tannoy blog — onedrive

tannoy blog — onedrive

OneDrive is one those products that could have been a good idea, but is designed so idiotically it’s literally worse than having nothing at all.

The idea is that you can share files between systems: PCs, Macs, phones, etc.. Sounds like a useful idea, and it could be.

The problem is communications. If something has unreliable communications, you obviously want OneDrive to ensure a copy of the files are kept there so that you can still access them when there’s no comms. For example, I’d like to put copies of local bus and train times on OneDrive, so that if I’m stuck somewhere, I can check with OneDrive on my smartphone to find out what the options are for getting home.

On the other hand, if a system has good communications, there’s no need to keep copies on it, and so no need to waste disk space, since it can easily access the cloud to get the files when need be.

But, no, OneDrive does exactly the opposite of what I need. It puts copies of files on permanently connected systems, such as my PCs, when there’s no need to do so. It does not put them on smartphones, so to see the file on the smartphone I have to have comms. Indeed, it’s worse than that: if I make sure a copy is on the smartphone, OneDrive deliberately deletes it. Since comms on smartphones is notoriously unreliable: you can’t always get a signal or wifi, this means that if I’m stuck somewhere, OneDrive has very carefully deleted precisely the information I need to get unstuck. That behaviour is malicious. On the other hand, it just cluttered a PC which happened to be short of disk space by copying the files there, so breaking some stuff.

Worse, there seems to be no mechanism to fine control what files should go where. For example, I’d like to say file X is essential to be copied, and file Y is beside the point, don’t worry about it. But such elementary control is missing.

But the worst thing of all, the thing that means I cannot use OneDrive, is that it gets installed automatically on Windows 10 machines, and cannot be deleted without digging deep into system controls. Because of this, I cannot put any files on OneDrive, because it will copy them onto systems with good comms and no disk space, so potentially crashing them. OneDrive is literally useless and dangerous.

OneDrive could be a very useful tool. Instead, it has been designed to be an otherwise useless occasional crash generator.