Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage service lets you store files online, sync files between PCs, and share files with other users. Anyone can get 5GB of storage for free, and Microsoft offers paid options for folks who need more space than that.
But as of today, if you’re using OneDrive on a Windows PC there’s a new limitation: you can only use OneDrive with a hard drive formatted with the NTFS file system.
Users started to notice an error message this week when using OneDrive with drives formatted with the FAT32, exFAT, or ReFS file systems.
There a few really surprising things about this change:
- Microsoft has released a statement saying that OneDrive was never supposed to work on non-NTFS drives, and it was only an error that allowed it to do so. That error has been corrected, so OneDrive is now working exactly as intended.
- The company made the change without any warning, so it caught many users by surprise. That’s because it was never made clear that OneDrive required NTFS drives to function properly, and people have been using it with other file systems for years.
- It’s also weird that OneDrive for Windows doesn’t support other file systems, since Microsoft offers OneDrive apps for Android and iOS. Devices running those operating systems do not typically have NTFS storage.
So what do you do if you’ve got a storage device you want to sync with OneDrive that’s not using the NTFS file system? You can reformat or convert the drive’s file system (after backing up your data locally, of course), or switch to one of the many other online file storage services, like Dropbox or Box.
But the unannounced change will certainly make things more difficult for people who had been using OneDrive with SD cards or other removable storage devices, which often come formatted to FAT32 or exFAT.
Can you get around this by having a detachable NTFS drive? If so, do you have to have your OneDrive files on that drive? And if so, do you have to trick your computer into thinking that that drive is not removable, like you have to do with Dropbox?
What about all the devices (not just phones) that require other file formats? I am glad I only use Microsoft products at work. Our I.T. department can worry about such B.S.
As for cloud storage, no thanks. I have terabytes of storage available and three different backups. Storage is cheap these days and software for home network backups is easy to use. Just remember to back up the home network and store it off site.
The real answer is after MS announced that long requested features missing from OneDrive circa Win8 were now coming back with their buggy flaws fixed (which is why they were pulled in fist place).
However those features require NTFS as exFAT does not support the functions, MS engineers forgot to tell marketing people why.
No conspiracy just incompetence.
Beware the cloud. Beware the app world. This incident is merely a reminder of how often they suddenly change the rules, disappear, etc. Depend on these at your peril. And as for this, why are you still on Windows? As of Win10 it is officially malware (and for non-Pro users suffers the App problem of updating outside your control so issues like this just pop up and offer no way to roll back or refuse the update) so if you aren’t off it yet you should at least have plans underway to migrate.
John, first off, I am not trolling. I love Linux, but have never been able to get sufficient audio quality. Coincidentally, I just now have been trying to get my headphone jack to stop popping and clicking (Ubuntu). So, yeah, until people chip in and bring Linux audio up to speed, we use Windows.
I agree with some of what you said. I wouldn’t call Win10 “malware”. The loss of user control and privacy was a real blow to people who value them. Unfortunately, for a lot of people moving to another OS isn’t possible. There is software that I need that is only available for Windows. I do highly recommend Linux for people who only need online access and simple software needs (unless you’re an advanced user, then you can do some pretty spectacular things with Linux). I use Ubuntu when I can, and Windows when I have to.
The Linux world is not immune to changing the rules abruptly. I have been using Ubuntu since 8.04. I got used to the gnome desktop, then they made the jarring switch to Unity. Now that I’m used to Unity, they’re making the switch back to gnome. I liked the old gnome, but I prefer Unity to the new gnome. I guess I’ll have to switch to Ubuntu Mate or Kubuntu when 16.04 loses support.
I’m 100% with you on the cloud. Cloud storage isn’t a secure place to store files. Companies can change rules at the drop of the hat, get hacked, go bankrupt, get bought out, etc. Cloud storage should always been seen as temporary for an unknown amount of time.
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