Thursday, February 24, 2022 [Tweets] [Favorites]

OneDrive Root Change and Files On-Demand

Adam Engst:

I don’t use OneDrive, but users are up in arms after its most recent update made the Files On-Demand approach mandatory, removing the option to keep all files local with a single switch. Microsoft explained this move, but users remain unhappy for a variety of reasons.

The workaround seems to be to “pin” files or folders, which keeps them local. If you want everything local, you have to pin all your top-level folders. Unfortunately, and this is causing consternation for users who have vast amounts of data stored in OneDrive, that means you have to redownload everything from the cloud.

Tim Hardwick:

What this has meant in practice for many users is that any local copies of files synced to OneDrive have been summarily wiped from their Mac since the update was rolled out.

[…]

On top of these errors, some users are also experiencing problems with files refusing to download or open correctly in their default application.

Tim Hardwick:

In an update to its original blog post introducing this aspect of its new “Files On-Demand Experience,” Microsoft has now responded to these concerns by explaining that the first version of Files On-Demand is built on several pieces of technology that are now deprecated by Apple in macOS 12.3, currently still in beta.

John C. Welch:

I don’t have a problem with FOD as a concept, but I had it turned off for specific reasons, one of which is that I regularly work disconnected, which makes FOD kind of useless.

[…]

OneDrive and FOD are at this point lying to me. It’s not even completely downloading the file placeholders for folders until you click on them. So if you weren’t aware of this, and were offline and clicked on a FOD’d folder, you’d think it was empty, that you had lost data.

John C. Welch:

To be blunt: were a random script or executable do what OneDrive is doing here, namely deleting data without so much as a warning, we would call that script malware and warn the world about it so suitable countermeasures could be implemented. That OneDrive gives you an as yet manual method to eventually get all the files that were already local back to that benighted state doesn’t change the malware-like behavior OneDrive is engaging in here.

[…]

[Apple] required you to move the OneDrive folder, they most certainly did not make you force everyone to Files-On-Demand, insinuating otherwise is quite insulting to your customers’ intelligence.

John C. Welch:

Using OneDrive on an external drive is now a real problem, one that may not be fixable

A lot of workflows that depended on those files being in a specific place are broken

[…]

The OneDrive root change alone will take months to sort out, along with any bugs caused or discovered. Throwing the FoD change on top of it was just foolishness

[…]

In any event, even though I know for a fact that the problems people are seeing now were reported during the beta cycle, I think the team either blew off the data[…]

Previously:

5 Comments

I feel a bit for Microsoft here. I think they could've done this better, but really the fault lies with Apple and there yet again dumb moves. No reason to force this in 12.3 instead of 13.0 and no reason to make the experience so terrible.

Kevin Schumacher

@Matt B
> but really the fault lies with Apple and there yet again dumb moves.

For part of it, which is probably not even the worst part for most people.

> [Apple] required you to move the OneDrive folder, they most certainly did not make you force everyone to Files-On-Demand, insinuating otherwise is quite insulting to your customers’ intelligence.

Microsoft explained this move

Have they, though?

They’ve explained why they need to reimplement FOD. But they haven’t really explained why non-FOD needs to go away. Nor have they explained the user experience: neither did I receive a prompt that an upgrade is being installed, nor a prompt that my files are about to get deleted.

On top of these errors, some users are also experiencing problems with files refusing to download or open correctly in their default application.

That’s been mostly OK for me, but unfortunately, Quick Look is useless now. Sometimes, it shows a placeholder. Sometimes, it shows a thumbnail. Never does it show a preview of the actual contents — because for that, it would have to fetch the file. (Or, there would have to be an API to generate those server-side.) So when before, I could use space and the arrow keys to navigate through a bunch of folders to find just the right set of presentation slides, that ability is now gone.

Add to that the Finder experience where, like John C. Welch says, it’ll pretend for a few seconds that a folder is entirely empty, before figuring out that it has to load its contents.

but really the fault lies with Apple and there yet again dumb moves.

For part of it, which is probably not even the worst part for most people.

Yep.

Files on demand is too much "magic" for my taste. This has potentially serious drawbacks for offline use and local backups, as explained recently in great detail on Howard Oakley's blog.

To me the appeal of the early Dropbox clients was that all files remained available under my control.

I still can't figure out why Word can't open files directly from my OneDrive. Works fine on my PC, gives me an error on my Mac "Can't open file. Sorry we couldn't open '[file url]'". But if I drag the file from OneDrive to my Mac's Documents folder, Word can open it just fine. I googled for 30 min trying to find a solution, and nothing works. I don't have any ad blocker or firewall type of things enabled. All my apps and OS are the latest versions. Total mystery.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment