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OneDrive of Microsoft 365: What it is and how it works

OneDrive is the archive system that will help you bring your files to the Microsoft cloud.

Let's see together what are the primary advantages of this tool!

A little spoiler: OneDrive allows you and your teams to collaborate on the same document in real time and from any device.

What is OneDrive

No matter where you are, you can share resources with whoever you want from any platform you're working on: this is the underlying principle of OneDrive, the cloud storage system of Microsoft 365.

But what is a cloud storage system?

In a nutshell, it's a virtual location where you can save all your documents and files on the Internet.

They can be shared easily and quickly with others, and they can be synced to other devices using the appropriate apps.

What is

It's the ready-to-use SharePoint intranet,
designed to reduce costs and implementation time.

  • Starting price is 2.450€ for a fully-featured intranet.
  • More than 25 features, including Intelligent Search, Document Management, Company News, and Teams Push Notifications.
  • 100% integrated with Microsoft 365, Viva, and Power Platform.

The main advantages of OneDrive

The main advantages of OneDrive are its cross-platform sync and compatibility.

OneDrive allows you to create files on your computer and edit them on a tablet or smartphone while saving all of your changes. Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and Xbox are all supported.

You can access the same file from any device without having to send it via email or save it to a memory stick. Furthermore, you can track changes in real-time and access all previous versions of a document.

Changes can also be made by another person with whom you've shared the file, allowing you to easily collaborate on the same project.

Another significant advantage of OneDrive is the ability to quickly create and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote documents using online versions of these programs.

All you need is a device and an internet connection.

However, after you've synchronized the cloud folder to your desktop, you can access all your stored files even offline.

You won't have to worry about backing up your data because any changes you make will be automatically saved on all synchronized devices. To avoid data loss, all you have to do is enable the autosave option.

How Microsoft OneDrive works

You'll need a Microsoft account and an Outlook, Hotmail, or Live email address to use OneDrive.

If you have a Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 operating system, your Microsoft account is already set up. All you have to do is click on the white cloud next to the date and time on your desktop. Alternatively, go to Start and select OneDrive from the drop-down menu.

Then, enter your Microsoft account information (email address and password) and OneDrive will be immediately available for use.

Click Sign in, log in to your Microsoft account, and select the default location on your computer for the OneDrive folder. This folder contains all of the documents and files that are synchronized with your computer and are stored in the cloud.


OneDrive for Business

OneDrive for Business is a cloud-based storage solution for keeping track of business objectives.

It is managed by the company and allows you to share and collaborate on business documents with colleagues in real time.

Each member of an organization's team has their own storage space (from 1 TB to unlimited storage per user, depending on the type of Microsoft 365 license acquired).

All these features are supported by SharePoint of Microsoft 365.

It is used by OneDrive for Business to give each team member a place to store documents and collaborate with others.

Use OneDrive on your smartphone or tablet

Download the app and log into your business account to use OneDrive on Android and iOS mobile devices.

You can create new folders, upload or edit desired files, and manage data on your mobile device once OneDrive is launched.

You can invite people to view or collaborate with you by sharing files or folders with them.


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The 7 key features of OneDrive

OneDrive is a fantastic tool.

We've identified 7 features that you must know to get the most out of it!


1. Create a link to the files

With OneDrive of Microsoft 365, it is simple to share a document with anyone.

Simply enter a document URL, sit back and relax.

It's effective and quick, and you won't get the dreaded "I can't open the document" message.

You can send documents through Teams too, but there is no true "Share" option. You can copy the file link, but make sure the recipient has permission to view the document in the Teams library before sending it.

OneDrive, on the other hand, has a "Share" option that allows you to send a URL to anyone and is one of the most useful features. You can also refine your sharing options on OneDrive by clicking "Anyone with a link".

2. Get more free space

Most Microsoft 365 and Office 365 plans include 1 TB of storage per user on OneDrive.

Administrators can increase the storage space up to 5TB if there are more than 5 users on the same plan. By submitting a support ticket with Microsoft, you can even go up to 25TB per user if needed.

To increase the storage limit for all users, go to OneDrive's "Administration" and select "Storage," then change the 1024MB setting to the new limit.

There are no extra costs associated with increasing capacity.

3. Request a file that you need

You may occasionally require documents from other users.

A useful feature in OneDrive allows you to make a request.

Users can indeed contact others to request that they upload certain files to a specific folder.

Select a folder on the OneDrive main screen, click on the three dots to the right of the name, and select "Request File" to create a request. A screen similar to the one below will appear:



The "Send File Request" window will appear after you click "Next".

The URL for uploading content to the OneDrive folder is included in the email sent from the form.

In this way, you will be able to gather and concentrate all of the files you need for processing in one place.

4. Enable synchronization

The ability to sync files from a user's PC or laptop is one of the most appreciated features of OneDrive.

Users can work on files locally while the synch service is running, and changes are pushed to the cloud. Furthermore, Documents folder locations can be synchronized, ensuring that important documents are available both locally and in the cloud.

Because the sync service is built into Windows 10, you won't need to download it separately. If this happens, however, you can install the service by going to Start and typing in "OneDrive".

To begin the setup process, click on the OneDrive app. The cloud icon in the system tray will then allow you to access OneDrive.

Alternatively, go to and click "Sync" to enable the client.

You'll also appreciate OneDrive's integration with Windows File Explorer once it's installed.

5. Pay attention to the "File on-demand" function

Imagine this scenario.

A colleague posts several important files on the Teams workgroup.

You have to quit urgently, but you have installed the sync client, so you think, "No problem, I synchronized them to my laptop, and I can see them while I'm outside".

You open the laptop and see a cloud icon next to the files. However, by clicking on a file, it is not accessible.

What happened?

The "File On-Demand" feature is enabled by default, which is what happened.

Content that appears in the cloud is marked as only available in the cloud by the "Files On-Demand" feature. As a result, adding a file to a Teams file repository will not automatically sync.

It won't be available offline until you open the file.

However, if you want to keep an important file or folder on your computer, right-click on it and choose "Always keep on this device".

You can also disable the Files On-Demand function in the OneDrive client by opening it and going to "Help & Settings" -> "Settings", then unchecking the function's checkbox.

6. Set the download speed

You may need to control the flow of data being downloaded at first, especially if OneDrive is being introduced to the company for the first time.

Several companies have experienced issues with critical services slowing down when hundreds or even thousands of new users activate synchronization and begin downloading content at the same time.

Because files stored in the cloud are not automatically downloaded to clients when "File On-Demand" is enabled, it significantly reduces network impact.

The OneDrive sync client has built-in bandwidth controls to help you manage your network.

To view the settings, right-click the OneDrive for Business sync client and select "Settings" -> "Network".


7. Protect data on mobile devices

To make a long story short, OneDrive allows you to protect your files without using third-party apps.

Simply choose a password for your mobile devices and enjoy Microsoft's highest levels of security.

Do you want a complete, ready-to-use intranet?

"Intranet-in-a-box" is the complete service for your company:

  • We offer you a branded intranet already integrated with Microsoft 365 and Viva.
  • We go beyond the limits of a standard corporate site with our 100% customizable features.
  • We update all components to the latest Microsoft standards.

Simplify internal communication and digitize your business with minimal investment.

Giuseppe Marchi

Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and Microsoft 365 since 2010, Giuseppe founded Dev4Side and with the aim of helping companies to have a simpler and more effective working environment.

He works as a consultant for everything related to digital collaboration, intranet portals and Microsoft cloud platforms.

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