If you're a Windows user, it's very important to be aware of OneDrive - especially if came pre-installed in your computer. According to some reports by some of our supporters, every time you create and save files, SpiderOakONE will save the files that you want to store privately -- but OneDrive will automatically upload those files to their server in whatever encrypted or unencrypted format you saved it. Often without you knowing about it.
What Microsoft is doing with OneDrive is at cross-purposes with what we do with SpiderOak backup products, and it all boils down to intent, consent, and awareness.
WHO'S AFFECTED BY IT?
This is mostly applicable to users on Windows 8 or 10, because of the changes Microsoft made in those operating systems - namely, in how you create a user profile on your computer - but this information is useful for anyone who may use a Windows computer for work, or whose mother/brother/spouse may use Windows. If you're thinking of purchasing a new computer with Windows 10 installed, proceed with caution when it comes to the initial setup of your new computer.
HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?
When you first boot up your computer and are faced with the task of setting up your user profile on a Windows 8 or 10 machine, you are given the option of using either a Microsoft account or a local profile. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, and it's ultimately up to you which you choose to use. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks is important in making an informed decision, however, so we'll go over that - and also how each decision will affect your usage of SpiderOak.
USING A LOCAL PROFILE
If you create your user profile with a local profile, then OneDrive won't be automatically integrated into your operating system. You can still use the OneDrive application to manually back things up to the OneDrive cloud, should you want to, but your files won't automatically sync and you will need to go through setup for OneDrive.
USING A MICROSOFT ACCOUNT
This may not be how OneDrive is handled for everyone, but we've seen enough reports of this happening that we want our userbase to be aware of the possibility - just in case!
If you create your user profile with a Microsoft account, OneDrive will automatically be integrated into the operating system, and will automatically back up and sync everything in your user profile. This means you will be able to access any of your data from any device you sign into with your Microsoft account - but this also means that OneDrive is integrated into your operating system at the base level.
As an example, if you create your user profile as a local profile, your Documents folder will be located at C:\Users\Username\Documents. This means the SpiderOak Hive will be located at C:\Users\Username\Documents\SpiderOak Hive.
If you create your user profile with a Microsoft account, OneDrive insinuates itself into the path - so your Hive folder will be located at C:\Users\Username\OneDrive\Documents\SpiderOak Hive.
OneDrive is set to automatically sync anything within its folder - so having the Hive folder located within OneDrive's purview means that those files are being backed up and synced by two different services. Having two different sync services keeping track of, updating, syncing, and otherwise handling your data at the same time can lead to syncing being broken in either SpiderOak or OneDrive - and sometimes, both.
INTENT, CONSENT, AND AWARENESS
We'll go back to what was mentioned earlier, in how OneDrive is at cross-purposes with SpiderOak because of intent, consent, and awareness. We're not at complete odds with Microsoft; at a basic level, we want the same things for our users: ease of use, a cloud backup our users can rely on should things go wrong, and to offer a product our users can trust.
Intent: SpiderOak's intent is to offer you a secure, private option to backup and sync your data between your computers, letting you selectively choose which data is synced, and which computers you choose to include in that sync. Microsoft's intent is to make your life easier by ensuring any of your data can be accessed from any computer you log into with your Microsoft account.
Consent and Awareness: SpiderOak is an opt-in service. You know you're downloading SpiderOak and installing it. You know you're creating an account. You decide which files to select for backup, and which files to copy into your Hive folder to sync. We don't do anything without your permission, or without you specifically knowing what parts of your data are being uploaded to our servers. Every step of the way, you are actively making a decision to back up your data to our servers, or sync data between your computers. We leave those decisions to you.
If you use a Microsoft account for your user profile on your computer, a lot of the awareness (and thus, consent) is removed. Some users have reported not being aware that everything was being installed under the OneDrive umbrella, and the implications of what that will do. OneDrive, by default, backs up your data to the cloud and will, by default, sync that data to your other devices. If you aren't aware of this, you can't properly give your consent to having your data treated this way.
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
So what can you do about OneDrive, if you absolutely, positively, want no part of it? You have two options:
1) Create another user account with a local profile instead of your Microsoft account, and make a copy of your data from the old user profile to save on the new user profile, or
2) Disable OneDrive's ability to sync. Microsoft helpfully offers a series of steps to disable OneDrive in Windows 8 and 10, which can be found here; your directory hierarchy will be the same, meaning that everything will still be installed under C:\Users\Username\OneDrive, but it will no longer automatically sync those directories. There are also helpful websites which offer more in-depth methods to completely scrub your registry and remove every trace of OneDrive. Those sites are outside the scope of what we can offer you, but they're out there if you want to find them!