Today we’re releasing a preview of our new OneDrive for Business sync client for organizations and we wanted to share what this means for users and IT administrators alike. Based on your feedback, we’ve focused our innovation in three key areas: improving sync reliability, enriching the user experience and delivering greater IT control.
Improving sync reliability
We talk about this as a ”new” client but it’s actually built on the well-proven sync client from our OneDrive consumer service, which is run by millions of people every day. We have added necessary functionality for the client to connect to and sync files from OneDrive for Business. We’ve taught it to speak both OneDrive for Business and OneDrive consumer protocols. It’s now smart about using Azure Active Directory credentials to connect to OneDrive for Business in addition to the Microsoft account it supports today for the OneDrive consumer service. Additionally, the new sync client provides clearer, simpler messages and guidance if the odd sync anomaly arises.
Enriching the user experience
Whether you are a new or existing OneDrive user, setup is quick and easy. New users can simply download and install the client to their PC or Mac. If you already sync your personal files, then all you have to do is add a OneDrive for Business account via Settings. If you already sync your OneDrive for Business files, the new client will simply take over the syncing functions on the device maintaining your settings and use the existing sync folder – there’s no need to re-sync, saving you time and IT a bandwidth headache.
Selective sync is a key feature in the new client (and your most requested one), allowing you to choose which folders to sync to your device. Better yet, it’s specific to each of your devices so that you can optimize based on how you use each device and its local storage constraints.
Delivering greater IT control
Many IT organizations want to be able to deploy the client to large numbers of devices on behalf of their users. The new client offers IT administrators silent deployment options using a much smaller installation package (~10 MB), easing network constraints and speeding installation. Additionally, IT administrators are able to block sync for the OneDrive consumer service as well as set the default sync folder location, which can be set to local or removable media.
Updates to the new sync client will occur independently of Office and Windows updates and furthermore there is no need for users to have local administrative privileges for installation and updates. While existing file quantity and size limits remain unchanged for the preview, when we release this broadly we will remove the 20,000-file sync limit for OneDrive for Business and increase the individual file size limit from 2 GB to 10 GB – which is again based on your feedback.
We want to give every customer a great experience, so we’re rolling out our preview in stages to manage high demand and to make sure that the set-up experience is smooth and reliable. We’ve established a waitlist website where you can reserve a place for your organization. Once it’s ready, we’ll send you a notification email with all the instructions on where to download it and how to set it up. The preview is available for both Mac (OS X 10.9 and later) and PC (Windows 7, 8 and 10, with support for Windows 8.1 being added in Q1 2016).
The sync client is just one of many enhancements we’re releasing today. Read about all of them here. We’re just getting started so stay tuned for more announcements soon on our continued innovation with OneDrive for Business!
Group Program Manager, OneDrive