Microsoft announces OneDrive storage plan downgrades

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 3, 2015
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Microsoft

Microsoft announced yesterday that it will make changes to the storage plans of its online file hosting and synchronization service OneDrive and to OneDrive storage given to Office 365 subscribers.

The changes affect existing users of the service as well as future users. Several of the plans provided by OneDrive or other Microsoft services that provide access to OneDrive as a bonus are downgraded.

These changes are necessary according to Microsoft because the system has been abused by a small number of users who used more than 14,000 times the average quote.

In particular, the following changes affect existing OneDrive users:

  1. Office 365 Home, Personal and University customers are limited to 1 TB of OneDrive storage instead of unlimited storage.
  2. The 100GB and 200GB OneDrive plans are discontinued. They are replaced by a 50GB plan for $1.99 per month in early 2016.
  3. Free storage will be reduced from 15GB to 5GB for all free users.
  4. The camera roll bonus of 15GB will be discontinued.

Many of the changes announced affect existing users as well as new users. Existing users may run into situations where they use more OneDrive storage than their new limits allow them to.

Microsoft notes that it is aware of that, and that it tries to make the transition "as easy as possible for customers".

What does that mean?

  1. Office 365 customers who use more than 1TB of storage will be notified that 1TB is the new limit. They have "at least 12 months" in which they can stay on the status quo.
  2. Office 365 subscribers may request a refund because of the service change.
  3. Free users who use more than 5 Gigabyte of storage do have 12 months as well. They get a free one-year Office 365 personal subscription offer.
  4. Customers who use OneDrive standalone storage plans are not affected by the change.

What happens if you don't reduce excess storage during the grace period?

  1. Microsoft plans to inform OneDrive users about the change 90 days in advance.
  2. If users don't react in that time period, the account will be set to read-only. Files can still be viewed and downloaded, but new files cannot be added and existing files cannot be edited anymore.
  3. The account will be locked after 9 months. Users may no longer access the content on OneDrive unless they take action.
  4. If there is still excess storage after 1 year, the content may be deleted.

For Office 365 subscribers, the following applies:

  1. Office 365 customers are notified about the change. They have at least 12 months starting on November 2 to make changes to the account.
  2. The account becomes read-only after that period. Access to the files is granted for at least 6 months afterwards.
  3. The account will be locked after the six month grace period.
  4. If there is still excess storage after 1 year, the content may be deleted.

OneDrive users have two options to comply with the new storage quotes. They may remove files to get below the quota, or, sign-up for the new 50GB plan or Office 365 and get 1TB of storage.

Office 365 subscribers who use more than 1TB of storage can remove files only to comply with the new terms.

OneDrive or Office 365 subscribers may check the status of their storage on this page.

Some questions remain unanswered. For instance, how do locked or deleted accounts affect Windows 10 users?

The new storage quotas pale against what company's like Google offer. Google users can increase storage by 100GB for $1.99 or by 1TB for D9.99 per month. Unlike Microsoft customers, Google customers may sign-up for larger storage options as well.

The free OneDrive offering gets less attractive because of the change as well. Google users get 15GB of free storage while Microsoft customers only 5GB.

Closing Words

I'm puzzled by Microsoft's reasoning for the change. While I can understand that it is not in the best interest of the company to allow users to store unlimited data on company servers, it should have been clear right from the start that this can happen.

What is particularly unclear to me is why the change is affecting free users of the service as the reason Microsoft gives for making the change does not mention free accounts at all.

The change puts Microsoft at a severe disadvantage. Especially the lack of storage plans, the only one being 50GB or an Office 365 subscription to get 1TB, and the lack of options to buy extra storage, need to be mentioned in this regard.

Now You: Are you affected by the change?

Microsoft announces OneDrive storage plan downgrades
Article Name
Microsoft announces OneDrive storage plan downgrades
Microsoft announced yesterday that it will downgrade OneDrive and Office 365 storage plans for existing and new customers.

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  1. Devin M said on May 25, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    This really is a bit disappointing. Microsoft was the only company offering cloud storage for a reasonable price for a while there. Most other companies were charging $20/mo for just a measly 20-30GB of cloud storage.

