OneDrive for Business gets Windows 8.1 Support, better Office 2016 integration, etc.

OneDrive for Business has improved a lot in the last 6 months. Microsoft has announced lots of improvements and new features to OneDrive for Business in sync, browser and mobile experience. OneDrive for Business recently got industry recognition as it was named a Leader by Forrester Research .

New features in OneDrive for Business

The first version of the Next Generation Sync Client referred to as the new OneDrive Sync Client was released in Dec 2015. This sync client has improved the sync reliability and performance. Today it gets the update, many of which were based on users feedback.

  • Supports Windows 8.1 : OneDrive features were missed by Windows 8.1 users because of lack of support. And now it supports Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.
  • Better Office 2016 integration: Real-time co-authoring, open documents from the Most Recent list and share documents from within the Office app
  • Easy to install: Now it will be easy for anyone to get and install the new OneDrive Sync client.  No more registry keys needed on Windows or Terminal window on Mac!
  • Seamless Client migration: If you are running the previous sync client (groove.exe), this update seamlessly transitions without requiring a resync
  • Pause Sync feature: Very handy feature when you want to suspend syncing for a period of time.
  • View files online: Just right click on any document in Windows Explorer and select “View Online”
  • Sync any file type: Support for .json, .aspx, .swf and more file types added
  • Block file types: IT admins can block certain file types from syncing such as PST or MKV files thus protecting bandwidth
  • Improvements in performance, reliability: Big boost in upload and download speed for small files.

Most of these features will be available to all within 1-2 weeks. Office integration and Pause Sync will be rolling out during course of summer.

Apart from these features, many more sync update to come later this year :

  • Bandwidth management : By June end, IT controls to throttle bandwidth will be added.
  • Windows Explorer integration : Simple right click to get a link or share files directly from Windows Explorer
  • Document Library Sync for SharePoint: Preview will be provided in the third quarter of 2016 while general release by end of the year.

Let us check some enhancements provided to mobile and browser experience :

  • Improvement in Browser experience: Providing a simple way to remove files and folders from “Shared with Me” view view in the browser OneDrive for Business
  • Sharing with external recipient without Office 365 or MS account:  Sharing with people outside ones organization and who doesn’t have Microsoft account is made easier.
  • Integrating Outlook mobile with OneDrive : This update is provided for iOS and Android apps. Outlook mobile is being integrated with OneDrive for Business so that one can share files through email. This will be rolled out soon.
  • New PDF viewing and annotation experience:  OneDrive app for Android, includes a fantastic new PDF viewing and annotation experience
  • Embedded Office Lens: OneDrive app for Android now has embedded Office Lens. Now one can take a photo of the whiteboard after an important meeting and have it automatically converted to a PDF file and uploaded to the OneDrive for Business folder of your choice, in one simple process OneDrive-for-Business02
  • Richer sharing experience for iOS app: OneDrive app for iOS now provides richer sharing experience which includes SMS, Mail, Outlook Mobile, Copy Link, Invite people and others.

Apart from these new IT controls for administrators are being rolled out. Announcing these new features, Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint said

“This new set of capabilities marks another step forward in the value that OneDrive for Business provides as a key component of your Office 365 investment”

For more details, please check the OneDrive blog post.

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Vasudev G. is a Technology Enthusiast. He is a Windows Insider MVP and is committed to Microsoft technologies and products.