Microsoft throttles parts of Office 365 to meet demands during coronavirus pandemic

Laptop with Office 365
Laptop with Office 365 (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft made "temporary changes" to Office 365 to meet the unusually high demand.
  • Use of Microsoft's Office 365 has gone up dramatically during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • OneNote, SharePoint, and Stream are affected by the changes.

Microsoft announced today that Microsoft 365 and Office 365 commercial services will experience "temporary changes" due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. OneNote, SharePoint, and Stream will be affected by the changes, which include reducing video resolution in SharePoint and changing the size and sync frequency of file attachments within OneNote. ZDNet points out the changes out outlines all the ways that services will be affected.

Here's the list of changes that people can expect, as reported by ZDNet:


  • OneNote in Teams will be read-only for commercial tenants, excluding EDU. Users can go to OneNote for the web for editing.
  • Download size and sync frequency of file attachments has been changed.
  • You can find details on these and other OneNote related updates at


  • We are rescheduling specific backend operations to regional evening and weekend business hours. Impacted capabilities include migration, DLP and delays in file management after uploading a new file, video or image.
  • Reduced video resolution for playback videos


  • People timeline has been disabled for newly uploaded videos. Pre-existing videos will not be impacted.

Microsoft posted warnings about "temporary feature adjustments" on March 16. That warning told customers that Microsoft was "making temporary adjustments to select non-essential capabilities," as reported by ZDNet.

The changes don't seem like they'll create a large difference in the overall experience of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 commercial services. Microsoft has seen an unprecedented rise in service using during the coronavirus outbreak. Last week Microsoft Teams reached 44 million daily users. That number could easily be higher as travel restrictions increase, and more people begin to work and study from home. Other Microsoft services have potentially seen increases in use as well, requiring Microsoft to make these changes.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at