From 1 March 2022 OneDrive will stop working on Windows 8.1. What does that mean for Microsoft Office 365 and other Office software compatible with Windows 8.1? Can Word and other Office apps still work with documents saved on OneDrive.
Windows 8.1 customers are left with unanswered questions after Microsoft’s announcement that their OneDrive app would stop syncing on 1 March 2022.
Microsoft’s own Office 365 and other Office releases (like Office 2016) are supported on Windows 8.1 and work with OneDrive.
Microsoft has made OneDrive an integral part of modern Office so it’s hard to understand them cutting off OneDrive from a version of Windows that’s still supported and approved to use with the latest version of Microsoft Office.
Will Office 365 still work on Windows 8.1?
In short, yes.
Office 365 and other Office bundles which are supported on Windows 8.1 will continue to work with OneDrive stored documents just in all the ways you can now.
The OneDrive app disconnection in March 2022 will NOT block Office 365 from documents saved on OneDrive but you might need to change the way you work.
Open documents direct only
The March 2022 change means that Office 365 customers won’t be able to open OneDrive documents when offline.
But they can still open OneDrive documents directly from within the Office apps while online. The File panes will continue to be linked to OneDrive accounts and display documents stored there.
See Two ways to open a OneDrive document in Microsoft Office to understand the important difference.
How can you be sure?
Microsoft, to its shame, has not kept Office 365 customers informed about this change.
We did some tests to confirm that Office 365 for Windows connects to OneDrive without needing the OneDrive app. That’s how we made the screen-shot above.
That’s because Microsoft has another way to connect with OneDrive, the OneDrive API (Application Programming Interface). Many apps connect directly to OneDrive without using the OneDrive app, including Microsoft Office.
It’s possible that Microsoft will cripple the OneDrive API to match the new ‘older Windows’ restrictions but they’ve said nothing to suggest that will happen. If the API was restricted, there’d be many developers, including the Office team, who would be mighty unhappy.