    At the same time, I don’t know why some people are making such a ridiculous fuss about. This is a business. Things are changing daily. There are very few, if any, companies that DON’T do exactly the same thing; raise prices, lower quantity. Other companies have finally caught up, almost. Dropbox is 1TB for $9.99, Apple iCloud has a 200GB option for $2.99 a month, and $9.99 for 1TB (this hoenstly surprises me, coming from Apple). All you get is the cloud storage, though.

    Microsoft still gives you 1TB AND full Office 365 for only $6.99 a month or under $6/mo if you purchase a year at a time. You get an even better deal for $9.99/mo (under $9 paying yearly chunks), because you can add that to FIVE other users. So, you have access to a potential 5TB for that price. You also have the OneDrive App avaialble for ANY device. Be it Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Amazon. Amazon is a big one for me, but I know it might not be for others. OneDrive is the only one that has an app on Amazon, without using third-party apps to connect to other cloud services.

    They have made a few changes here that suck, yes, but they do still offer good prices on services. You are all looking at these few little things. I am sorry, but if all you have is a puny 15-25GB that you are worried about, freaking suck it up, for cryin’ out loud! Life isn’t fair, get over it.

    The unlimited cloud for Office 360 subs was announced, but I know most users, including myself, never actually got that upgrade. Honestly, if you are using more than 1TB of cloud storage as a home user, I fear for you (lol).

  2. Anonymous said on January 26, 2016 at 2:14 am

    I have 25gb free because I signed up near the beginning. I was unsure if this 15gb to 5gb also applied to 25gb. I was also worried that if I clicked the button, that I would end up with 15gb. I contacted OneDrive support, and wasted an hour of my life with a completely incompetent “support” person who did not even know about the 15gb to 5gb change – he tried to tell me it didn’t exist, then tried to deny the article because it wasn’t from Microsoft (even though it linked to Microsoft). He then refused to escalate me to his boss – I had to ask 7 times, and eventually his boss came on and made excuses for him. But the end result – the boss seemed confident that I should follow the same process for a 25gb account, and that I would be able to keep my 25gb. So an absolute shambles in every conceivable way to end up in the same position I was in 2 months ago, maybe, if I can trust Microsoft, which is a pretty big ask right now.

  3. Nikita said on December 16, 2015 at 2:17 am

    I wish OneDrive will be better in time. It becaming worse.
    It mostly applies to the speed of service, but now I have double trouble. I have about 70gb of data in standalone OneDrive, I will be glad to use it more, but the speed of sync is awfull for it, now I even need to free up my quota.

    I don’t want to use Personal Office365. I only need OneDrive for personal using, and I have Biz Office365 – but isn’t a place for personal data.

    OneDrive is bad.

  4. Gage said on November 5, 2015 at 6:10 am

    Amazon Cloud Drive offers unlimited storage for $60.00 US a year Surprisingly I haven’t seen it advertised all that much. The client is very basic and uploading is completely manual but I would think that will change over time.
    Has anyone else tried it? I am currently using the free trial but plan on signing up.

    1. Devin M said on May 25, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      I do not care for it. I have unlimited photo storage, but I really do NOT like their interface. Drop box and OneDrive have options for me to use just a regular file folder system on my hard drive to sync, this is not available with Amazon. You can use the desktop app to either upload to download, not set a folder to automatically sync, while also providing a physical copy on your computer. It can be a pain trying to track down where the files you upload are and photos you sync from your camera roll. I have also had issues with it messing up other files that are not basic music/video/document (primarily installations for utilities I use often on different devices).

      @Julia – One thing to note; that unlimited photo storage is only for photos. Once that 5GB fills up with video (which, for me, was VERY quickly), you are left with no more space for other files or video. Also, Linux is not really an option for the average user. For some who ONLY use the web browser, certainly, but using things like Wine or finding other alternatives to software and actually installing them can be a tremendous feat.

      I absolutely love Amazon. The best customer service I have ever worked with in any of our various situations, and they really do a good job with their services and OS for their tablets/FireTV/FireStick, but their cloud storage leaves much to be desired.

    2. Julia said on November 8, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      I am an Amazon prime member and I take advantage of their unlimited photo storage option……we have converted all but one of our computers to Linux distributions and absolutely love it…..there are work arounds for watching Amazon prime videos on our computer using Google Chrome and I have dumped Quicken and Microsoft and use free open source programs. Good bye One drive and Microsoft.

