Dave, when I started up my computer this morning, a window popped up saying I needed to upgrade OneDrive because I was running out of storage space. I have no idea how to check, however. What’s the strategy for identifying how much space I have, and how much I’m using??
Remember the good old days when people used to have physical storage and could just check to see how much space they had available? You probably still have physical storage, whether it’s a hard drive or a solid-state drive, and it is pretty easy to figure out how much space you have and how much you’re using. But cloud storage is something else entirely because it’s rather ephemeral. You might have a few gig, a terabyte, or hundreds of terabytes available, based on your OneDrive account settings (and how much you’re willing to pay).
While the convenience of having a virtual disk that’s in the Internet cloud is terrific, there are a few things where the old school, OG way of managing things might have been easier. In fact, it’s a bit of work to identify how big your current OneDrive partition is, and what percentage you still have available. Let me show you the steps because there are a couple of ways of identifying this information…
THE EASY WAY: THE ONEDRIVE APP
If you’ve got a tiny cloud icon on your Taskbar, you’re in luck:
Click on it and you’ll see a list of the most recent files and folders you’ve accessed on OneDrive, if any, and some icons and buttons along the top and bottom of the window:
Click on the gear icon on the top right – as shown – and choose “Settings“. You’ll go straight to the OneDrive account settings:
Look on the lower left. It will show you the available space – I have 5 GB, the standard amount for a free Windows user account – and am using 2.5GB, about 50% of my available space.
Curiously, when I first started up my PC this morning, I headed to OneDrive and was prompted that I was running low on space and needed to upgrade. I think they were being a bit overzealous…
But what if you don’t have that cloud icon on your Taskbar or you’re on someone else’s PC? No worries!
ACCESS ONEDRIVE FROM A WEB BROWSER
The other way you can get to OneDrive is to connect to the cloud storage system itself. This is most easily done within a Web browser. Go to onedrive.live.com, logging in as necessary. You’ll see your entire cloud storage file and folderset, in a layout somewhat similar to File Explorer:
Again on the lower left, you can see the storage stats, along with a handy “Buy storage” button.
Want to know where all the space is going? Scroll down a bit further so you can see your files and folders. Click on the words “File size” and choose “Largest to smallest file” from the tiny menu that appears. Now you’ll be able to see the biggest files and biggest folders up top. My biggest folder is “Pictures”, and a double-click opens it up to reveal:
For me, 2.06GB of the 2.5GB I’m utilizing on OneDrive is the subfolder “Camera Roll”. A double-click and I can now do the same thing, clicking on “File size” to sort biggest to smallest:
The largest files are .MOV movies – no surprise, videos can be enormous – but each isn’t that large, with 142MB being the largest of all. There are just a lot of them so they add up. Want to preview one? Double click on it within the Web browser. My video 20151024_211450000_iOS.MOV is in fact from 2015 and it’s my youngest daughter at glow-in-the-dark midnight bowling:
Cute, but after 8 years I can safely delete it to make space for newer content. In fact, by spending just a few minutes cleaning up my old files, I freed up over 1GB of space, meaning that I don’t need to upgrade OneDrive for a while. If I did, though, I could always click on that handy “Buy Storage” option, which reveals:
Basically, for $19.99/yr I could bump up from 5GB to 100GB. That’s a mere $0.38/week for tons more storage. Worth it for you? You’ll have to decide. And if it isn’t enough, $69.99/yr gets you 1TB of cloud storage and $99.99 will get you a pretty staggering 6TB of storage, easily shared among family members, friends, or coworkers.
Hope that helps unlock the mystery of your OneDrive space utilization!
Pro tip: I’ve been writing about Windows for many years. Please check out my Windows help area for lots more useful tutorials while you’re visiting the site!