OneDrive: photos in albums count twice against a user's storage quota

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 5, 2023

Microsoft is informing OneDrive customers currently about a planned change that may have a significant impact on storage quotas. From October 16, 2023 on, photos uploaded to OneDrive may count twice against the storage quota.

The change does not affect OneDrive customers who just upload photos to the cloud storage service, but it affects users who use the optional albums feature.

All photos uploaded to OneDrive are stored in the Gallery by default. Microsoft has encouraged users of its Windows operating systems to enable OneDrive syncing of photos, but the feature is also available on other platforms.

These size of the uploaded image files counts against the storage quota of the account. Users who use the albums feature will have the same photos counted against their storage quota again soon.

Albums is an optional feature that OneDrive customers may use to create custom collections of photos and images on the site.

To use the albums feature, OneDrive users may load directly in their preferred web browser. All images uploaded to OneDrive are displayed after authentication on the page.

Albums are created or updated by selecting images in the main Gallery and then selecting the "add to album" option that becomes available. One of the main advantages of albums, besides organizing photos into groups, is the share functionality that Microsoft baked into the feature.

A family could upload their vacation photos to OneDrive, create an album with highlights, and then share access to that album with family members, relatives and friends.

Microsoft's reasoning

Microsoft explains euphemistically in the email that it is "committed to improving your Microsoft 365 experience", which is all that customers get in terms of an explanation. How this change is supposed to improve the use of OneDrive will probably remain Microsoft's secret forever.

The company states in the email that the change may affect the storage quota of customers and that this may push some customers over the limit. To address this, Microsoft is giving customers a temporary storage boost for one year. The email does not offer information on the storage boost, how big it is and whether it is the same for all customers or calculated on an individual basis.

The extra storage expires one year after it has been assigned to an account, at which time users may run into storage issues. In other words, Microsoft is postponing the issue for customers with the help of the temporary storage boost, but it is not addressing it,

Find out how much OneDrive Storage space is used

onedrive storage

Do the following to find out how much storage is used currently on OneDrive:

  1. Load the main OneDrive website in your web browser.
  2. Check the storage information in the left sidebar on the page that opens.

If Albums are used, used storage will increase on OneDrive. There is no easy way to find out by how much, as OneDrive does not provide the information.

Microsoft recommends that users delete media that they no longer need regularly from the service to stay under the storage limit and "avoid service interruption". In an interesting twist, Microsoft is also recommending that users "avoid taking up space with multiple versions of the same photo or video", which is almost cynical.

Users who add photos to album currently are not informed that these photos will count twice against the storage quota soon.

Closing Words

This is the second change that is affecting the storage quota of OneDrive customers negatively. Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced a change that would make Outlook attachments count against the storage quota as well, which it had not before.

While not mentioned explicitly by Microsoft, it is clear that the company is counting on customers signing up for paid plans to avoid running out of online storage.

Whether there is technical reason for making the change is up for debate, as Microsoft failed to provide any information about it.

Now You: do you use OneDrive? (via Dr. Windows and Günter Born)

OneDrive: photos in albums count twice against a user's storage quota
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OneDrive: photos in albums count twice against a user's storage quota
Microsoft is informing OneDrive customers currently about a planned change that may have a significant impact on storage quotas.
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  1. Some Dude said on March 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Are these articles AI generated?

    Now the duplicates are more obvious.

    1. boris said on March 19, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      This is below AI generated crap. It is copy of Microsoft Help website article without any relevant supporting text. Anyway you can find this information on many pages.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 20, 2023 at 1:32 am

    Yes, but why post the exact same article under a different title twice on the same day (19 march 2023), by two different writers?
    1.) Excel Keyboard Shortcuts by Trevor Monteiro.
    2.) 70+ Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows by Priyanka Monteiro

    Why oh why?

    1. Clairvaux said on September 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Yeah. Tell me more about “Priyanka Monteiro”. I’m dying to know. Indian-Portuguese bot ?

  3. John G. said on August 18, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Probably they will announce that the taskbar will be placed at top, right or left, at your will.

    Special event by they is a special crap for us.

  4. yanta said on August 18, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    If it’s Microsoft, don’t buy it.
    Better brands at better prices elsewhere.

  5. John G. said on August 20, 2023 at 4:22 am

    All new articles have zero count comments. :S

  6. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 7:48 am

    WTF? So, If I add one photo to 5 albums, will it count 5x on my storage?
    It does not make any sense… on google photos, we can add photo to multiple albums, and it does not generate any additional space usage

    I have O365 until end of this year, mostly for onedrive and probably will jump into google one

  7. St Albans Digital Printing Inc said on September 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Photo storage must be kept free because customers chose gadgets just for photos and photos only.

  8. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    What a nonsense. Does it mean that albums are de facto folders with copies of our pictures?

    1. GG said on September 6, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Sounds exactly like the poor coding Microsoft is known for in non-critical areas i.e. non Windows Core/Office Core.

      I imagine a manager gave an employee the task to create the album feature with hardly any time so they just copied the folder feature with some cosmetic changes.

      And now that they discovered what poor management results in do they go back and do the album feature properly?

      Nope, just charge the customer twice.

      Sounds like a go-getter that needs to be promoted for increasing sales and managing underlings “efficiently”, said the next layer of middle management.

  9. d3x said on September 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    When will those comments get fixed? Was every editor here replaced by AI and no one even works on this site?

  10. Scroogled said on September 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Instead of a software company, Microsoft is now a fraud company.

  11. ard said on September 7, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    For me this is proof that Microsoft has a back-door option into all accounts in their cloud.
    quote “…… as the MSA key allowed the hacker group access to virtually any cloud account at Microsoft…..”

    so this MSA key which is available to MS officers can give access to all accounts in MS cloud.This is the backdoor that MS has into the cloud accounts. Lucky I never got any relevant files of mine in their (MS) cloud.

  12. Andy Prough said on September 7, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    >”Now You: what is your theory?”

    That someone handed an employee a briefcase full of cash and the employee allowed them access to all their accounts and systems.

    Anything that requires 5-10 different coincidences to happen is highly unlikely. Occam’s razor.

  13. TelV said on September 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Good reason to never login to your precious machine with a Microsoft a/c a.k.a. as the cloud.

  14. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    The GAFAM are always very careless about our software automatically sending to them telemetry and crash dumps in our backs. It’s a reminder not to send them anything when it’s possible to opt out, and not to opt in, considering what they may contain. And there is irony in this carelessness biting them back, even if in that case they show that they are much more cautious when it’s their own data that is at stake.

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