  5. Peter said on November 4, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I currently have all my docs, video, music and photos on OneDrive. Its comes it at 360GB. I’d really have to go some to use up to 1TB! Given that your also getting the latest version of office plus the storage for around £60 quid a year I still think it a good deal. For users who’s needs are larger (and don’t mind a ‘no frills’ service that will simply sync or backup your docs without OneDrive’s ‘bells and whistles’) I’d suggest checking out French company hubiC. They have various plans (including a free 25GB option which I currently use) one of which offers 10TB of storage for 5 Euros/month or 50 Euros per year. You can check it out here: In my experience of using the free version for the past year I’ve been happy with it and indeed hubiC handles renames and files moves better than any other cloud service I’ve seen. I don’t need 10TB storage but I am going to up to 100GB (which will allow me to sync all my docs and photos plus some video and music) which works out at just 1 Euro (around 80p/month).

  6. DonGateley said on November 4, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Bait and switch. No one in their right mind would think that an unlimited plan could work. This move was intended from the gitgo.

  7. Anonymous said on November 4, 2015 at 6:39 am

    Why not just penalize the abusers? Instead of having others who use it appropriately suffer the consequences.

    1. Corky said on November 4, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Because it’s not about people abusing the service, the initial offer was intended to get people to sign up with OneDrive & Office365, it’s a standard subscription based contract marketing ploy, offer something to get people signing up to your service and then withdraw it when the contract is up for renewal, if you’ve got your maths and research right enough people will remain with you to offset the cost of the initial offer.

  8. war59312 said on November 4, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Wow! So stupid. Bye bye Microsoft!

    Not surprised though. Anything to make an extra $.

  9. Dan said on November 3, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    Not only this huge back step in OneDrive storage for “normal” users is so disappointing, but the fact that OneDrive sync is a total pain compared with Dropbox. And it is also so so so slow vs Dropbox, that it doesn’t even worth mentioning.
    Bye OneDrive! Long live Google Drive and Dropbox.
    Bye Satya, and God bless you for helping me move away from your cloud storage.

  10. Philip M. said on November 3, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks Microsoft – you’re about to save me and my clients a lot of money!

    I’ve been a fan, professionally and personally, since Windows 3.1. I installed computers, servers, network operating systems, databases and utilities, intranet applications, local and cloud-based productivity suites, and dozens of miscellaneous apps. I suffered through your mistakes and tolerated your arrogance in the name of best-of-breed software and productivity. I thought you respected your users. Turns out I was wrong. “Respect” isn’t the word; it’s more like “disdain.”

    I’m offended. I feel used. But not totally stupid. I’m ready to purge every bit of Microsoft software from my personal computers and networks and replace it with free or low-cost Open Source software. Once I get that working, I’ll start recommending similar configurations to my company and my company’s clients.

    I recognize that the road will be long and hard. But I’ll be lazy no more. Microsoft may disdain my clients but I don’t. Does anyone else feel the same way? Is there an existing “dump Microsoft” movement I can latch onto? (Anybody want to buy some Surface computers?)

    Microsoft’s high-handed treatment of it’s cloud storage users is, for me, the straw that breaks the camel’s back. So thanks, Microsoft, for finally getting me to pay attention, for prodding me out of my comfort zone, and for saving me and my client’s some money.

  11. Eric L. said on November 3, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    I can only imagine that some bean counter figured out that with OneDrive becoming the default storage location that people would actually use that space, so the price needs to reflect the fact that the service cannot be as “oversold” as it was before.

    Another possibility, with Windows 10 being a free upgrade, they’re going to nickle and dime us on the cloud integration side. The poorly informed, lazy, or rich will just pay Microsoft, since it is what the default is, without shopping around.

  12. wybo said on November 3, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    In my XP days I used OneDrive. It offered 25 GB. Once I got 8.1 I discontinued the whole lot. I liked Mega much better. They also offered a free 50 GB. I never looked back.

  13. Corky said on November 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    To be fair the changing of the contact isn’t exclusive to Microsoft, every subscription based company does it, they offer something that will entice new customers to signup and then revise the contact when it expires, sure some customers will leave but if they’ve done their research enough will stay to make the initial cost of the offer worthwhile.

