back to article That dreaded syncing feeling: Will Microsoft EVER fix OneDrive?

Microsoft and synchronisation go back a long way. Remember Briefcase, a feature of Windows 95 and later, which syncs files between two folders, one of which can be on a removable drive or on the network? Briefcase was mostly replaced by offline network shares that synchronise local and server copies, a feature which remains in …

I miss Mesh

It did what I wanted and it did it well.

They said Skydrive was going to be better, but it turns out Mesh actually allowed me to be more "productive" (to use M$ jargon) on different devices easily, with less available remote storage.

This was 5 years ago, the cloud marketing gimmick was still taking off (i think!)

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Re: I miss Mesh

Mesh also allowed you to sync over a LAN if remember correctly.

OneDrive is a me-too bullet-point for Office365 so that they can equal and/or exceed Google - look: CLOUD STORAGE!

As such, it largely doesn't matter whether it works flawlessly or not - it's a way to get people on board when they're comparing features. MS already know that once you've done the migrations, you're most people are likely to stay put for a good while.

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My daughter has an Win 8.1 laptop and a Win Phone 8.1.

We can't get anything to stably sync between these two devices. Worse - the laptop recently fell over and had to have a clean re-install of Win 8.1. After it was finished I copied back all her personal files from her OneDrive - success I thought - but not so - it would seem that OneDrive didn't copy the files back - it moved them back - the OneDrive is now empty - her personal files are on her laptop - I can't see them on the phone any more and even though OneDrive continues to assure me the "My XXXX" folders are sync'd - it won't copy these files back to OneDrive itself and if I do it manually - they seem to - eventually - disappear again...

As she also has access to my Android tablet we now use Google Drive to Sync/back-up her files.

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"After it was finished I copied back all her personal files from her OneDrive"

That's your mistake there. When it's in OneDrive and you have to reinstall Windows 8.1 you don't need to "copy" anything, you just simply find the folder and mark it as "Always Available Offline". Voila!

No need to copy things to another folder, ever.

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Just not hard.

Groove. Shudder.

What we need is simple - a fucking icon that shows if a file is synced or not. What's that? There already is such a thing used for 'Offline Folders" (another shudder)?

Why don't they just use that?

We need five states to be represented:

  • Local files - not synced anywhere
  • Files synced and connected currently
  • Files synced but not connected
  • Files stored online, not synced but current connected
  • Files stored online, not synced and not connected

In other words - is the file synced and is it currently connected. All you need is two things: the document/folder icon to be able to be displayed normally or in a greyed/faded fashion, to signify simply whether the file can be opened or not and a sync icon overlay to show whether it is synced and what the state of that is. That just requires two colours for the icon - green for synced and connected and red/yellow/grey for synced but not connected.

I don't know why this is all so hard, but then we're talking about a company that decided to remove the shared folder 'hand' overlay because blah blah everything is shared now-a-days and we needed the overlay for something else.

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Re: Just not hard.

Exactly. Simple icon overlay would do it. Anyone who wants everything synced can simply use the relevant option that is already there in PC Settings.

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Re: Just not hard.

So you want Carbonite then... that's been doing all that since Day 0

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Anonymous Coward

Sshfs

with a touch of rsync covers it for me. Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Nearly works on Android...

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Breifcase?

Twenty years and they still haven't got the hang of it.

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FAIL

Don't forget mac

So I work in a Windows/Mac environment. I'm a Mac user and lo there is no OneDrive for Business. So I get to use Sharepoint (or the office 365 rebadged Sharepoint) for the web UI. It's like pulling teeth. Endless errors, crap defaults and the sure and certain knowledge you're on the second class platform. It's about as nice as dancing on a bag of nails. The new Microsoft might be a little more open but they've got a lot of ground to make up on a really important productivity issue.

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Holmes

Data loss from early Windows phone

So far back that I can't remember the details, but it was after Microsoft induced Palm to commit suicide. At some point after that I was somehow fooled into buying a not-smart phone with a Microsoft OS on it.

Fortunately, most of the terrible memories of that Windows phone have faded, but one that still grates was how it kept losing or mangling the calendar and contacts data. My fuzzy recollection is that I normally had to restore the data on the computer side, and then it would appear on the phone, and everything would look normal, and then it would disappear on the phone after some random interval. This went on for a while until I gave up and abandoned all hope and the data. Sorry Dorothy.

I am unable to imagine the circumstances under which I would buy another Windows phone of any sort.

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Cough...Mac client

Never has MS' confusing naming approach (Oh, so there are two OneDrives?) been so galling. If I want OneDrive for personal use on the Mac I can get it, but for business via 365? Forget it - and seemingly no ETA either.

Between this, and the non-appearance of Office 2014 for the Mac - you'd be forgiven for believing you were a second class customer as a Mac user. Even the iPad gets better treatment.

Still, at least we have the bloated new version of Outlook for the Mac to play with (how can a piece of software grow by 10x in size between versions?) What exactly does it do to deserve around 3/4 Gig of HD space?

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Re: Cough...Mac client

Onedrive IS available for the personal accounts on Mac. I have Yosemite and it works fine

It is NOT for business accounts which I why I just moved from Business to personal 365. Business client is not even on the roadmap!

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Anonymous Coward

All this from a company ...

Who can't even supply a basic Windows-File-Copy program that automatically 'overwrites all newer'... Gimme a break!

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Anonymous Coward

Never mind sync, how do M$ programmers ever find anything?

I still have to use XP searches to reliably find source code in //Comments...

