Microsoft starts cutting unlimited OneDrive storage limits

In late 2015, Microsoft announced plans to cut the amount of free OneDrive storage to 5GB and end unlimited storage for Office 365 users. The cutoff for unlimited users was set for yesterday, March 1, which means that unlimited users should now start seeing their unlimited storage dropping down to 1TB.

In an explanation to Neowin, Microsoft noted that the changes may take up to 48 hours to become visible to unlimited users. If you happen to still have more than 1TB of files in your OneDrive, then your account will move into what's called "over quota mode," which gives you 3 months to get below that 1TB threshold. If you miss that deadline, your account will be locked down 6 months, at which point you can request 30 days to access your files again to move below 1TB.

The move to limit OneDrive storage after initially offering unlimited space to Office 365 users has received plenty of backlash. However, in its original explanation, Microsoft said that it made the decision based on some subscribers using excessive amount — up to 75TB — of storage. As part of the changes, free storage has already dropped from 15GB to 5GB, and Microsoft no longer offers 100GB or 200GB plans.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

77 Comments
  • Well, that's what happens when you class a storage as unlimited and do not indicate caveats. I can understand why they did that as when it comes to redundancy and data back up.... that's alot of rack space for a handful of users.... They should have just clamped down on these handful as opposed to well.. simply over reacting as usual.
  • Unfortunately, this is all a part of their services strategy.  It's also why they want you to have everything on OneDrive - your music to sync with Windows Mobile, etc.  Why allow me to easily sync my music with Groove when you can simply require me to upload it to OneDrive and pay for monthly storage?
  • So true, I have over 50GB of music in my OneDrive folder (moved the Music inside of the OneDrive), I have the grandfather in 25GB plus the camera bonus, and a few other thing that give me about 100GB, but all that expires, so yes, unless I pay them, I won't be able to have all my music collection syncronized. And that's just music, pictures are almost as big with the huge files the L950 takes
  • You can get a 200gb mSD card for $70 at amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00V62XBQQ/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=148... I have 130gb expiring to 30gb on OneDrive, but having 32gb + 128gb on my 950XL is plenty. I wish I could store more apps on SD, but I save all my music, videos, and pics on it.
  • Local storage is not secure. OneDrive provides real time backup security.
    Actually, I suspect that storage excess is just an excuse. I would expect bandwidth for synchronization to be a bigger problem.
    I myself need a little more than 1 TB. So, Office 365 for 1 account is not enough. But, I have Office 365 Home for 5 accounts, that makes me having a max of 5 TB at my disposal.
  • Yes OneDrive is secure, but it is NOT a backup. It is a sync. It'll help if your HDD crashes, but if you delete a file it is gone.
  • @peterh_oz
    That is how YOU define backup. OneDrive has a Recycle Bin, by the way, so an accidentally deleted file isn't gone.
  • Technically its not until the disk writes data over it. It is usually recoverable if you do it immediately.
  • Until your phone powers off, then you get SD card corruption.
  • My Surface Pro 2 has powered off several times, never had a single SandDisk SD card go corrupt on me. So far, using a 200GB MicroSD card as a second partition with 0 issues.
  • @Tjalsma, If you get office 365 you get way more than just storage :).
  • But still only 1 TB. =P
  • Well for most people it's more than enough :P. If your into streaming FLAC for example then your really going about it the wrong way lol.
  • Best to DIY it with a NAS if you have specific needs. Then you're in control. Would be easier if MS would allow access to network shares in the file manager on the phone and DLNA on Groove, but there are other apps out there that can handle these things. My 30gig OneDrive does me fine for bits of file sharing but my 4TB NAS makes Continuum impressive.
  • I wish they'd allow us to purchase OneDrive storage with Bing points.
  • Dude you're funny 😂
  • Why is that funny?
  • Is there a limit to the amount of OneDrive storage that you can purchase?
  • up to 25TB I believe.
  • Ok great. But I can't find the option to buy more? Probably hidden in deeply nested menus
  • How about just make a higher tier available? 3 & 5TB tiers for those who don't want to have to move crazy amounts of data. I am sure there are those who would rather just pay more instead of dealing with relocating data across different services.
