Microsoft has announced that today is the last day to claim 15GB of free space through its popular OneDrive cloud storage program. Storage space in OneDrive became a controversial topic back in November 2015, when the megacompany announced that it was ending its unlimited storage option, something that many users thought would last forever. Not only was this option taken away from free subscribers, those who paid for the home version of Office 365 found that their storage space was being reduced to 1TB. Paid 100GB and 200GB plans were also reduced, both down to 50GB for $1.99 a month. Finally, free 15GB users would be cut all the way down to 5GB. A firestorm erupted as unhappy consumers voiced their displeasure directly to the company on social media and all throughout the Web.
As a result of the backlash, Microsoft later issued an official apology in December for the severity of their decision.
“We’ve heard clearly from our Windows and OneDrive fans about the frustration and disappointment we have caused. We realize the announcement came across as blaming customers for using our product. For this, we are truly sorry and would like to apologize to the community.”
— The Verge (@verge) January 31, 2016
As a compromise, Microsoft has decided to allow existing users to keep their 15GB of free storage along with an additional 15GB that comes with the camera roll bonus. The camera roll bonus comes, according to The Verge, if you’ve already activated OneDrive’s camera roll features by using the app on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone. To take advantage of this, though, you have to act today by opting in using the link provided below.
PC World reports that the reason cited for Microsoft’s decision to tighten the reins on OneDrive’s data storage was that some users were abusing the privilege. At the time of its announcement, Microsoft said that it “want[ed] to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.” Hot Hardware further expanded on this by writing that some users were using up to 75TB of storage on the unlimited plans by storing “DVR recordings, entire movie collections, and multiple complete machine backups.” This ongoing scenario made free data storage less economically feasible from a business point of view.
— TeachThought (@TeachThought) January 26, 2016
How can YOU keep your free 15GB of storage?
Microsoft has made it all really very simple for its users. They’ve set up a special OneDrive offer page at https://preview.onedrive.com/bonus. Follow the instructions and the 15GB is yours forever (or until Microsoft changes their mind again). Choose the “keep your free storage” option, sign in with your Microsoft ID, follow a couple more easy steps, and then you’ll receive a confirmation that you will keep your additional storage space.
Additionally, if you’re a free OneDrive user and are already using more than 5GB of storage space, you will receive one free year of Office 365 Personal. This free year includes 1TB of storage.
— Rod Trent (@rodtrent) January 30, 2016
It seems that although free users received extra perks through this offer, paid users did not receive any type of additional incentives. No announcements have been made as of this writing to indicate that paid users will receive any kind of bonuses for using their tier storage plans.
Again, all of this gifting goodness ends today, January 31, so click the link above to claim your 15GB or you will only be operating with 5GB of storage space in your free account after February 1.