Microsoft makes it harder to avoid OneDrive during new Windows 11 installs

Hey, OneDrive! Leave my files alone

User data is being slurped into Microsoft's cloud via OneDrive folder backup without user permission.

First reported by Neowin, a change in Windows 11's setup for new devices has resulted in OneDrive being fired up for automatic folder backup without first asking for authorization.

It is difficult to avoid OneDrive when setting up a new installation of Windows 11. Going through set-up without providing a Microsoft Account requires either some technical skill or a corporate account. If a user provides a Microsoft Account, then the OneDrive trap is sprung, and Microsoft's synchronization feature will ensure that desktop folders are populated.

The result can be a cluttered desktop after what should have been a clean Windows 11 installation.

As Microsoft has sought to streamline the Windows 11 set-up experience for new devices, several options have been removed, and notification prompts to turn on folder backup dropped in favor of having the functionality enabled by default.

The feature can be turned off – and won't be turned on for users able to dodge the Microsoft Account requirement or for existing Windows 11 installations – but the fact it is enabled by default in new installations will irritate many users. This will be particularly annoying when OneDrive's 5GB of free personal storage is exhausted, and the user is prompted to set up a subscription to add more capacity.

It's all a bit pushy on Microsoft's part. For users of the service, the OneDrive Folder Backup function is handy and allows customers to hop from device to device and access the same data with minimal effort. However, for users who have not bought into the Microsoft ecosystem, to have this enabled by default, coupled with the nag screens when the initial 5GB of storage is used up, will be an annoyance.

Microsoft is hardly alone in turning such features on by default. This writer has an iPhone that whinged piteously about iCloud being filled with backups and photos until either more space was purchased or the option found to shut it up.

Ultimately, as Neowin observes, "You can always just uninstall OneDrive and call it a day."

Or Microsoft could stop with the patterns that drive some customers to consider a subscription to its services. ®

More about

More about

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like