How OneDrive changed the way I work

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How OneDrive changed the way I work

My Documents, on steroids

onedrive-versionsI kind of think about OneDrive like the My Documents folder of yore. Back in the olden days, “My Docs”–as it was affectionately referred–would be redirected to a company file server and backed up there by your administrator. But it meant you had to physically (or via VPN) be connected back to the office every so often in order to synchronize your folders and profile. Logon/logoff could be particularly slow during these times, too.

Nowadays, I barely use my company’s network. VPN? What the hell does that even mean? Roaming profiles? Are you joking?

Instead, I just keep my personal files and folders–the stuff I’m responsible for managing–in my OneDrive, which is like my own personal file server in the cloud. It includes up to 1 TB (!) of storage, plus it has file history built-in, so rolling back to earlier versions for a restore or even just compare/contrast is quick and easy.

Note: I am not saying this is a replacement for your company’s file server. I’m just pointing out that you don’t need to rely on your workplace in order to synchronize your own documents anymore.

Mobility is your friend

The power of this tool really struck me a couple of years ago when I picked up a cheap $200 ASUS netbook for a trip to Europe. I signed into Windows 8.1 with my Microsoft Live ID. Hey look at that: my familiar desktop and profile pictures popped right up. And then a few clicks later, I signed in again to Office 365, which gave me instant access to my documents within OneDrive for Business.

onedrive-notificationsLiterally within 5-10 minutes of owning this machine, I was browsing through my personal work files and opening documents that I had just recently started authoring on my work-issued laptop. I was able to pick up right where I left off with those changes. Like magic.

The gift keeps on giving too. With the newest version of Outlook in Office 365, I can quickly attach files that were recently edited or accessed in OneDrive to any Email.  The drop-down list is crazy accurate, like it knows what document I want to attach before I even go there. I don’t know if it’s reading my thoughts or if it’s just coincidence because I tend to email copies of my drafts so quickly after I finish them. It feels like magic to me, though.

One more nifty feature I have to share with you: Office 365 will later tell you when a recipient has accessed the content you shared, and it even gives you the option to revoke the access on demand when you think there has been a mistake or a breach.  Wow. Microsoft, you are blowing my mind.

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