OneDrive traps: Account blocked; no logoff in browser

[German]Microsoft’s OneDrive online storage system has some a rather stupid pitfalls: If a Microsoft account is not used for a long time, Microsoft freezes the account. And if you want to access another OneDrive account via browser, then this doesn’t seem to work. There is simply not logoff feature within the web client (it seems to be a bug – or more drastically: the browser client for OneDrive is broken and a big mess). Here are some information and a workaround on how to get out of this mess.


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Users who do not use their Microsoft account frequently, risks, that Microsoft locks services such as OneDrive or freeze them. Then a user isn’t able to access his OneDrive files for 24 hours. I accidentally run yesterday under Windows 7 into this problem. And I was facing suddenly a second problem, a missing OneDrive logoff option in the browser. Maybe it’s all well known and just me didn’t know that. But I will publish the info here, if someone else is confronted with the problem.

Trap 1: Microsoft account unused

I have set up several Microsoft accounts for my test machines running Windows 8.1/10 and for accessing Microsoft services. One of these Microsoft accounts is the one I use frequently for Microsoft forums, MSDN, the Insider Preview program etc. In addition, there are less frequently used Microsoft accounts.

Yesterday I intended to register me for a test an online service of a third party provider. I ‘ve planned to use on of my Microsoft accounts e-mail address to register me for the service. Because I was unsure whether the third party provider would send a confirmation email to the specified email account, I used a browser to quickly logged in to the Outlook account and left the window open. Because there was never a confirmation mail has been received, I closed the browser window after a while, without log out of the Microsoft account.

A couple of hours later, I was in need to upload a couple of files to my OneDrive storage. So I opened a browser window and typed onedrive.com into the address bar. The browser will redirects me either to live[dot].com for login, or to the OneDrive windows of the current Microsoft account.

OneDrive frozen …

Suddenly I got a message within the browser that my OneDrive account has been ‘frozen’ by Microsoft. My first thought was, that I might have been redirected to a phishing or malware site. So I checked the URL, but the message was from Microsoft and told me, that my Microsoft OneDrive account has been frozen and OneDrive refused access (I have had access to the mailbox associated to the same Microsoft account hours earlier). 


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Background: If an account for OneDrive isn’t used for a year, Microsoft will freeze that account (see this Microsoft page). 

Well, it’s not a problem, I thought. I clicked at the browser’s window to the loge to ‘unfreeze’ my OneDrive account. Then I received the following notification.

OneDrive-Konto eingefroren

It could take 24 hours to unfreeze my account – seriously Microsoft? Hey, they spend hours to design the logo with the notification, but I have to wait 24 hours to un-look my account. But should not be a real issue, because my intension was, to use another Microsoft account for my OneDrive upload.

Trap 2: Nailed to your OneDrive account?

I failed badly to quickly logo off from the frozen account and login to the planned account for upload. The OneDrive’s browser page didn’t show that damn logoff feature (the upper bar within the browser window shown in the above screenshot is empty and black).

There is no logo for the user account and also the logo visible in Microsoft services such as Outlook Mail in the upper left corner (see following screenshot) for accessing the services (OneDrive, Outlook etc.) of the account was missing in the OneDrive page.

Microsoft account options

A logout from the OneDrive account seemed impossible for me. I have tested it explicitly with IE 11 in addition to Google Chrome.

A workaround …

My first idea was to use another browser to log in to the second Microsoft account and upload the files. Then I decided to try another workaround. I shortened the URL onedrive.live.com/?id=xxx to live.com/? id=xxx. The Outlook Mail window appeared within the browser and I was able to log out again. 

During writing this blog article, I searched the web and found many users asking how to logoff from an OneDrive account since years. 

A bug

Discussing this behavior with a buddy resulted to another finding. We found the entry PCs within the left pane.

 OneDrive-Optionen

Clicking at the command forced the browser to open another tab (see below) 

OneDrive-Seite

And the header of the new page contains the user’s logo and other options. So I was able to proceed a logoff. Switching back to the OneDrive view needs to go to the still open tab. Or click to the nine squares shown in the upper left corner and select OneDrive. Pretty broken that thing.


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