Microsoft reduce free online storage limits

If you use Microsoft OneDrive to store documents online you may receive a notification that your free storage allowance is being reduced.

The storage limit for free accounts is to be reduced from 15 GB to 5 GB, the 15 GB camera roll storage bonus will also be discontinued for free accounts.

Microsoft will offer a new 50 GB plan to replaced their previous 100 GB and 200 GB paid plans, so even if you’re paying for storage you’ll get less in the future. They will no longer offer unlimited storage to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University subscribers, however these plans will include 1 TB of OneDrive storage (probably vastly more than most users will ever want.

Microsoft say that they over committed with their free storage limits (corporate speak for we’ve just realised how many people are using it and how much it’s costing us). They say “It was a difficult business decision that came with careful analysis and thought. However, these types of decisions are never easy, adding “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“.

Online storage is useful if you use multiple devices and want your documents available no matter where you are in the world. Storage has become so cheap that we’ve become accustomed to unlimited free use. Microsoft’s new 5 GB limit is relatively small compared to Google, although Google’s 15GB of free storage is shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos – if you don’t delete email and especially large attachments you could soon run out of free storage there too.

If you simply use free storage for documents and spreadsheets it’s unlikely the free limits will ever impact you. The people that are most likely to need more storage are those who store music and video online. It might be time to go back to off-line storage or simply to start paying for the disk space that you use.