Microsoft has been messing about as of late with name changes and service changes.  SkyDrive became OneDrive and with that name change also came a number of updates to the service.  But, as usual, there is still some confusion about what is what.  I know that the whole OneDrive thing can confuse people so what follows is my short primer.

There are two OneDrive products available and while they are the “same” – your “USB drive in the cloud” — they are also very different.

OneDrive (with no following qualifier) is the personal Cloud storage offering from Microsoft.  This is the OneDrive that is tied to you, personally, and has nothing to do (directly) with O365.  It truly is a “USB drive in the cloud” that you can use to store many different files.  It can be linked to your local PC (Windows 7, 8 and 8.1) like so:

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There are various types of files saved, no particular organization is imposed.

It is also linkable to your tablet or phone, this is what I have on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2:

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And, of course, you can access OneDrive using your browser as demo’d below:

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As you can see, the files are the same on PC and tablet and web.  In fact, I used OneDrive to transfer the screenshots from the tablet to LiveWriter for this blog post.  Simple, fast, easy to use.  I won’t detail storage available and such as wha ever I detail today (early May 2014) will probably be out of date by the time you read this post.   Go here to read more and get your OneDrive subscription.

OneDrive for Business is a specialized SharePoint Online library that is provided via your O365 subscription.  While it can do many of the same things that your personal OneDrive does, it imposes a layer of “management” on your files that does not exist in your “personal” OneDrive (hey, it is SharePoint, after all …).  OneDrive for Business shows up in the links in your O365 website, here’s what mine looks like:

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And when I click on “Shared With Everyone”:

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As in any other SharePoint library there is additional data (metadata) tagged to the files I have in OneDrive and additional info/control is available by clicking on the ellipses:

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As you can see, very SharePoint-y!  While this is a SharePoint library it is not a part of the SharePoint sites that exist elsewhere in your O365, it is a standalone storage piece that is provided for your use as a part of O365.  And just like the personal OneNote detailed earlier in this post, you can have OneNote for Business “sync” the library with a local copy on your PC so that you can have the library with you wherever you go regardless of “connectivity” between you and O365.  You do this by clicking on the sync icon:

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And now I have a “local” yet sync’d copy of my OneDrive for Business.

OneDrive for Business adds a few tricks to the mix by giving you some interesting choices from the “new” icon:

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The choices are tied in with the WebApps in O365 so that you can create standard Office documents on the fly from your PC, tablet or phone and you don’t need to have the software loaded locally to work.  Clicking on “Word document” resulted in this prompt:

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And when I clicked OK I got to here:

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I enter some text then when I go to save I find out something else that is cool:

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Pretty neat.  And here is the file showing in OneDrive for Business:

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And here it is locally (and it just “appeared”, I didn’t have to sync):

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By definition, this is also available on tablet and phone via your browser.  There is also a OneDrive for Business App for iOS but, sadly, not Android (as of early May 2014) that works pretty much the same way as the desktop sync detailed above.

So there you have the basic differences between OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.  They are the same but very different and both are very useful in their own way.  Take advantage of the Cloud storage Microsoft gives you!

O365–OneDrive
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