Dealing with ‘new” OneDrive

So the changes that bit me in the tuchas in this post have come to production OneDrive, and I’m almost surprised to see my reaction was on the mild side. I’m not surprised, the forcing of FoD, aka “deleting a bunch of files from your hard drive without so much as a by your leave” was a shortsighted idea that on par with the decision to make the Oozinator and its infamous ad.

For the more technically astute, there are two technotes that apply:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/onedrive/files-on-demand-mac gives you some tips on configuration, including the infamous /setpin switch, which in theory would allow you to better automate keeping copies of things locally. In practice, it’s awful to use, see my original post for my experience. Like really, it’s a dumb implementation, and that is the kindest thing I can say.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/onedrive/deploy-and-configure-on-macos has more useful information, in particular the FilesOnDemandEnabled key, which can be set to off. The OneDrive team of course doesn’t recommend doing this. Right now, the effort involved in caring less about the OneDrive team’s wishes with regard to Files-On-Demand would be considerable, so I shan’t bother. Suffice it to say, their wishes on this issue have as much value to me as my turning off Files-On-Demand did for them.

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.

As far as what I’ve seen from the OneDrive team on this:

We didn’t have many users turning off Files-On-Demand, this is not a real problem

The usage or lack of usage of Files-On-Demand is not the problem. It is OneDrive deleting large amounts of data without the user having any real warning about it, nor option to refuse. It is even worse for people such as myself who had turned Files-On-Demand off, and had OneDrive decide, “nah.”

We give you a way to still have all your files local

If I total your car while you’re asleep, and I pay for its replacement, you are still without a car for a non-zero amount of time. The fact that it’s not costing you any money doesn’t reduce the amount of time to get back to where you were before I totaled your car to zero. Same thing here. This also assumes that everyone using OneDrive has unmetered, high bandwidth (at least 100Mbps) connections to the public internet, and the time to restore potentially GB of data. 26.2GB in my case. Even with Google Fiber, that’s not zero time. There is no small amount of elitism and arrogance in that statement.

Apple’s API changes required this

They 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.

That there is still some method to undo this…nonsense does not make it zero bad, or zero damage. This needs to be fixed. There is nothing so amazing about Files-On-Demand that makes this decision worth the damage this has caused OneDrive, and I think it a shame that the team’s mindset comes from such a place of elitism and deliberate ignorance.

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