OneDrive For Business – is it worth it?
OneDrive For Business (formally SkyDrive Pro etc) seems too good to be true – cheaper than DropBox.com, or Box.com (and not Google Drive…) and fully integrated with Windows and Office. It’s even been boosted to give you 1 TeraByte instead of 25GB. Finally, you can automatically sync your files to a Cloud, ensuring offsite backups and secure access from other machines. Unfotunately, it is a little too good to be true at the moment! However if you use it accordingly, it will fulfill some critical needs and remain exceptionally useful – more on that later.
Firstly, you probably already have Office installed, from a CD or download, ie an MSI – Microsoft Installer, rather than a newer Click-Once web connected install. That means you probably won’t have the latest Grrove.exe client – not that anything will give you any warning, even though you’ve kept current with every single windows and office automatic update! If you get past the broken “Next” button on the “Call us overprotective…” login dialogue, and do manage to Synchronise a local OneDrive folder, you may well get the “… problem while accessing the Microsoft Office Document Cache…” error:
Even this error is badly handled – it will offer to recover but no matter what you choose, will go round in circles…:
The way around all this is to make sure you have the latest Office365-friendly Groove.exe and other client apps (see article linked above), then stop any related porocesses in Task Manager, and delete the entire contents of C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\Spw and C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\15.0\OfficeFileCache.
After all that, you can resync to create the new “OneDrive For Business” folder in your Local folders. However, there is now revealed a new problem – syncing is slooooowww, and worse, shows no status of upload speed, so you can’t verify the gridlock. In fact, if you check the local Windows Explorer folders, you’ll see that the statuses (Synched, Not Synched, Synching etc) are almost random, flittering on and off like a christmas tree!
As an example, a 3.5GB 13,000 item fileset (yes, that’s less than the allowed 20K items allowed – another awkward limitation, and in fact, even this is a misnomer) still hadn’t synced after 48 solid hours! With no way to properly see current progress, this is not acceptable for business use, as we told them on that forum.
Microsoft did warn us that the 20K item limit was better off treated as a 5K item limit, but even that turned out to be optimisitc. However, after getting past all this, we did find that spoonfeeding less than 1K files at a time would sync reasonably – so you may just have to build up gradually rather than dump a whole mass of files first. Restructuring the files and folders is probably wise!
We also compared to Dropbox, and in fact, that works very similarly, and not massively faster – and Microsoft assured us that OneDrive was checking for malware whereas Dropbox was not. Hmmm.
When this is improved, we’ll let you know – meanwhile, try it together with their technical support which rather handily is included. Just be ready with your Network Monitor and Active Directory to create a fresh profile for proving off… or just be ready like us to spoonfeed OneDrive to begin with 🙂
Happy syncing, let us know your experience!
NB: Don’t forget we can give you a completely free trial so you can verify for yourselves!