Vista / Win7 & later also make it tricky to locate source files that have hyphens or other characters at the start of a file name. So its necessary to use complex tacky syntax such as: system.filename~="---"

Gotta ask, am I the only one who laments simple reliable File Searching...?

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Anonymous Coward

If only there were proven open source systems for managing source code and files.

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Maybe these OneDrive issues are for a problem for Windows users, but on my iPhone and Macbook Pro, there is no OneDrive problem. In fact, I was easily able to backup the files from my old Macbook Pro to OneDrive and download the files to OneDrive on my new Macbook Pro. Funny that it seems to work better on Apple products than Windows. Good thing I don't bother with OneDrive on my Windows 8.1 PC. That is only users for gaming. SHRUG.

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Pet Hate with One Drive

The damn default name it takes from your login details that you can't change to something more personal or meaningful.

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Highly amusing

I noted that the article is without a breath of humour, but the irony conveyed is deafening. I haven't laughed so much in ages. So it goes...

1) We've done it, good.

2) Oh, someone else has too

3) Oh, it's us

4) Let's toss a coin

5) Let's do it again

Breathtaking and uncanny.

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I had a client using a paid subscription to Skydrive very successfully on his old Windows 7 laptop, His new laptop with Windows 8 would NOT sync successfully with it at all. In the end we gave up and installed Dropbox.

I have to say that Dropbox isn't really suited to an SME or enterprise environment, as it's impossible for admins to administrate on a granular level. All you can do is set up a folder that everyone has in their dropbox. You can't set up teams with their own folders, managed centrally with varying permissions. Dropbox really needs to up its game if it wants to be taken seriously as a tool for businesses.

Box can do all of this but the flexibility comes at a price, and it's too expensive for many small businesses to entertain.

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Alternatively

Try Kahootz at kahootz.com.

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Bronze badge

Extensions

MS is not at all interested in fixing problems in OneDrive. Something as enabling OD to show *file extensions* has been a long standing request/defect with them, and all you get from MS is mealy-mouthed excuses on why you don't need it/shouldn't have it. Oh yeah? If we didn't need it, then why are we asking for it?

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"Most people run Windows on their PCs because they have no real choice. When people are given a choice very few people chose Windows"

Yup, I've gotten plenty of "Don't you hate it when your computer..." (insert laundry list of Windows-only problems, real or imagined.) I reply "My computer doesn't do that, I'm not running Windows, those problems are all Windows-specific."

Anyway... OneDrive. What would be so hard about having a choice -- the "remote-only files aren't visible" for those users who want it, and the choice of showing *all* files but having remote-only files greyed out to indicate they aren't there yet. If you had an internet connection, it'd retrieve the file when you go to open it; or you'd right click the file or files and choose to retrieve a copy now if you need them pre-retrieved. *shrug*. I dunno, I just thought this kind of thing (distributed file system with offline capability) was the kind of thing that had been solved decades ago, with giving it a nice UI the only thing that needs to be worked out. But it sounds like Microsoft has released a suite of incompatible products under the OneDrive name and now trying to mash them together. Yeah.

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Another Battle

Let me posit a situation.

Microsoft are very keen on the cloud; they like the idea of us never owning anything, of everything we use being registered and renewed every month. They've almost certainly got 1,000s of evangelists for the cloud within their organisation.

Also beavering away for Microsoft is the OneDrive team; they like the cloud, they use the cloud but they want people to use OneDrive and that means syncing data reliably, cheaply, quickly and all the other lies.

This is an anathema to the Cloud evangelists. "You want your data in two or more places?", "Really?", "How quaint.", "Well it's never gonna happen." "What ever you want, whenever you want it, you just download it."

You can see why things don't get fixed?

And talking about things never getting fixed, document preview in Office is still broken (and Jimmy Savile is still dead, apparently.)

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Belated footnote

Just noticed that pictures from my phone camera WP635 are not uploading to One Drive. It says it is. But the pictures aren't there.

And there isn't anything I can find to fix this.

(To be fair it's a computer thing - not even just Windows - that sometimes software claims to be working and it just isn't.)

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If I find it like learning Klingon, how can I ever roll it out to users

I guess we could suffer all the bugs and come up with workarounds and go for budget to increase support staff to deal with frustrated users but why. I don't understand what whoever is in charge of the file management piece at MS is doing. Did anyone even ever figure out how to make libraries work for users in Win 7? As for OneDrive in the Sky; who needs that Sunday afternoon call from an exec looking for the proper version of a file that you've got to rush back to your computer to hopefully find on the server and send to her. It just goes to show that, really, this part of the cloud is still smoke and mirrors on stage behind hype and marketing. BTW, Box has been very reliable for me personally and a limited roll out corporately with it's ability to support AD I'd do that before OneDrive. Maybe Box is the purchase MS should make (no I don't work for Box).

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Anonymous Coward

A year later from this article and Microsoft *still* hasn't fixed OneDrive, despite the release of both Windows 10 and Office 2016. If anything, it's now worse. Placeholders have gone meaning you have to have all or nothing from each folder on your local driver. You can no longer browse non-synchronised folders unless you manually set up a mapped drive. Worse - much worse - is that the totally pointless Office Upload is still there. Its sole purpose is to generate errors. In seeking to add functionality for the 0.1% of users who might write documents simultaneously, Microsoft has messed it up for the other 99.9% who simply want to write documents. And it doesn't even work if you do want to write shared documents, usually giving you the choice of abandoning your work or saving it as a new, non-shared document. Genius.

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