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Microsoft changes how Office 365 business users access OneDrive

Apparently Microsoft has changed how Office 365 business users access OneDrive. We maintain an Enterprise E3 plan Office 365 account. I noticed recently the link for OneDrive had been removed from our SharePoint Online user interface (UI). Not only had the link been removed from the Global Navigation set of links on our site, but three new sets of links had been added to our site template, on a horizontal bar located above the global navigation links:

  • Sites
  • Office 365
  • and a grid-like symbol (or checkerboard), with neither a title, nor a mouse-hover description

It appears this new section of the site template has been added as a method of further differentiating, for Office 365 users, SharePoint Online from the rest of the features aggregated under the “Office 365” moniker.

A click on the “Sites” link landed on my My Site page. The Office 365 template for this page includes 4 links for promoted sites, a section of “Sites I’m Following” and some “Suggested sites to follow”.

When I clicked on the “Office 365” link I landed on Microsoft’s portal for Office on the Internet. From this page I found access to each of the components of our Office 365 cloud SaaS, including:

  • Outlook Web Access (OWA, which is simply titled “Outlook” on a link)
  • Calendar
  • People
  • Yammer
  • OneDrive (without the “for business” suffix)
  • Sites (a click on this link returned me to my My Sites page)
  • Tasks
  • Delve
  • Video (a click on this ink actually initiated set up for this feature)
  • etc

When I clicked on the “OneDrive” link, I accessed our OneDrive for Business (the rest of the name appears on the landing page) page, but without any links to any of our business SharePoint Online sites. I find this change to actually be a plus, as users will no longer assume the kind of close coupling of OneDrive with their SharePoint Online sites. Nevertheless, a click on the “Library” ribbon tab opened a set of familiar options for any other SharePoint document library, including a link for “Library Settings”.

A click on the grid-like symbol exposed a message informing me “Your apps live here”. The same list of links accessible via the “Office 365” link also appeared in a popup dialog along with a link to “My apps”.

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