  • Oh some users are using too much space on our unlimited plan. What should we do? Cut the space from all free and paying users instead of giving them better options. Yeah, Microsoft rocks!
  • This! That's exactly what I thought. What do the 15GB users have to do with the people that used 75TB
  • Also, with OneDrive so integrated with Windows 10, I don't think 15GB is all that much to ask. Google Drive still gives you that much for free.
  • They should allow any photos etc to be uploaded free from your phone.
  • Yep! I remember when they announced this. Didn't make sense then and doesn't make sense now. It totally feels like a move by Microsoft to force subscriptions.
  • well when was the last time MS took sane decisions, there are just knee jerk reactions.
  • Does OneDrive offer higher tiers such as 5TB, 10TB, etc for extra costs? If not, why the hell not?
  • Doesn't bother me. I know "unlimited" nowadays always comes with a caveat somewhere, so I was cautious on this one. Turns out, my conservativism was proven to be correct. But being one of the first to use SkyDrive back in its day, I won't use any other service. I just love OneDrive way too much. It's worth the $70/mo + Office365 I pay each month. :)
  • Holy cow you pay $70 per month for your onedrive storage??
  • I don't think you need $70/mo for OneDrive and O365. https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/plans/ 1TB plan is $70/yr and 5TB plan is $100/yr
  • Unh? It's £79.99 for Office 365 abd Onedrive storage for an entire year. And that's the family plan. I think he means yearly. https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/plans/
  • Created my own Synology Cloud...thanks MS
  • Synology 1815+ with 8 10TB drives.  Total cost $10K Canadian with tax and GST.  Its also hard as hell to get 10TB drives at the moment. I am trying to get another 8TB and another 1815+ to use as cold storage backup for my  Synology that I power up once a month and  sync.  Total investment $20K + or -. I may use the expansion and get two DX513 expansion cabinets as well. I may get them now since I may not be able to find them when I want them.
  • Riddle me this. Why would anyone want/need 75TB of storage, as mentioned in the article?
  • They were reportedly backup full images of their PC, etc.
  • Movies. Lots of HD movies. Maybe not legally owned.
  • Yes, but why cut the rest of the users. I get the "unlimited" storage somewhat backfired. But then cut down on the users those users to 1TB. I don't see why other users have to get cut as well.
  • It wasn't really about that. That's what they used as an excuse to change what they offered. PR nonsense. It was really about creating a model that encourages subscriptions and makes money off of its customers.
  • While I wasn't particularly happy about the reduction of One Drive storage from 15gb to 5gb, I kept my 15 by reserving it. ​But the idea of "makes money off it its customers" is pretty much a tautology.  Right?  That's why they are called customers.
  • But 75TB? That's likely more than some countries use. Oh well.
  • They ain't professional photographers shooting 4k video every day.
  • 75tb.... That's a lotta porn!!!
  • And a hell of a lot of sperm!
  • Oh how many lives have been wipped away by Klenex?
  • EWWWWW WTF
  • One thing you/we all must remember. You can't take it with when you go. Just because it says cloud it doesn't mean St. Peter will be waiting for you with a flash drive. Welcome to heaven. Microsoft on the right, Apple on the left, Google we are very sorry but is down below.
  • "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, Here I am, stuck in the middle..."
  • Im down to 5gb now. 😂
  • 43GB here on OneDrive. My 100GB expired last month. I bought Zoolz 1TB lifetime from Windows Central Digital Offers for $39 and transfered all my files to it. :) 
  • That's 500gb and 500gb cold storage wasn't it.
  • Yes it is. But more than what OneDrive is giving me. Its enough for what im backing up. I dont think I would ever run out of space.
  • I'm still on 40GB. I lost 100GB last month without warning. All of a sudden OneDrive was telling me I was over my limit. Fortunately I wasn't too far over, and it was pretty easy to get back under.
  • My Home NAS has 50TB used out of 100TB.  It's a combination of music (5000 CDs lossless ripped), Blu-ray rips (all owned but now running off server), documents, software downloads over the years, and daily backups of my computers and virtual machine snapshots. Multiple redundancy layers as well.  I do backup the most critical stuff offsite but I can always re-rip my CDs or Blu-rays (though that is not a fun project at all).
