OneDrive support and complete service is being stopped completely on older versions of Windows. But we’re not supposed to use words like ‘stop’, ‘drop’ or ‘end’, the preferred euphemism is ‘aligning’ even though there’s very little alignment happening.
Microsoft isn’t just stopping feature and security updates. For older Windows, the OneDrive app will stop working at all in early 2022 even though Windows itself is still in support.
It’s the first time we can recall where Microsoft is ending the working of an app, instead of just letting it work without security updates. They’ve given no reason for this abrupt cessation though their corporate self-interest is obvious.
Adding to the (deliberate) confusion is a distinction between personal and business use of OneDrive with separate announcements.
Good news aka reassurance
Users of Windows 10 and Windows 11 can continue to use the OneDrive app – naturally.
OneDrive via a browser https://onedrive.live.com/ also continues, in fact might be necessary to use OneDrive on older machines.
OneDrive stops working at all in March 2022
These changes go beyond the usual ‘end of support’ for software updates. Microsoft is quite ruthless in punishing personal customers.
For personal users, Microsoft will stop the OneDrive app working at all (no file synchronization) with just four months notice unless you have Windows 10 or Windows 11.
Microsoft says they are ‘aligning’ OneDrive app support to Windows support but that doesn’t align (pun intended) with what they are doing.
Windows 8.1 ends support in January 2023
OneDrive app on Windows 8.1 won’t work at all after 1 March 2022 (and gets no updates two months before that).
How is that ‘aligning’ support dates?
They aren’t just cutting security updates for the OneDrive app, Microsoft will stop the app working at all and long before the Windows support date that it supposedly aligned to.
Personal vs Business
The changes are different for OneDrive on Personal accounts versus Business accounts. That’s a point not well understood and the reason why there’s conflicting information and dates being published.
Microsoft hasn’t said exactly what they consider ‘Personal’ or ‘Business’ for OneDrive but we can infer it:
Personal – all Microsoft 365 consumer customers (Personal or Family/Home) plus free accounts.
Business – any Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise plans with OneDrive quota included. Presumably also Education and Government plans with OneDrive included.
Personal OneDrive accounts
From 1 January 2022 there’ll be NO software updates OneDrive desktop app on Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 devices for personal use.
That won’t matter too much because just two months later, the app will stop working …
1 March 2022 – NO synchronization of files/folders between Win 7, 8 and 8.1 and OneDrive.
You won’t lose any files but anything you save to the local OneDrive synced folders won’t be copied to the cloud. Similarly, files saved to OneDrive won’t appear on your computer automatically.
Big surprise, Microsoft’s recommendations are self-serving. They suggest switching to Windows 10 or Windows 11 but that’s not always practical on older computers.
Otherwise, use the web interface to upload/download to OneDrive.
There are third-party sync tools like GoodSync that should still work. GoodSync works on Windows XP and more recent Windows.
Business OneDrive accounts
Business users have longer to go before OneDrive stops getting updates.
This is where Microsoft has the weasel word ‘aligning’ in an insulting attempt to hide a reduction in service to their paying customers. According to Microsoft they are ‘aligning’ OneDrive support to the Windows dates.
This is a little complicated and made worse by Microsoft’s misleading wording like this:
“Windows 7 … will be supported until January 10, 2023.”
Windows 7 is out of mainstream support, it ended in January 2020.
However, some organizations have paid to keep their Windows 7 machines ‘alive’ with the Extended Security Update (ESU) which lasts until January 2023. Microsoft’s statement should read:
“Windows 7 with Extended Security Update … will be supported until January 10, 2023.”
‘Supported’ means important & critical security updates only. No feature updates or bug fixes.
If you’re Windows 7 business user without ESU, OneDrive app updates end on 1 January 2022. After that, the OneDrive app should keep working (Microsoft hasn’t said otherwise). But there’ll be no security or feature updates.
Windows 8 has been out of support since January 2016.
The assumption is that Windows 8 machines have been updated to Windows 8.1, which is still being supported.
OneDrive on Windows 8 is not supported.
If you have one of the few Windows 8 machines left, switch to Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 itself is supported until 10 January 2023.
OneDrive app on Win8.1 for business users will be supported with security fixes only until that date. No feature updates.
Microsoft hides the bad news
Microsoft knows this is a bad look so they try to hide it with separate announcements for personal and business users. Plus the usual weasel words.
The announcement for personal OneDrive users is buried on the TechCommunity sub-site with the misleading heading.
“End of support for OneDrive desktop application on Windows 7, 8, and 8.1”
Misleading because it’s not just the ‘end of support’ but the end of functionality as confirmed in this sentence regarding Windows 7, 8 and 8.1
“Personal OneDrive desktop applications running on these operating systems will stop syncing to the cloud on March 1, 2022.”
The same announcement continues the propaganda that Windows 7 is supported until 10 January 2023 when that’s only true for enterprise customers who have paid for extra support.
Still, the Microsoft PR strategy seems to have worked. None of the major outlets have figured out Redmond’s trickery.