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Microsoft squeezing Outlook consumers into buying cloud storage: Report

Photo: Ghacks

*The global technology giant notes effective from February 1, 2023, cloud storage used across Microsoft 365 apps and services will include attachments data and OneDrive data with ‘the best experience’ without explaining how the change is beneficial to products consumers

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

A Microsoft change is causing issues for some Outlook consumers, who cannot send or receive e-mails anymore using the e-mail service, a report has said.

ConsumerConnect learnt the Outlook users had run into e-mail sending and receiving issues since February 2023.

The issue is linked to a change that Microsoft announced some time ago and came into effect on February 1 this year in a staged rollout.

Basically, what Microsoft did was add Outlook attachments data to the available storage space on OneDrive, Ghacks Technology News report said.

The change meant, for some users at last, that they suddenly found that they had exceeded their available storage quota.

Microsoft customers who sign-up for a free Microsoft Account get 5 gigabytes of storage space, report stated.

Grandfathered account may have access to more, for instance, 15 gigabytes, the previous limit, or more thanks to certain promotions in the past that rewarded participants with additional permanent storage space.

Microsoft’s aware of development

Microsoft reportedly confirmed the change on this support page.

There, the company notes that “starting February 1, 2023, cloud storage used across Microsoft 365 apps and services will include attachments data and OneDrive data”. Consequently, the update “may reduce how much cloud storage you have available to use with your OneDrive.”

Likewise, Microsoft customers who go over the capacity will have their ability to send and receive emails in disrupted.

The global tech giant claims that these changes ensure that it offers “the best experience”, without explaining how that change is beneficial to customers.

Reports from affected Microsoft customers, nonetheless, confirmed that many had been caught off guard.

Some may not have got the memo that Outlook data counts against the available cloud storage quota of their Microsoft account.

What affected consumers need to do

It was gathered the affected users have only three options to deal with the issue:

Buy additional storage space by upgrading to a higher tier OneDrive or Microsoft 365 plan.

Remove attachments and other large data from Outlook to free up space and get used storage below the quota.

Outlook e-mails may also be downloaded first to the local system, or archived using Mailstore Home or other e-mail archiving solutions, and

Switch to another e-mail provider.

Microsoft’s calculation, probably, is that many customers may not have the desired to go through their e-mails to remove large attachments to restore the ability to send and receive files. Upgrading to a paid plan resolves the issue immediately.

Switching to another e-mail provider is even more complex, as it may require changing email addresses at services and sites, and informing contacts about the change.

The Web-based version of Outlook has a filter that is useful when it comes to finding e-mails with attachments.

To use it, open the main Outlook website and select Filter > Has Files. This displays only emails with file attachments. There is also a Filters listing, which may be even more useful, as it lists file attachments exclusively.

To access it, select the Files icon of the left sidebar in  Outlook. Outlook lists all file attachments in a list. Filters are provided to filter by type or date.

The one thing that is missing is to filter by size.

On the whole, five gigabytes of e-mail storage is not really much, especially if it is shared with OneDrive.

Microsoft has been pushing OneDrive on Windows 10 and 11, and if used, may also use up storage, report said.

Cloud is lucrative for companies and many attempt to push these offerings.

Microsoft’s strategy is to promote its cloud storage service OneDrive and Microsoft 365 in Windows, and to make changes to existing products that impact users negatively.

This is done to get a portion of these users to sign-up for paid cloud storage services, Ghacks noted.

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