  14. Andrew said on November 3, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    I can’t help but laugh at microsoft being microsoft. I swear they are so inconsistent with their names and offerings it’s actually entertaining. Still, this is one of the main reasons why I don’t rely on cloud services.

  15. sludgehound said on November 3, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Stupids. Course MS is known for scare & reverse policies as in recent Windows 10 enforced on Win 7, 8 users then rolled back. Never know if they alter policy early 2016. Then have ever right to dump on users who warehouse the system servers with their own glug designed for personal use. Make them buy a business license.

  16. R Warder said on November 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Most changes come next year. And arguably, Microsoft is offering users even more data for free for a year – you’ll be able to get 1TB for free for a year instead of 30GB if you sign up for the free Office365 plan.

    The article does mention Google being cheaper at the 100GB level, but Microsoft is definitely cheaper if you have a lot of data as their 1TB plan is only $6.99/month compared to Google’s $9.99.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 3, 2015 at 6:54 pm

      True, but if you need 1TB and 1MB, you cannot use Microsoft anymore.

  17. Nebulus said on November 3, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Cloud is the future, right, Microsoft ? LOL

  18. Patrick said on November 3, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    SUCKERS for being taken in by MS.

    If they cared about their clients they would penalize the really heavy users of one drive instead of lumping everyone under the bad guy label.

    ‘Never leaving Win 7, NEVER NEVER NEVER’

  19. Helen Klingdongth said on November 3, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    A simple solution would be not to use Microsoft Onedrive anymore. Honestly, how can anybody be surprised about this when looking at the history of business practices from this company ? Don’t worry, there will be coming more and more nasty surprises. But first they have to get all the lemmings under one roof. And they will.

  20. thor said on November 3, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Good riddance. None of my mobile devices has less than 64 GB now, so I don’t really care anymore. Just one question… with all this talk about “unlimited” with 365 Personal – AFAIK, it’s always been 1 TB (at least from what I’ve seen written on pretty much all Windows tablets I checked in the last year or so)?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 3, 2015 at 2:40 pm
  21. Odin said on November 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    What about the 10GB “loyalty bonus”?

    1. Dan said on November 4, 2015 at 5:39 am


      I don’t currently use OneDrive except as a backup for my mp3 collection. It is less than 40GB but more than the 5GB I’ll end up with if they remove all bonuses. Thankfully I have 39GB of free storage from Spideroak so I can migrate my mp3 collection. Still, it is a shame to lose free OneDrive storage.

    2. R Warder said on November 3, 2015 at 6:49 pm

      It’s still on my account. No mention of going.

  22. Mushaf said on November 3, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Just when I started to believe in Microsoft again, they proved me wrong.

    I am hugely disappointed that they are reducing the free storage quota. When they launched SkyDrive they initially offered 7 GB for free users. Now they are going below that amount!

    Here’s what I think about why they’re reducing storage for free users: They didn’t plan this service well enough. Now that OneDrive is integrated into Windows 10 and they are aggressively pushing their old users – specially Windows 7 users who have the biggest market share of the OS – towards it, more and more people will be using OneDrive and MS won’t be able to provide them all with 15 GB of free storage. It’s a shame for a company like them to do such a blunder.

    I’ve lost confidence in MS. This change in OneDrive is going to affect all my MS related decision in future. I’m never gonna trust their services again.

    1. Tim said on November 3, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      @Mushaf – “When they launched SkyDrive they initially offered 7 GB for free users. Now they are going below that amount!”

      It was 25GB initially and stayed that way for a while. They then dropped it down to 7GB later, then up to 15GB, and now finally down to 5GB.

      For people who have been with Microsoft for a while and are one of the few using Windows Phone, this means they are going to be downsized from 40GB to 5GB. This is what they already had before this change.

      15GB Standard storage
      15GB For using a Windows Phone and linking it to OneDrive
      10GB Loyalty bonus

      Not sure which one of Satya’s quotes this falls under. The one about “Mobile First, Cloud First” or the one about wanting people to move from “Needing Windows, to choosing Windows, to loving Windows”

      1. Tim said on November 3, 2015 at 3:53 pm


        The bit about a user using 75TB of data sounds like some PR nonsense they came up with to try and deflect attention from the changes they were making. The fact that they are using a fringe case scenario that Microsoft could have quite easily avoided anyway, is an insult to their users intelligence.

