Every user of a Microsoft 365 For Business subscription plan knows that their account includes at least 1 TB of secure cloud-based storage in the form of Microsoft OneDrive. The dedicated app for Windows 10 enables users to store, access, and share your individual Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint slide decks, and Access databases with co-workers with ease—usually in Microsoft Teams. The app’s automated file synchronization feature means that you can edit any document offline, like when you’re traveling and unable to connect to a public WiFi hotspot, then automatically sync those edited files with your OneDrive in the cloud once your internet connectivity is restored. OneDrive for Business is simple, convenient, and until recently not a native 64-bit app. But thanks to feedback from users, Microsoft is changing that to make sure that the 64-bit Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 business users finally get a matching OneDrive app.
The difference between 32 and 64-bit
Without getting to far into the weeds about central processing units and operating systems, the key thing to understand is that 64-bit is the current mainstream technology for business computing devices. If you have a Windows 10 laptop with 4 GB or more of RAM, then you have a 64-bit machine. There are still lots of 32-bit devices out there, many of which are in large organizations using customized 32-bit software created specifically for their organization. As such, Microsoft and other companies continue to support 32-bit technology.
However, the advantage of 64-bit computing is a significant enhancement to overall speed and increased system resources compared to legacy 32-bit computing. That’s why virtually all laptops, tablets, and other devices (including every iPhone made since 2013) sold for business users are now 64-bit computing devices. But users don’t see real gains with 64-bit hardware unless the devices are coupled with 64-bit software. Which brings us to why Microsoft has made a 64-bit version of the OneDrive For Business app.
Why the OneDrive app was 32-bit at launch
It’s no secret that the majority of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft 365 customers are businesses. Because many large enterprises have sprawling IT organizations that must support legacy apps and devices, a significant percentage of those organizations maintain 32-bit computing resources. The great thing about 64-bit hardware is that 32-bit software runs just fine on those devices, which makes it easy for corporate IT departments to slowly replace aging devices while keeping compatibility with existing software. With this in mind, imagine if IT departments had to replace every piece of 32-bit hardware and software at the same time? The costs would be staggering!
Microsoft did the smart thing when Windows 10 and OneDrive was first introduced to maximize compatibility with the significant number of legacy 32-bit systems at large enterprises by making OneDrive a 32-bit app. But over the past three to five years, two things have happened that pushed Microsoft to update the 32-bit OneDrive app to 64-bit:
- Large enterprises tend to upgrade PC hardware in three-year cycles, but the prevalence of bring your own device (BYOD) policies and the “consumerization of IT” with users opting for working on their own smartphone and tablets have moved 64-bit software into the mainstream of business computing
- The 2020 pandemic accelerated remote working and cloud adoption for businesses large and small, which means more users are using the cloud for storing files and real-time collaboration from workspaces outside the traditional office
What makes a 64-bit OneDrive For Business app so appealing is its ability to work with and sync a large number of files to the secure Microsoft cloud. Thanks to the increased processing speed and access to more memory, 64-bit users of the OneDrive app will be able to easily work with over 100,000 files in a single OneDrive repository. Even if you don’t have that many files, the new OneDrive 64-bit app will take full advantage of your modern Windows 10 PC hardware.
Microsoft began updating the OneDrive app to 64-bit for everyone in April 2021. This is an “in place” upgrade that automatically swaps out the old 32-bit version for the new 64-bit version as long as the user’s device meets the requirements. However, IT organizations that deferred automated updates from Microsoft are required to download and distribute the 64-bit OneDrive For Business app to users.
Is your business ready for the 64-bit OneDrive app?
If your business has questions about OneDrive For Business cloud storage or Microsoft 365, Amaxra is here to help. For more than a decade, Amaxra has been at the forefront of deploying Microsoft solutions to businesses of all sizes. Our founders and many of our consultants are former Microsoft employees, so we know all about how the latest solutions can help your employees stay connected, productive, and secure—no matter where they work.
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