A Deep Dive into OneDrive’s Latest Upgrades

Sousouni Bajis
6 min readOct 4, 2023
Microsoft OneDrive Event: The Future of File Management is Here
Microsoft OneDrive Event: The Future of File Management is Here

It’s always a pleasure to have you here, exploring the realm of Microsoft 365 with me. Today, I have a special post lined up that delves into the exciting world of OneDrive. OneDrive has always been at the heart of file management within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, and it continues to evolve, offering new and enhanced features to make our digital organization and collaboration smoother. We’re going to unravel a listing of new and upcoming features for OneDrive, as announced on October 3, 2023 at the Microsoft event titled Microsoft OneDrive: The Future of File Management is Here.

The event showcased an array of features aimed at adapting to the evolving workspace needs. From aesthetic upgrades to practical features and enhanced security measures, there’s a lot on the horizon that is set to significantly uplift our user experience. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the rich array of updates that are set to propel OneDrive into a new era of file management!

Key Updates

The next generation of OneDrive offers simple and fast access to your files and shared files.
The next generation of OneDrive offers simple and fast access to your files and shared files.

Revamped OneDrive Home Experience: OneDrive now boasts a redesigned home experience on the Web, facilitating swift retrieval of files irrespective of their location within your organization. This update underscores a user-centric approach, ensuring that you have quick and easy access to your files and those shared with you.

AI-Powered File Recommendations: In a bid to make file access more intuitive, a new section named ‘For you’ has been added at the top of the OneDrive home page. This section employs Artificial Intelligence to provide timely file recommendations, ensuring that you have the right files at your fingertips when you need them.

Enhanced Meeting and People Views: The ‘Meetings view’ and ‘People view’ are novel features aiming to streamline file retrieval based on your interactions and collaborations. While the Meetings view displays upcoming and past meetings along with associated files and recordings, the People view organizes files based on the individuals you have collaborated with. This context-centric organization is a game-changer in locating the right file with minimal hassle.

Shared View for Collaborative Ease: The ‘Shared view’ is your new go-to spot for accessing any file shared with you, regardless of the sharing method or individual. This feature epitomizes collaborative ease, ensuring a seamless workflow with shared files.

Colorful Folders and Favorites: Adding a personal touch to organization, OneDrive now allows you to color-code your folders. Moreover, marking important files is simplified with the ‘Favorites’ feature, ensuring that key files are just a click away across OneDrive, Teams, File Explorer, and other Microsoft 365 applications.

File Views, Governance Controls, and Creation Tools: The next generation of OneDrive is set to offer new file views, governance controls, and creation tools including a feature named Copilot, all aimed at enhancing search, organization, and information extraction from your files.

Extended Experience across Microsoft 365: These new experiences are not confined to OneDrive; they extend to Teams and Outlook, ensuring a consistent and enriched file management experience across the Microsoft 365 platform.

Shortcuts: OneDrive now enables users to create shortcuts for swift access to shared files or those in shared team locations, simplifying file collection for projects irrespective of their original location.

Simplified Sharing: Sharing files and copying links have become more user-friendly with fewer clicks involved, epitomizing simplicity and ease of sharing.

Copilot in OneDrive: Set to transform file access and value extraction, Copilot in OneDrive, as announced earlier, allows open-ended questions related to individual files or content summarization without having to open the file. This feature is expected to be available by December for all Microsoft 365 Copilot license holders.

Enhanced Search and Copilot Features

Natural Language Search: Streamlining the way users find files by allowing open-ended questions or file summaries with Copilot in OneDrive.

Microsoft 365 Chat: A comprehensive tool to search through all Microsoft 365 data including files in OneDrive and SharePoint by simply asking a question.

Future Copilot Enhancements: Copilot is set to become more intuitive, helping in organizing, sharing, and keeping up with updates on your files, transforming the way knowledge is gathered, managed, and transferred.

Improved Consumer Photo Search

People-Based Photo Search: A new feature allowing users to search or browse photos based on the individuals present in them.

Natural Language Photo Search: Enhancing photo search using natural language, making it easier to find specific photos based on descriptive queries.

AI Search Features: Rolling out to consumers in limited preview, these features are set to revolutionize the photo searching experience on OneDrive for Web and the OneDrive Mobile app, with public preview expected early in 2024.

Advanced Security and Governance

Granular Conditional Access Policies: Fine-tune access to confidential files with multi-factor authentication for individuals dealing with sensitive information.

Restricted Access Control: Tailor access to shared files in OneDrive by limiting it to specific security groups.

Cross-Tenant OneDrive Migration: Facilitate OneDrive account movement across tenants during mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures, while keeping existing sharing links functional.

Block Download Policy: Prevent file downloads from SharePoint sites or OneDrive to ensure browser-only access and mitigate data leakage risks.

Collaboration Insights: Identify and analyze collaboration and sharing patterns across the organization to prevent accidental sharing and data leakage.

Data Export for Sync Client Admin Reports: Analyze and visualize sync admin reports in Azure using tools like Azure Synapse and Power BI, expected to be available in public preview by January 2024.

Upcoming Features

In the new Teams you’ll have direct access to the OneDrive app from the left-hand navigation.
In the new Teams you’ll have direct access to the OneDrive app from the left-hand navigation.

OneDrive in Teams: By December, the Files app in Teams will be updated to the new OneDrive Teams app, giving clean access to all files across SharePoint and OneDrive from Teams.

The OneDrive app will soon be easily accessible from Outlook.
The OneDrive app will soon be easily accessible from Outlook.

OneDrive in Outlook: OneDrive will be integrated into the new Outlook for Windows and Outlook on the web by December, facilitating easy sharing link copying and shared file access.

Open in App: Soon, any file can be opened in its desktop app right from OneDrive, edited, and sync back any changes, expected to roll out worldwide by December.

Files On-Demand for Web: Extending sync to the browser experience, this feature slated for early 2024 allows offline file access directly from OneDrive for Web.

Offline Mode: Expected in early 2024, this feature enables offline work on files in your browser, with changes auto-synced back to OneDrive upon reconnection.

Add New: Slated for Summer 2024, a new “Add new” button will facilitate file creation directly from OneDrive, offering rich templates for a head start.

Media View: Organizing all media content in one place, this new view is expected to release in Summer 2024, offering a visual browsing experience for your media content.

Summary

The updates unveiled on October 3, 2023, collectively underscore OneDrive’s unwavering commitment to continuous innovation, aiming to provide a more robust, efficient, and user-centric file management system.

The ease of sharing files through Teams, staying abreast with comment notifications, and having a granular control over sync activities with the new admin reports are just a tip of the iceberg. OneDrive is undoubtedly aligning itself more closely with the dynamic and collaborative needs of today’s work environment, stepping up its game in a big way. The infusion of AI, enhanced views, personalization features, and extended experiences across Microsoft 365 mark a substantial stride towards a more intuitive and collaborative file management ecosystem.

The feedback from the user community has evidently been a guiding light in shaping these updates, making OneDrive a more robust and user-centric platform. As users, the anticipation builds up on how these updates will unfold to enrich our day-to-day file management operations. The next generation of OneDrive is here, and it’s meticulously tailored to meet the evolving needs of both organizational and personal users, promising a unified and enriched file management experience that we all are looking forward to.

About the Author: With a legacy spanning over two decades in the tech realm, Sousouni Bajis is a Principal Solutions Consultant specializing in SharePoint and the Power Platform. He has propelled numerous enterprise-level solutions, redefining operational efficiency. Through this blog, he shares a wealth of knowledge to navigate the Microsoft 365 cloud ecosystem effectively.

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