News

Microsoft's OneDrive Plans Mean Feature Changes for Windows 10

Windows 10 users will lose the existing "placeholders" file storage feature once Microsoft goes through with its plans to unify the synchronization engine used with the OneDrive cloud storage service.

Placeholders, which Microsoft also calls "smart files," lets users browse files stored across in the cloud without those files actually taking up disk space on their devices. The feature displays a file's icon and metadata information, while the bits of the actual file are stored in the OneDrive service datacenters.

Windows 10, when it is released later this year, won't include the engine for the placeholders feature. Instead, Microsoft will issue an update to Windows 10 later this calendar year that will add "the core capabilities of placeholders," according to Chris Jones, corporate vice president of OneDrive and SharePoint, who explained the changes to come in a blog post last week.

Jones said that Microsoft is opting to build on the sync engine that's associated with the older Windows 7 and Windows 8 OSes, going forward, instead of the current leading-edge build. Future OneDrive releases will tap a single sync engine that will be used across Windows versions ranging from Windows 7 through Windows 10, he explained.

Microsoft had introduced the placeholders feature in Windows 8.1, which had a different sync engine than the one used for Windows 7/8. There also was a separate sync engine for OneDrive for Business, making three separate sync engines in total.

The sync engine designed for Windows 8.1 was not without problems, according to Jones. He pointed to higher failure rates with the copy, delete and move operations. Some apps didn't work with it. There were download time-out problems. Moreover, people were just confused about whether the placeholder files were indicating that the files were stored on their machines or stored in the cloud.

Jones suggested that most OneDrive users would just see benefits from the new unified sync engine approach that Microsoft plans to take.

Microsoft offers OneDrive as a consumer service and as a business service (which is called "OneDrive for Business"). The OneDrive services have had their storage capacities gradually increased in recent years. Consumers now can get 10GB of free storage. Microsoft promised back in late October that Office 365 subscribers would eventually see "unlimited" OneDrive for Business storage included in the service. Subscribers to the Office ProPlus productivity suite also are getting free access to unlimited OneDrive for Business storage, and that's expected to kick in sometime this month.

It's not clear how the the inclusion of the "core capabilities of placeholders" will look in Windows 10 when that OS gets updated. Jones didn't provide those details. He did say that Microsoft plans to release a Mac client version of One Drive for Business sometime later this month. Microsoft also is working to synchronize shared folders when used with the OneDrive service. The shared folders sync capability is expected to be added sometime this summer. Window 10, when released, will include this new shared folders feature, Jones stated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

Featured

  • 2022 Microsoft Conference Calendar: For Partners, IT Pros and Developers

    Here's your guide to all the IT training sessions, partner meet-ups and annual Microsoft conferences you won't want to miss.

  • Datto Goes Private as Its Acquisition by Kaseya Is Finalized

    Kaseya's $6.2 billion acquisition of Datto, in the works for two years, is now complete, taking Datto from a publicly traded company to a private one.

  • Nebula

    Microsoft Expands on AI Face Standardization Rules and Guidelines

    Microsoft on Tuesday announced Version 2 of Microsoft's "Responsible AI Standard" document, which includes a disclosed a use-case approval process for its Azure Face API, Computer Vision, and Video Indexer customers, was released this week.

  • Road with Ocean Image

    Metaverse Standards Forum Created in the Spirit of Cooperation

    More than 30 tech organizations have come together to form the Metaverse Standards Forum, which will work towards standardizing requirements for future metaverse tech.