OneDrive Completes Roll-Out of Differential Sync

Differential Sync Great for Large Files

Last September, the OneDrive developers announced that they were rolling out differential sync for all file types. Differential sync means that instead of having to upload complete files, even if just one word changes, OneDrive can synchronize just the changed bits. As files become larger, the advantage of differential synchronization becomes more important.

This facility had been available for Office files for some time, but not everything stored in OneDrive (consumer and business) is an Office file. The update means that all the other file types that people want to store in OneDrive and SharePoint Online now support differential sync, including PDFs, graphic files, audio recordings, and even PSTs. Obviously, some of these files are very large, so being able to synchronize just the changed bits reduces a lot of network traffic and makes the synchronization process much faster.

Slow Deployment Now Complete

Good intentions don’t always turn into immediate deployments and the roll-out has been slower than anticipated by Microsoft. However, on April 24, Microsoft announced on OneDrive User Voice that roll-out was complete for both commercial and consumer versions of OneDrive.

I am on the OneDrive Insider Ring, so the current version of the OneDrive sync client running on my PC is 20.064.0329.005 (Figure 1 – see this blog for information about OneDrive versions).

OneDrive sync client version information
Figure 1: OneDrive sync client version information

Version History

Speaking of versions, a feature that isn’t working so well yet is the OneDrive sync client’s ability to access the version history for documents. Apparently, the development group is working to resolve the reported issues and we might have a solution in mid-May.

Version history depends on the versions kept for documents in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business and the client should have the same functionality as available in the browser clients. For instance, you’ll be able to restore a document back to a previous version.

For more information about OneDrive for Business and other Office 365 applications, subscribe to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook and stay updated about new developments.

9 Replies to “OneDrive Completes Roll-Out of Differential Sync”

  1. I did a few tests but not sure if this is really working… just did minor changes on a small pst and it keeps synchronizing the whole size 🙁

    1. PSTs aren’t supported on network drives… So OneDrive for Business not support this file type. Have you tried a large PDF or graphic file?

      1. Your article specifically mentions PSTs as one of the supported file types. You directly contradict yourself in your mutterings on the subject.

      2. Microsoft mentioned PSTs. The advice from the Exchange development group going back to the 1990s is not to put PSTs on network drives. Whether differential sync makes any difference is a point which would need to be tested. In any case, my mutterings on the topic (as you so charmingly put it), have been consistent for years: Don’t use PSTs for active mail storage. Their use should be confined to very limited circumstances such as the export of content found in eDiscovery searches. Those PSTs can be put on network drives (and OneDrive) because the I/O pattern will be almost exclusively read-only and there’s no danger of corruption.

  2. Just testing this with large text files, where I change a tiny bit of text, or simply create duplicates of a file, and differential sync is definitely BOT working here for me, in the consumer version of OneDrive of Windows 11.

    Edition Windows 11 Pro
    Version 22H2
    Installed on ‎2022-‎07-‎15
    OS build 22623.875
    Experience Windows Feature Experience Pack 1000.22636.1000.0

    1. Text files might not support delta synchronization.

      I know this feature works for formats like Word documents as I use it with very large (1,000+ pages) documents very frequently.

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