System Image Back-Ups

Remembering to backup your operating system is something 90% of us probably forget to do, with Windows 9 that could change. Famous Windows leaker WZOR has explained that Windows 9 will featured a cloud-based backup system. Windows 9 will automatically backup images of your system’s OS to your OneDrive account meaning should your OS drive ever suffer damage or your OS becomes irrecoverably damaged, you can just download your most recent OS image from your OneDrive account and apply it to your current boot drive, or a new boot drive if your last one broke-down, and you’re good to go. This feature certainly makes sense from Microsoft’s perspective as they have already integrated OneDrive into Windows 8.X and furthermore this would act as a great opportunity for Microsoft to expand OneDrive with even more users.

What do you think about an integrated cloud backup system? Good idea or a security risk?

Source: WZOR

Image courtesy of CloudStorageBest.com

Chinese Authorities Pay an ‘Unexpected’ Visit to Microsoft Offices

Microsoft offices from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu have been unexpectedly visited by the Chinese State Administration for Industry & Commerce, according to a report from Reuters. A spokesperson for the company has confirmed the visit, but declined to give a reason for the inspection ‘outside of working hours’.

The company is said to have become a target for the Chinese government since former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, revealed the various spying programs enforced by the agency, including PRISM. However, Microsoft states that its goal is to provide quality products, security and reliability to customers.

“We aim to build products that deliver the features, security and reliability customers expect and we’re happy to answer the government’s questions.” the company’s spokesperson stated.

The Chinese state media have been out to get American tech firms since the NSA leaks went online, calling for “severe punishment” for companies found to be helping the U.S. government steal secrets and monitor the country’s activities. Microsoft’s OneDrive has even been targeted by activists this month, having its services disrupted in China.

Further anti-U.S. activities have been stated to be present in central government offices, where the Chinese have banned installing and/or using Windows 8 on new computers. The ban has been stated to still be in effect even today.

Given the above, Microsoft still plans to release its Xbox One console in China this September, while also aiming to form ties with China Telecom Corp and e-commerce company, JD.com Inc.

Thank you Reuters for providing us with this information

Microsoft Has Officially Changed SkyDrive’s Name To OneDrive

Microsoft has announced that it will change its popular cloud service name from SkyDrive to OneDrive. That time has come, and now we can see it from ourselves. Those of you who want to access Microsoft’s Skydrive will be redirected to the OneDrive page.

“Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get all of your favorite stuff in one place – one place that is accessible via all of the devices you use every day, at home and at work. Because let’s face it, until now, cloud storage services have been pretty hard to use, and the vast majority of us still have our stuff spread out everywhere,” said Microsoft’s Chris Jones. “In fact, according to a recent poll, at least 77 percent of people who are familiar with the cloud still have content stored on a device that is not backed up elsewhere. We want to change that.”

The official web page is now onedrive.live.com, something a bit confusing for novice users, but essentially all functionality is similar to the old SkyDrive, however with a new intro interface (if you haven’t already logged in). One logged in, everything will be the same as before so as not to confuse anyone used to the SkyDrive interface. Also , a tutorial and presentation of the OneDrive can be viewed once logged in.

It is said that new users who sign up will receive 7GB of free storage space and an additional 500MB for each additional user they invite to the service. In addition to that, users who opt into auto backing up images from their smartphone receive an additional 3GB of free storage space.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown

Say Goodbye To SkyDrive And Welcome To OneDrive

Microsoft is apparently attempting to change the name of their popular cloud storage platform, SkyDrive, to a more ‘combined’ name, specifically OneDrive. This comes as a response to the dispute lost back in July when Microsoft lost its trademark right of using “SkyDrive” to UK British Sky Boradcast.

The change is set to occur sometime in the following weeks, however no official launch date has been revealed. Microsoft is reportedly going to move all current SkyDrive and Skydrive Pro accounts, along with their user data, over to the OneDrive database once the platform is finished. We just have to hope nothing goes ‘wrong’ and people start losing data from their accounts. As previous migrations from various companies went in the past, it is also recommended to save any important data on your SkyDrive accounts in other places as well to avoid any ‘unwanted’ incidents.

Besides the trademark change, Microsoft is reportedly going to add some new features to the upcoming platform: “Get ready for an even better place to store and share your favorite things across all your favourite devices,” as it states on the developing OneDrive page. However, getting excited about new features at this point is probably useless, since Microsoft is known for their ‘new’ features being just refreshed versions of old ones.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4NsPPUDjyU[/youtube]

But if indeed new features are coming to OneDrive, it will most probably be photo and video sharing, as Microsoft’s promo video points out. The concept and vision of OneDrive is fairly simple, one place for everything you want to save, either music, video, photos or files, all in ‘One’ place, one ‘Drive’.

“One place for all of your photos and videos. One place for all of your documents. One place that is seamlessly connected across all the devices you use. You want OneDrive for everything in your life.” as the OneDrive blog states.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of PC World