Outlook.com will be using up your OneDrive quota

Microsoft has announced that Outlook.com email attachments will counted as part of the OneDrive allowance. That means your OneDrive quota will be used up a little more quickly, but other consequences of this change haven’t been answered.

From 1 February 2023, the space used to store Outlook.com email attachments will be counted against the OneDrive quota. Attachments are currently considered part of the mailbox quota only.

The announcement came in an email to some Microsoft 365 customers.

Plenty of questions arise and yet unanswered, just for starters …

  • Does this mean the Outlook.com mailbox storage (either 15GB or 50GB) will get more free space since the attachments will be counted against OneDrive quota instead of the mailbox quota.   Microsoft says “This update will not impact your Outlook.com mailbox storage amount.”, which could be taken to mean the attachment storage will be double counted (as used space in both the mailbox and OneDrive).
  • It’s not stated, but presumably this applies to all email attachments, regardless of the folder. Inbox, Sent Items etc.
  • Does it mean that email attachments will be visible as standalone files in a OneDrive folder/s?  Probably not, but many customers might expect that from the way the announcement is worded.
  • Does this also apply to free, non-Microsoft 365, Outlook.com users who have only 5GB of OneDrive space?  If so, they might get a shock when a lot of their OneDrive space gets gobbled up.  Will they also get a temporary increase in OneDrive allowance (see below)?

Microsoft’s various Outlook software has already changed to make it easier (or encourage) people to save files to OneDrive and share a link, instead of sending an attachment.

Extra, temporary, OneDrive space

Microsoft 365 customers will get ‘at least’ an extra 50GB of storage from 1 Feb 2023 but just for one year.

Big deal – it’s a trivial gesture meant to deflect some of the criticism that’s sure to come from this decision.

See Outlook.com attachments to OneDrive: unanswered questions

Don’t panic

As Douglas Adams taught us “Don’t Panic” 😟.

For Microsoft 365 customers with Outlook.com using the same Microsoft account login, it should not make a lot of difference .. UNLESS they are already close to using their entire 1TB of OneDrive quota.

It WILL be a problem for two groups of people:

  • Heavy users of so-called ‘Free’ Outlook.com with 15GB of mailbox space and just 5GB of OneDrive.  They might find their OneDrive space greatly diminished when attachments are counted.
    • A workaround to limited cloud storage has been to use email attachments instead.  Microsoft’s decision blocks that bit of nerdy trickery.
  • Microsoft 365 users who also use Outlook.com but each with a different Microsoft account login.  The Microsoft 365 benefits don’t apply to the separate Outlook.com account.

What happens to Outlook.com if OneDrive runs out of space

According to Microsoft “If you reach your cloud storage quota, your ability to send and receive emails in Outlook.com will be disrupted.”

Email and on-screen warnings already appear when OneDrive nears its quota limit.

The exact disruption to Outlook.com isn’t explained but anyone affected should get plenty of warning.

The main effect of this and other changes is to encourage customers towards buying a mailbox hosted by Microsoft, most likely a Business Basic plan which includes 50GB of storage.

Office-Watch.com will have more about this as Microsoft condescends to tell their customers the necessary details.

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