Accessing the Newest OneDrive Versions
In the past, Microsoft published all current OneDrive versions from all rings on this webpage. Currently, though, there are only versions from the Production ring and the Deferred ring.
And even those only with a considerable delay. Even though administrators have no influence on the rollout of the versions provided by Microsoft, they would like to test new versions in advance. Unfortunately, this is only possible to a limited extent at the moment. Let me describe the issue.
During the development of the Next Generation Sync Client, which was the successor of SkyDrive (we now know it as OneDrive.exe) and is available in different variants for different operating systems, Microsoft implemented different rings, similar to those of Office.
- Insiders ring
- Production ring
- Deferred ring
The Insiders ring is replaced most frequently. While it was one version a week until the beginning of 2023, the frequency has increased to two versions a week.
The Production ring often emerges from a tested Insiders ring, sometimes even a new version that only differs in a minor area. Microsoft has doubled the frequency here as well, from four weeks to 14 days, i.e., two weeks per month.
The Deferred ring (formerly Enterprise ring) is rolled out four times a year and should actually no longer contain any bugs.
While users in the Insiders ring are the most likely to see new functionalities, they are not always bug-free. Users in the Production ring benefit from the new functionalities a bit slower, but the error rate is minimal. Users in the Deferred ring must wait the longest for new features. However, Microsoft must make sure that new functionalities on the OneDrive and SharePoint servers match those of the Sync client. So, from my point of view, while developers are working in the future, Microsoft must move to the past to fix the present when there are bugs.
If the policy is not disabled or not configured by an admin, then in an individual user’s OneDrive settings, they can determine which ring they want to be in. It is recommended that decision be made by the administrators of an organization. It is also recommended that some administrators be in the Insiders ring while the rest of the organization are in the Production ring. You can read about the OneDrive group policy settings in this article: Set the sync app update Ring.
In each ring there are different versions of OneDrive:
- Windows 32-bit
- Windows 64-bit
- Windows ARM
- Apple MAC Intel
- Apple MAC silicon
The ARM version is a 64-bit version, the MAC Intel version is suitable for all Macs, and the newer silicon version can be used with the newer Macs with the new M1 (or greater) processor.
Since Microsoft has no control over the client devices, they have come up with something to react to as quickly as possible in case of an error. Every device checks Microsoft daily to see if a new version of OneDrive is available for download for this device, in its ring, in its operating system. If yes, this new version is then downloaded and installed. There is no need for an administrator to delay a rollout. Since a OneDrive version is about 300 MB, Microsoft has come up with a sophisticated mechanism to ensure that the devices start the query at different times, in order to distribute the download for each device and also to relieve Microsoft's servers. The time window at the client can extend to a week, so it can happen that a colleague who is connected to the same LAN gets a newer version before you.
Another requirement for this management is the availability of two servers (see Figure 1), namely oneclient.sfx.ms and g.live.com, which must be reachable via TCP 443, 80. This is described in the Office 365 URLs and IP adress ranges. (The link takes you to the chapter for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business).
And while I am at it, sometimes administrators forget that accelerated operation of synchronization and mapping in Explorer (push versus pull) works only if, *.wns.windows.com is allowed via TCP 443,80. This setting is also described in the link above.
The Rollout Problem
The frequency of the rollout and the delay is currently causing me to receive an update on one of my devices on Friday. I am in the Insider ring. Mentally, though, I'm already approaching the weekend, and testing is time-consuming after all. The weekend passes, and on Monday I find a full mailbox. I don't have the best will in the world to deal with the new version. And then it's already Tuesday and I receive the next OneDrive version.
Hello OneDrive product group!
I can't talk about this (I'm under an NDA), but it would be best for everyone if Microsoft could post to the Insiders ring some information about what to test in new versions.
Sometimes you want to go back to the previous version of OneDrive. Or even further back. I have a solution for that. I have a page on my blog where you can see all current OneDrive versions in the different rings, and you can download a version for testing. With another click you land on a big table where older versions are listed. The maintenance is very complex, so bookmark the page.
Let's wait and see what Microsoft comes up with in the coming weeks. Until then, I will stir the OneDrive swamp a bit, because we can't really test OneDrive well right now without guidance from Microsoft about what to test. However, in case of internal problems in your organization, a look at the valid version in all OneDrive rings is just a click away.
If you work with Teams (including the Microsoft Teams Preview), you can install the Community Bot for OneDrive. This is a project of three MVPs from two countries who digitized me - oops, I mean who digitized my OneDrive knowledge. As the name suggests, the bot works with artificial intelligence and can only answer questions about OneDrive and OneDrive for Business. The installation for Teams is simple, free of charge, and is described on this page.
To download the latest OneDrive versions for testing from Teams inside the Community Bot for OneDrive, I have implemented a shortcut for the question: SL01.