Microsoft killed this OneDrive feature before it even launched

OneDrive on a Samsung Galaxy Flip
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft just announced that it will stop supporting the option to upload content to OneDrive through a URL.
  • The feature, which was only ever in preview, allowed apps to upload content straight to OneDrive from a URL without having to download the item first.
  • Microsoft cited low usage of the feature as the reason for cutting off support.
  • The option to upload content to OneDrive through a URL will stop working on March 29, 2024.

Microsoft OneDrive had a feature that you likely never knew existed, the ability to upload content directly to the cloud from a URL. The feature has been in preview since September 2021 and was designed for apps, mobile clients, and browser-add-ins, not general use by everyday users. But this week, Microsoft announced that it will end support for the feature on March 29, 2024, ending its support before the feature ever reached public availability.

"Your app can upload an item to OneDrive by providing a URL," explains Microsoft's page dedicated to the feature. "OneDrive will download the file directly from a remote server so your app doesn't have to upload the file's bytes. This is especially useful for mobile clients or browser add-ins, where the file contents aren't available, or are expensive to transfer."

Uploading an item to OneDrive from a URL only ever worked for OneDrive personal. It also was only ever a preview feature, so it's not like everyday OneDrive users have lost something. Even among preview users, the option was used by fewer people than required to justify its expense to Microsoft.

"This feature was introduced as an experimental option for users who wanted to save files from the web directly to their OneDrive without downloading them first and was only ever supported for Consumer OneDrive," said the company this week.

"However, we have found that this feature has low usage and high maintenance costs, and it does not align with our vision for OneDrive as a cloud storage service that syncs your files across devices."

Uploading items to OneDrive from a URL will stop working on March 29, 2024. Anyone who relies on the feature should migrate to other options before the cutoff date.

Microsoft OneDrive | Free to $99.99 per year

Microsoft OneDrive | <a href="https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=kXQk6%2AivFEQ&mid=46107&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.microsoft.com%2Fen-us%2Fmicrosoft-365%2Fonedrive%2Fcompare-onedrive-plans" data-link-merchant="microsoft.com"">Free to $99.99 per year

Microsoft OneDrive is convenient and secure cloud storage service. It supports storing and syncing files, photos, and videos. The plans range from free up to 1TB.

Microsoft's vision for OneDrive

One interesting point of emphasis by Microsoft is that the ability to upload content to OneDrive from a URL does not align with the company's vision for OneDrive, which is a "cloud storage service that syncs your files across devices." The feature does seem to work along different lines, acting as more of general cloud storage than syncing items between devices. The fact that it was only available to OneDrive personal made it stick out even more from other options.

Microsoft wants OneDrive to serve as a place to back up your files, sync content across devices, and provide access to your files anywhere. The tech giant has emphasized this increasingly over the years as it's rolled out features like integrating OneDrive with the Files app on a Chromebook and managing files on Microsoft Teams.

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com.