        Someone within Microsoft would have made the conscious decision that being able to advertise Office365 with ‘Unlimited’ OneDrive Storage would produce more sales/hype than the storage cost for dealing with any fringe cases who actually took them up on their unlimited offer. Lets face it, moving 75GB of data over local SATA drives would be headache enough, so uploading that much data over an internet connection, with OneDrive and ISP throttling, really is quite a feat. Even more so considering unlimited storage has only been available for 1 year.

        The reason this announcement doesn’t make any sense is because user abuse isn’t the reason behind it, getting people who are currently using free OneDrive storage to subscribe to either the 50GB plan or Office365 is the real reason.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on November 3, 2015 at 2:37 pm

        This decision is bad. While I can understand it somewhat that Microsoft wants to block users from uploading lots of data to the service, I fail to understand why they have decided to go down that route.

        First, the only reason they give is that some users “exploited” the unlimited data they offered to all users. Common sense should tell them that if they do offer something, that at least some users will take advantage of it to the fullest extent.

        Second, the reason alone does not explain why Microsoft limits data for free users, who are already on limited data plans, as well. It makes no sense and there must be more to it than that.

        Maybe it is a lack of storage resources, but I don’t know if that is the reason or something else.

  23. Marco said on November 3, 2015 at 11:26 am

    I think Mr. Nadella should heavily reconsider Microsoft marketing and communication efforts, because – pardon my French – they currently suck…

    1. Tim said on November 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      I know right.

      When Satya was appointed everyone was singing his praises like he was some sort of god, leaving me feeling like I was living in some sort of parallel universe to everyone else. I had and still have no idea what warranted the hype. Whenever he talks nothing comes out of his mouth but a bunch of gibberish, and the direction Microsoft are going in is the total opposite of what I previously liked about Microsoft for many years.

      As for the article, this is an example of why people should be cautious of anything cloud/subscription based. They draw people in with low hanging fruit, then change the rules once they have them locked in. Like heroin dealers.

      1. Marco said on November 4, 2015 at 6:18 am

        @Tim: I was living in your same parallel universe :-)
        Not to mention the thousands of layoffs at Microsoft…

      2. Nerdebeu said on November 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm

        Exactly what I think about Nadella since the first day and the metaphor of heroin dealers is very fair.

  24. not_black said on November 3, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Microshill cucks on suicide watch.

    1. anon said on November 3, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Epic. This is an objectively bad decision that no one is defending.

  25. Dave said on November 3, 2015 at 10:20 am

    When does this happen?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

      The OneDrive free account changes and OneDrive plan changes go live in early 2016 according to Microsoft. The Office 365 changes seem to apply right away.

  26. anohana said on November 3, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I stored almost 15 GB on my free account. From one day to another I lost everything. Fortunately I uploaded mirrors to Google drive and Mega before that happened. I won’t use again onedrive for any important data, though I have e-mail address.

    1. Devin M said on May 25, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      I have never had any issues with OneDrive. I HAVE actually had issues with Google and Dropbox both, where something apparently did not upload, when it said it did, but was not available on any device. I had deleted the files. They were not sup important, so I did not take precautions a I normally would have, so no big deal. It still happened though. That is a chance that you will have with ANY cloud storage. You might have set the files in your OneDrive and not given it enough online connection time to fully upload. There is always a chance that something can go wrong with ANYTHING technology, storage especially.

      Also, no you should NOT use ANY cloud storage as a primary backup. It is there for backup and access from most devices, but you should ALWAYS have another storage backup physically. Not doing so is just foolish. You are putting all of your data on a cloud server owned by another company, you should not trust that it will ALWAYS be safe and available.

    2. Womble said on November 3, 2015 at 11:05 am

      Cloud storage is intended to give you access to data on the where ever you are. It is not designed as a backup.

      1. seeprime said on November 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm

        Microsoft wants us to make OneDrive our primary storage that users can access from anywhere. That’s never going to happen now. But, yeah, backup use is good,

      2. anohana said on November 3, 2015 at 11:10 am

        So, how will I access to my lost data now (what is not storage? you store data in the cloud so you can access them…)? I’ve never lost any bit of data on Dropbox… or any other cloud.

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