Outlook and Microsoft 365 storage change

Microsoft 365’s latest update, which makes OneDrive.com handle Outlook attachments (counted towards cloud storage), has confused some users.

This new update means that those on a free Microsoft 365 may experience difficulties sending or receiving emails if they reach their cloud storage quota, even if they have storage outside the new 5GB quota for OneDrive.

According to Microsoft’s documentation, all Outlook.com signups have up to 15GB of cloud storage and 5GB of OneDrive storage, which aligns with industry standards. However, Microsoft made a significant change to this storage policy. Starting February 1, attachments now count towards the OneDrive allowance.

Microsoft 365 storage
Table source: Microsoft | Screenshot by WindowsLatest.com

Microsoft account holders will have only 5GB of cloud storage for their attachments instead of 15GB. While the 15GB quota isn’t going anywhere, as it will continue to include texts, Outlook.com attachments are now part of the 5GB allowance on OneDrive. If you run out of 5GB of OneDrive storage, you won’t be able to send or receive email attachments.

Microsoft 365 Cloud Storage
OneDrive’s 5GB now handles Outlook attachments, so you’ll hit the 5GB limit first rather than Outlook’s 15GB (which only includes texts now).

“Starting February 1, 2023, cloud storage used across Microsoft 365 apps and services will include Outlook.com attachments data and OneDrive data,” the tech giant said in a support document.

A Microsoft 365 support staff provided us with the following statement:

You have 5 GB of free cloud storage with your Microsoft account shared across your files and photos in OneDrive, attachments in Outlook.com, and your Microsoft 365 apps. You also get 15 GB of free Outlook.com email storage which is separate from your Microsoft cloud storage.

In other words, Microsoft 365 free account holders have two options: buy storage or subscription or delete messages with large attachments to free up space.

Users protest and criticize Microsoft’s confusing cloud storage policy

This move has sparked confusion and frustration among some users as more and more have noticed the storage changes.

One user commented that they have 15GB of free Outlook storage and 5GB of free OneDrive storage and are confused about why their attachments need to be stored twice.

“It seems MS is duplicating files unnecessarily to get people to pay for extra storage, my attachments don’t need to be stored twice,” one user noted in a Microsoft answer thread.

Another user stated they no longer trust Microsoft and are moving to other email providers.

Other users are confused about the storage policies and requirements. While some users thought their total storage capacity included Outlook attachments, others were unsure if the storage capacity only included messages.

As mentioned at the outset, you’ll need to free up space and delete messages with attachments if you want to send or receive emails smoothly. Otherwise, you need to pay for Microsoft 365.

The tech giant has warned users that their cloud storage quota must stay below the 5GB quota, or their “ability to send and receive emails in Outlook.com will be disrupted”.

This move comes after Microsoft announced a new Outlook for Windows experience for paid and free account holders.

About The Author

Mayank Parmar

Mayank Parmar is an entrepreneur who founded Windows Latest. He is the Editor-in-Chief and has written on various topics in his seven years of career, but he is mostly known for his well-researched work on Microsoft's Windows. His articles and research works have been referred to by CNN, Business Insiders, Forbes, Fortune, CBS Interactive, Microsoft and many others over the years.