399 Office 365 is not all cloud-based

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I still sometimes hear people say, “I don’t want to get the Office 365 subscription, because I prefer to keep everything on my own computer, rather than on the cloud”. This is a common misconception.

Office 365


I should say first that the actual name for this software now is Microsoft 365, even though I sometimes still call it Office 365 just to be sure people know what I’m talking about. Microsoft changed the name, but it’s still the same suite of programs – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.

The old-school traditional model of computer software was that you went to a store and bought a box off the shelf. Inside the box was an installation disc. You used that disc to install the program on your computer. And since you bought that box with the disc, you “owned” the right to use that software on your computer indefinitely. And you only paid that initial purchase price. The downside to this is that eventually that software would become obsolete, and you would have to buy the new version and install it.

Then, Microsoft (and lots of other companies) changed to the subscription model. Now, you don’t just pay one big price one time. You pay a smaller price, but you pay that price every year. And you don’t need to go and get a physical product – the software is downloaded from your account at the Microsoft website. The advantage to this model is that since you are continually paying for it, you are also continually getting updates to the software. So you always have the most current version of all those programs.

But with that change came some confusion. A lot of people assume that since you’re paying for the software annually, you don’t really “own” it – you’re just “renting” it from Microsoft. And that the software doesn’t actually run on your computer, but rather just “in the cloud” – so your documents would also no longer be on your computer.

Probably part of the confusion is the fact that Microsoft actually does prefer that you save everything to the cloud – they want you to use OneDrive, their cloud storage service. However, this is an option and I don’t recommend it for most people.

The bottom line is this: the programs in Office 365 (Word, Excel, etc.) will all actually be installed on your computer’s internal drive, just like they were before. And when you create a document, you can save it to your Documents folder, just like you always have. You don’t have to use OneDrive or any other cloud service if you don’t want to.

In fact, when I set up a new PC and install Office, I configure it so that any new files are saved by default to the Documents folder – not OneDrive. So they are right where you expect them to be – and when you do your overnight backup, they are also on your backup drive. And if you use an online backup service (such as Carbonite), they are also stored there. So if your files are important, you have them stored in multiple places for safekeeping.

So if you’re using an outdated version of Office, it’s time to get the new one. I can help with that, and I can do it all remotely so you don’t even need to bring your computer anywhere. Just give me a call.

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