OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client updated with Office 2016 integration, improved performance, and more

Microsft announced an update for the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client will begin rolling out today with a number of improved features based on customer feedback. The announcement was made on the Office Blog by corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint Jeff Teper.

The improvements to OneDrive to Business include new capabilities for syncing, upgrades to both web and app user interfaces, and new controls for IT administrators. The entire list of upgrades announced today includes the following:

  • Windows 8.1 support — This completes our commitment around Windows OS support (7, 8, 8.1 and 10).
  • Office 2016 integration — In conjunction with an Office 2016 update currently rolling out, key features such as real-time co-authoring, open documents from the Most Recent list and share documents from within the Office app will be available.
  • Improved setup — Now it’s easy for anyone to get and install the new OneDrive sync client. No more registry keys needed on Windows or Terminal window on Mac!
  • Seamless client migration — If you are running the previous sync client (groove.exe), this update seamlessly transitions without requiring a resync. For full details go here.
  • Pause sync — A handy feature when you want to suspend syncing for a period of time, like when you are tethered to your phone or using Wi-Fi on an airplane.
  • View files online — You can now right click any document in Windows Explorer and select “view online” to navigate to the OneDrive for Business file or folder in the browser.
  • Sync any file type you want — We’ve added support for .json, .aspx, .swf files and more; you can now add any file type to your OneDrive for Business.
  • Block file types — IT admins can now block certain file types from syncing, such as PST or MKV files protecting limited bandwidth.
  • Performance and reliability improvements — Give small files in particular a big boost in upload and download speed.

The Pause sync and Office 2016 integration features won’t begin rolling out until this summer, but the rest of the features announced today will be made available to all customers over the next 1-2 weeks.

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All in all it is a wide-ranging list of features that includes everything from performance boosts for specific file types, to more user controls like Pause Sync, to more IT admin features like better controls on what can be uploaded and more supported files. In addition to the features announced today, Teper also gave a preview of what features would be updated later in the year. They include:

  • Manage bandwidth—By the end of June, we’ll deliver IT controls to throttle bandwidth consumption of the client.
  • Extended Windows Explorer integration—A simple right-click action to get a link or share files directly in Windows Explorer.
  • SharePoint Document Library Sync—We’re adding SharePoint Online document library sync, starting with a preview in the third quarter of 2016, with general release by the end of 2016.

Today’s announcement also served as a victory lap for the OneDrive team as they were recently named one of the leaders in Enterprise File Sync and Share Platforms by Forrester Research. Forrester did a study evaluating 40 different criteria of various Enterprise File Sync and Share Platforms, like OneDrive for Business, and found Box, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, IBM, and Intralinks are clear leaders. The full report, titled Forrester Wave, can be read here.

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