Microsoft removing 2GB limit on OneDrive files

There are two things that get in the way of backing up large files to a cloud storage service like OneNote: bandwidth and file size caps. Microsoft is getting rid of one of those two obstacles for OneDrive.

OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) has a 2GB limit for any one file–a restriction that dates back to legacy hardware and software that was simply incapable of addressing a file size larger than 2GB. These days, though, many people have files larger than 2GB–even individual photos taken with a modern DSLR or a high-end smartphone can exceed 2GB–so the 2GB limitation makes the cloud service somewhat useless.

With the 2GB file limitation gone, now all you have to worry about is your broadband speed and bandwidth caps from your Internet provider. Microsoft may allow you to upload a 5GB file, but it could take you all weekend depending on your Internet speed.

I wrote about the changes to the OneDrive file limitation here:

A couple months ago, Microsoft began providing substantially more capacity for OneDrive users. Now, it’s also removing the arbitrary 2 GB file size restriction to help you fill that space up faster.

When Microsoft raised the free OneDrive account capacity to 15 GB, and the Office 365 OneDrive storage to 1 TB, I wrote that — for all intents and purposes — it was like having unlimited cloud storage. At the time, Microsoft revealed that its own research suggests that 75% of users have less than 15 GB of personal files, so 1 TB is virtually limitless.

Of course, if you start uploading HD movies at 3 GB or 4 GB a pop, that 15 GB starts looking a little anemic. It is easy to see why Microsoft has an incentive to remove the traditional 2 GB file limit. On the one hand, it fosters a better customer experience, because it can be very frustrating when you want to upload or sync a file and you’re blocked by an arbitrary limit. On the other hand, there’s also some motivation there for Microsoft to enable users to consume as much data as possible, so they exceed that free 15 GB account and become paying OneDrive customers — or perhaps even Office 365 customers.

To be fair, the 2 GB limit was not entirely arbitrary. It most likely has roots in old 32-bit code, which was incapable of addressing larger file sizes. Omar Shahine, a Microsoft group program manager, explained in a recent comment on the OneDrive UserVoice forums, “It’s simply an old limit that we’ve been working on removing for far too long now. The good news is that we are actively working on this.”

Click here to read the full story at TechRepublic: The sky is now the limit for OneDrive file size.

2 thoughts on “Microsoft removing 2GB limit on OneDrive files”

  1. still now need to remove the long file name restriction…… As I am unable to use OneDrive really and gotta continue paying for Dropbox cause OneDrive will give me a error about a iTunes music file being to long and several other ones as well…. Dropbox never gives me this issue.

    1. I am looking into this issue, as well as a report from another reader that OneDrive maxes out at 20,000 total files. I will write an update or a new post about OneDrive once I get official answers from Microsoft.

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