When I bit the bullet and signed up for Microsoft’s Office 365, I was excited that I got a whopping 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage. I immediately stopped using my puny 5GB of free Dropbox space and switched. Well, after testing OneDrive for almost a year, I’ve finally had enough and am switching back to Dropbox for my everyday files.
Why am I switching? Well, I continually encounter version problems where I open a file and it’s an old version! Sometimes I get an error message saying a file is locked by another user! Another user?! I’m the only one using my account! Argh! (Note that you can usually fix this by killing the hidden Office background process that has a lock on the file.) Sometimes I get a dialog saying that the server copy of the file doesn’t match my local copy and asks which one I want to keep! That’s all the information you get! How would you even know? Really Microsoft?! Very frustrating.
The problem lies in the way OneDrive works. I’m kinda surprised no one has ever mentions this in reviews and comparisons. When you work with a OneDrive file your application (e.g., Excel) retrieves and saves to the Cloud. Obviously, there is a local file being used, but the process is more like a real-time interaction with the Cloud. What I believe is happening is that the cloud file gets locked for some reason and when I save it can’t be updated. You can easily miss the tiny notification that something wrong happened when you save.
Dropbox works entirely differently. You work with local files and Dropbox syncs them to the Cloud in the background. This is a much better process as you can be confident that your local files are the most current. Moreover, Dropbox now works with iOS Office apps so I won’t lose the ability to access those files on my iPad or iPhone by leaving Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage.
Sure, you can still get version problems when working on multiple machines even with Dropbox, but I can live with that and more importantly understand why it happens. I should not have to deal with this type of problem on my main machine though. Get a clue Microsoft!
I’ll still take advantage of my OneDrive space, but for more archival type uses.
2015-12-10: An unexpected benefit is that loading and saving is WAY faster. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising since I no longer have to wait for files to download/upload from the Cloud.