Can you have too much cloud storage as Microsoft offers unlimited space?

Recently Microsoft announced that everyone with an Office 365 subscription would be granted unlimited storage on OneDrive, their Dropbox and Google Drive competitor. If it doesn’t seem long ago that they bumped up the storage from 15gb to 1tb then it’s not, because that announcement was made just last June.

On the face of it this seemed like great news – all the space to store whatever you want. However, the reality is somewhat different. Firstly this is a syncing service (as they all are) and so the absolute maximum you can sync is the size of your hard drive so about 1tb on my iMac but my MacBook Air has considerably less than that so you need to selectively sync there.

To make any use of the space above the size of your hard drive you have to upload this via the web interface and not synchronise it and suddenly it becomes more difficult to use and less useful.

The second issue is one specific to OneDrive and its Windows roots and relates to this message:


This occurs when the file name and path comes to greater than 256 characters as that is the maximum that the Windows (DOS?) file system can handle.

This in itself wouldn’t be a great issue but the way that OneDrive deals with this is to throw the error and then log you out. Worse is that when you restart the client you have to go through the whole set up process once more, which is a huge inconvenience to say the least.

If you intend to stick with OneDrive and you are on a xNIX machine then you could try running the following to list out a list of files with their paths sorted by length and then modify any that are likely to be too long.

find ~/Documents/* | awk '{print length,$0}' | sort -rn | less

I decided to take an alternative route and signed up for Dropbox Pro which doesn’t suffer from this issue and seems to have a more robust synchronisation routine. And now that there is Office365 integration too it seems to be the prefect solution.