Last December, it was announced that OneDrive for Business users would indeed be receiving unlimited storage if they had a qualifying subscription. (Details on which subscriptions qualify for unlimited storage can be found in the original announcement here).
Furthermore, I understood from the announcement and the coverage around it that users would initially be enabled with 5 TB, and that if you needed more, you would have to call support and ask for it to be enabled. Presumably this was to discourage users from seeing the infinity symbol for available space, and immediately uploading the contents of their DVD library.
I had been watching my storage stats and checking every month to see if the 5 TB was yet enabled for my account to no avail. I was stuck at 1 TB. My wife also uses our tenant and is an active photographer with quite a few RAW files that she stores in OneDrive for Business. As an aside, she’s very good – you can check out her work at http://www.oliveraphoto.com. Last week, her storage exceeded 1 TB, and OneDrive for Business started complaining. It was time to do some digging.
As it turns out, my understanding wasn’t exactly correct. You are entitled to unlimited storage, but you will only be given the 5TB cap when you ask. You can ask anytime however. In order to get more than 5 TB, you ask for that too, but you can only ask when your storage is in the warning zone – close to 5 TB.
You might think that being Canadian, I’m fine with just asking politely, but patience is not my strong suit. The good news is that you can use the SharePoint Online PowerShell module to connect to your Office 365 tenant, and change the limit yourself. It’s not particularly easy though, so I’ll walk through the required steps, or at least the steps that I required.
1. Install the SharePoint Online PowerShell management shell
The SPO management shell is a PowerShell extension that allows you to connect to SharePoint Online and use PowerShell to perform administrative functions. It’s not installed by default, but it can be downloaded and installed from the Microsoft Download Center here. The odd thing is that it prompts you to choose from 2 different files, 2 for 64 bit systems, and 2 for 32 bit systems.
I’m not sure what the differences are aside from the bit level, but I grabbed the most recent 64 bit version and installed it.
Once installed, you must run the shell as an administrator, otherwise, it will fail to find the extension files. I also had all sorts of trouble running it on Windows 10 machines. After trying on 2 different ones, I gave up and installed it on a Windows 8.1 virtual machine, where it ran correctly.
2. Connect to your tenant with admin credentials.
From within the management shell, the first thing that you need to do is to connect to your tenant. You do so by running the Connect-SPOService cmdlet. The syntax is:
Connect-SPOService -Url https://youradmintenant.sharepoint.com -credential adminuseremailaddress
Neither one of the parameters is as simple as it may seem.
The –Url parameter is the administrative url of your Office 365 SharePoint tenant. Normally, it’s the standard SharePoint url with “-admin” appended on to the end of the first identifier. If you normally access SharePoint online with the url https://coolcompany.sharepoint.com, your admin url is https://coolcompany-admin.sharepoint.com.
The –credential parameter is also not quite what it seems. You need admin access to your tenant to run these command, and chances are If you are reading this, then you are. If not, you have to at least provide the credentials of an account that does have admin access. The credential is in the form of an email address, and you will be prompted for a password when the command is run. This is where I ran into another difficulty.
If you have admin credentials to your tenant, it’s that much more important that your account is secure. One of the best things that you can do in that regard is to use multi-factor authentication. I do this, and have done for some time. Unfortunately, SharePoint Online doesn’t support multi-factor authentication.
Normally this isn’t a big problem, you can just register and supply an application password. Skype for Business still requires this as an example. Unfortunately PowerShell does not allow application passwords. There is no way around this problem.
I fortunately had access to an administrator account that does not use MFA, and I was able to provide that to connect successfully. If you do not, you’ll need to create one in your Office 365 tenant to do this.
3. Set the storage quota
The final step is to run the PowerShell command that actually sets your quota. The syntax of this command is:
Set-SPOSite -Identity https://yourmysiteurl -StorageQuota 5242880
The –Identity parameter is the URL of your MySite, which is where OneDrive is stored. the format usually incorporates your company’s normal SharePoint URL, adds a –my and your email, slightly altered. Therefore if your company name is “CoolCompany” and your email address is “firstname.lastname@example.org”, then your MySite url is https://coolcompany-my.sharepoint.com/personal/joe_coolcompany_com .
Finally, the –StorageQuota parameter needs to be 5242880 which corresponds with 5TB. I assume that you double it for 10 TB, but I haven’t been able to test that, as I haven’t uploaded enough to qualify for the next tier. You can only request storage increases in 5 TB chunks.
Once the quota has been successfully set, you should be able to see your new cap in the OneDrive for Business web UI. Just hover over the OneDrive for Business icon in your tray, right click and select manage storage.
The storage Metrics page will open and your storage allocation can be found in the upper right.
It’s not easy, but it’s worth it if you have a qualifying account.