  • Wow.
  • I do the same (albeit smaller scale with a 15TB Lacie NAS drive). The one advantage of a larger limit with OneDrive was automatic offsite storage in case of fire/theft
  • I started to go down this route then technology overtook me. I have found with onedrive in Windows and Netflix and Spotify and the ilk I hardly ever use my local drives now or even ripped movies etc. I'm now thinking of selling it all while I might still be able to get something for it. Just now it is just a small heater in the cupboard I use for rack space.
  • What a joke, the consumer loses out yet again
  • I don't understand why Microsoft didn't leave the unlimited option. They could have made it so those crazy users with 75 tb are the only ones with over quota mode. This is similar to cell phone providers when they claim it's unlimited but technically not.
  • Agreed, Microsoft should have introduced a fair use policy.
  • I recently got office 365 because of 1TB on onedrive, that is more than enough for me. And the price was good, around 30$!
  • Still a bitter Pill. Dropping down to 1TB after having "Unlimited"
  • and can we stop calling the people who got to 75TB as 'Excessive". They were told that they had Unlimited space... Unlimited!!!
  • They probably eat too much at all-you-can-eat buffets too!
  • And then they go fishing after getting kicked out.
  • This is a bit off topic, but what are the upload speeds you're getting with OneDrive? I recently had to share about 10GB, both OneDrive and Mega uploaded only at about 1-2MB/s while Google Drive used all the available bandwidth and uploaded are about 30MB/s, since I didn't want to wait an hour for it to upload, I went with Google
  • I got iCloud drive cos I got a Mac, I pay monthly for 50GB, I just checked and price of 1TB/mth is only fractionally cheaper than my family office subscription where each family member gets 1TB each. I guess for those affected by the cut it comes down to losing what you got rather than the value you still get and that's fair call. I also pay an annual subscription for my owned music library to be saved in the cloud so it is available on all devices. That is separate to that storage fee. Currently I am shifting everything to Onedrive cos I recently came back to windows phone.
  • They should have had a fair usage policy. But that's the MS way, screw us again.
  • A bit outdated news...
  • Lol, never have, and never will I rely on that public cloud storage sh*t. Not only are they as safe as putting your sensitive data in someone else's computer, they're as fast as a snail when it comes to managing loads of data. My 2TB local extrernal SSD (a Samsung T3) + my 16TB RAID 10 NAS (a QNAP TS-470 Pro) is all I need for now and the former is always with me regardless of internet connection. By the time my data needs increase, there'll be 4TB local SSDs available.
  • Well Microsoft is well known for breaking promise!
  • Microsoft can go die in a fire, I switched to Google Drive after MS cut my Onedrive down to 5GB.  This despite me having spent thousends on Windows phones over the years and having used the service since 2007.  I didn't have "free storage", I earned it and paid for it >.>
  • i know this pain already...my storage is already down to the 5GB limit, and my Cameral roll extension, and my 25gb extension is now expired too...I hate microsoft. I already moved a ton of my files to a MEGA storage account. 50GB for free is awesome.
  • Yup did happen to me too, have a whs 2011 with 16gb of original film data. When I got the opportunity to increase to unlimited started to upload my dbase. First hitting the 1tb in a week or two and got 10tb as the next limit, after a few months of uploading also that was filled. Did write a request for an other 10 tb, which would fulfil my needs. They boosted it to a whooping 50tb. Never went over 17tb.
    This was for me a test if this could replace my own servers. Apparently not, since it was unlimited for a limit time. After the restrictions I did cut it down to below 1tb again, within my 365 family limits. Yesterday they did reset the limit to 1tb.
    Was a nice experiment, but will build my own cloud now to acces what I need.
  • Yeah! Microsoft does this and that OK. Reducing from 15Gb to 5GB was a big mistake some people will be and are creating more accounts just to have space. This is the aftermath of reducing space please consider this. And could you please take it back to 15 GB?
  • I still think they should honor unlimited storage for people who subscribed while it was still on offer and haven't let their subscription lapse. It seems stupid to me to advertise "unlimited" if they weren't actually going to honor it. Most infuriating.
  • There is nothing wrong!
    Google's 15GB drive. For free!