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OneDrive Sync Client Now Available

Aimed at end users, Microsoft this week published new OneDrive Sync Client tutorials, which can be found here.

Apparently, OneDrive users will get these tutorials presented once to them when they take certain actions. The actions include "uploading files to OneDrive, accessing their content via the Mobile Application, and sharing their files with others," per Microsoft's announcement.

New Sync Client
The new OneDrive Sync Client, also called the "next-generation sync client," differs from the older client that's based on Microsoft Groove technology. One of Microsoft's new tutorials provides help for end users in actually identifying which OneDrive client they are using. The client can be identified by checking the hover text that gets displayed when a mouse cursor is placed over OneDrive's white or blue cloud icon.

The new sync client supports real-time coauthoring collaborations with others, as well as the sharing Office apps documents, according to Microsoft's "Get Started" document. It runs on Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8 and Windows 7, and is already installed for organizations using Windows 10 or Office 2016 desktop apps.Currently, the OneDrive Sync Client works with SharePoint Online, hosted by Microsoft. It does not work with SharePoint Server used "on premises" in an organization's datacenters. Microsoft is planning to release a new SharePoint Server 2019 preview in mid-2018, and that new server possibly could support the OneDrive Sync Client, according to a speculative comment offered by Vlad Catrinescu, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional and president of vNext Solutions. However, Microsoft has not clarified the point.

OneDrive file storage has some limits. A OneDrive for Business site or team site library can store more than 100,000 files, but its sync performance will "start to decline" at that limit. In addition, there's a file size limit of 15GB for individual files that get uploaded to the "OneDrive for Business library," according Microsoft's "Restrictions and Limitations" support document.

Post-Ignite Developments
A few of Microsoft's post-Ignite event announcements regarding OneDrive and SharePoint still might be news. A number of new capabilities were introduced at the preview stage.

For organizations using the Office 365 Data Loss Prevention service, Microsoft turned on "policy tips" in October for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business users. A policy tip is a message that warns the end user when they attempt to share "sensitive content."

Microsoft previewed external sharing for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business in October. It works by sending an e-mail with a "time-limited, single use verification code" to activate via a link in the e-mail. This feature is expected to be available "by the end of the year."

In late October, Microsoft announced that the ability for IT pros to set a "Silent Sync Account Configuration" setting for OneDrive had reached the preview phase. As its name suggests, this setting, when turned on, activates the silent configuration of OneDrive during the PC first-run setup period "using Windows 10 or domain credentials for Windows 7 and Windows 8."  The preview comes with caveats. It'll push the new OneDrive for Business Sync Client if the older sync client was used. It requires enabling the Azure Active Directory Authentication Library. According to comments in Microsoft's announcement, few testers have been able to get this feature to work.

Another feature in preview lets IT pros automatically configure the maximum download throughput size for the OneDrive Sync Client. It permits the throughput to be set, ranging from a minimum of 50KB per second to a maximum of 100,000KB per second, which end users can't alter. This setting is just for computing environments that have "strict traffic restrictions." It should not be used with the Files On-Demand feature, which uses local placeholders in OneDrive for downloadable files to save on the sync bandwidth traffic.

Files On-Demand came into effect with the Windows 10 "fall creators update" and works with existing OneDrive policies, according to a Microsoft announcement. The announcement explained in the comments section that "we won't be back porting this [Files On-Demand feature] to earlier versions of Windows 7, 8 or 10," although it may come to the Mac.

Microsoft also announced in October that it restored a OneDrive and SharePoint Online e-mail sharing feature that "carbon copied" (CCed) the sender. It restored the feature because some users don't use Exchange Online and relied on the CC field.

In November, Microsoft previewed the "Idle Session Timeout" configuration option for OneDrive and SharePoint. This feature lets Office 365 administrators set warnings for end users that they will get signed out of OneDrive or SharePoint. The warnings appear after periods of end user inactivity, as specified by the administrator. The Idle Session Timeout feature is disabled by default. Microsoft expects that this feature will reach "general availability" status late this year.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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