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Microsoft Forces OneDrive Users to Start Using NTFS

Dave Parrack 05-07-2017

Microsoft is suddenly, and without warning, insisting OneDrive users only use drives formatted using NTFS (New Technology File System). This has left countless OneDrive users unable to access their files unless and until they format their drive using NTFS. Which makes zero sense.


If there’s one thing Microsoft is struggling with at the moment it’s clearly and concisely communicating its intentions to its legion of users. Earlier this week we saw Microsoft backtrack on its plans to include the new Timeline feature Microsoft Delays New Windows 10 Timeline Feature Microsoft has delayed Windows 10's new Timeline feature. We don't know when it will be ready, but we do know it won't be ready in time for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Read More in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. And now that lack of communication has left OneDrive users feeling frustrated and, in some cases, angry.

Microsoft Dismisses Its Own File System

As reported by Betanews, within the last few days OneDrive users have discovered they’re unable to access their stored files on drives formatted in anything other than NTFS. That essentially means OneDrive no longer supports either FAT32 or ReFS. Which is ironic given that the latter is Microsoft’s own proprietary file system How to Improve Windows Performance with a New File System You can boost your computer's software performance and storage reliability with two technologies: a RAID setup and a new file system. The only requirement is, at least, two spare drives. The rest is easy. Read More designed to one day replace NTFS.

OneDrive users have taken to both Reddit and the Microsoft message boards to complain about the change. Which, it should be noted, happened seemingly overnight and without any warning to those likely to be affected. And at the time of writing Microsoft has yet to issue a statement.

The only viable solution for anyone trying to connect a non-NTFS drive to OneDrive is to convert it to NTFS. But that’s a rather extreme solution to a problem that Microsoft has unnecessarily created for what appears to be no good reason. And it’s not easy switching back from NTFS to FAT32.

Microsoft Bugs OneDrive Users With a Bug

We have to assume this is either a bug or an unintended consequence of testing other features. Because surely Microsoft wouldn’t have made such a big change liable to inconvenience so many users on purpose, right? If this is intentional and here to stay then we suspect OneDrive users may start looking around for an alternative cloud storage solution Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. OneDrive: Which Cloud Storage Is Best for You? Have you changed the way you think about cloud storage? The popular options of Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive have been joined by others. We help you answer which cloud storage service should you use. Read More such as Dropbox or Google Drive.


Do you use OneDrive? Have you been affected by this enforced switch to NTFS? Do you think this is a bug or a feature? What should Microsoft do to remedy the situation? And what will you be doing to regain access to your files? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Tom Woodward via Flickr

Related topics: Cloud Storage, File System, Microsoft, Microsoft OneDrive, NTFS.

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  1. Mark
    July 14, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I haven't used anything other than NTFS for the past 20 years and that includes corporate environments. There's really no reason to use anything else.

  2. superkite
    July 6, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I really can't stand Microsoft. Skype used to be awesome. Now it's not awesome anymore, even on a Windows machine, and on Linux or ChromeOS, it's downright terrible. Onedrive, same story.

  3. ReadandShare
    July 5, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    MS shooting itself at the foot again? Can't blame Steve Ballmer this time!

    Proof positive that corporate arrogance and stupidity are both written into Microsoft's DNA. It's not just this or that CEO.

  4. Bruce Epper
    July 5, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    This just begs a couple of questions. First, why would someone want to put their local copy of their OneDrive folder on removable/external media in the first place? Second, by default, the local OneDrive folder is stored in the user profile directory which ends up being C:\Users\username\OneDrive. This would be an NTFS-formatted drive. So what is the big problem here?