SharePoint GRC, ECM and Information Architecture

What is OneDrive for Business

At the core, OneDrive for Business has the following offerings

  • Cloud storage of files which can be accessed across multiple devices. The files can also be shared with users within organization or external users. OneDrive for Business cloud storage is available as part of Office 365 subscription or can be purchased as a separate solution.

  • Sync tool for syncing the files to computer, for offline access when we are not connected to network. Sync tool can be used to synchronize OneDrive for Business files and any SharePoint 2013 Team Site libraries 

OneDrive for Business cloud storage

OneDrive for Business vs. OneDrive

Consumer OneDrive or simply called as OneDrive is for personal storage. You can get this by signing in and OneDrive comes with 7GB of free storage.

OneDrive for Business is cloud file storing and sharing feature and available as part of Office 365 subscription. The default storage is 1TB. Under the hood, OneDrive for Business is a SharePoint site with libraries. MySites of SharePoint online has been rechristened as OneDrive as part of the strategy to make OneDrive for Business an independent offering. OneDrive can now be purchased without Office 365 subscription and can be integrated with On Premises SharePoint 2013 environment.

How do I access OneDrive for Business

You can access the OneDrive for Business Library in one of the following three ways

  • Go to

  • If you are already in your Office 365 portal, select OneDrive from top of the page

  • Access OneDrive from the top of Office 365 portal
  • Select the app launcherApp Launcher Icon from the top left hand side of the page, and then select OneDrive.

App launcher to have links to OneDrive for Business apps

Adding Files to OneDrive for Business Library

  • Go to OneDrive for Business

  • SharePoint site MySite under the hood of OneDrive for Business
  • Drag the files to the OneDrive for Business Library

  • Drag and drop files into OneDrive for business library
  • Other way is to use the menu option in the document library. Click the Upload button and select one or multiple files to be uploaded

  • Click upload button in the library menu
  • Contents added are private by default unless shared explicitly with other users

Sync Tool

The OneDrive for Business sync app synchronizes any SharePoint 2013 document library (OneDrive for Business library or Team Site Library), so the contents are available offline in your computer. Even though called OneDrive for Business Sync tool, it can be installed without OneDrive for Business subscription.

How to get the Sync Tool

  • Available with Office 2013 installation.

  • Office 365 subscriptions that include Office 2013 applications.

  • Free download of the OneDrive for Business sync app.

  • On demand download of the Sync tool when the document library is synchronized

  • Open Onedrive For Business

OneDrive for Business Library Synchronization

  • Access OneDrive portal as per one of the above mentioned options.

  • Select My Documents from the quick launch

  • Synchronize OneDrive for Business Library
  • Click the Sync button

  • Sync libraries to your computer
  • If the Sync button is missing, select the Library tab and click Sync in the Connect & Export group.

  • Sync button missing in SharePoint library

SharePoint Library Synchronization

Steps and user experiences for synchronizing the SharePoint document library is similar to the synchronization of OneDrive for Business Library.

  • Go to the SharePoint 2013 site and select the document library from Quick launch or Site Contents

  • Click the Sync button available in the document library

Synchronization Process

  • AvailableSync app will start and automatically fills in the document library location.

  • Select Sync Now to start syncing.

  • Once synchronization is completed, click Show my files in the app to open the synced OneDrive for Business folder in File Explorer.

  • The folder appears in Windows Favorites as OneDrive for Business.

  • For Team site document libraries synchronized, the library is listed in the SharePoint folder, also under Windows Favorites, and uses the name of the site library.

  • Synchronized contents available under Favorites in Explorer

Office Integration with OneDrive for Business

Files can be opened or saved in the OneDrive directly from any Office applications.

Save to OneDrive for Business directly from Office application

OneDrive for Business vs. Team Sites

Both locations offer an easier way to create and share contents and the choice will depend on the document Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) polices of your organization.

Pick OneDrive for Business if

  • You don’t expect the documents to be shared with others, like documents in draft mode or personal document, this would be the best place to be stored. Documents added to OneDrive for Business are private by default.

  • Documents needs to shared but only for a limited time. For example, if we need a document to be reviewed before publishing, the reviewer might just need a link to the document and the editing rights. Once the document is reviewed the rights can be revoked. For the ad hoc collaboration, a dedicated Team Site might not be required

  • Documents to be stored in cloud so it can be accessible from any device and any time. Documents stored in OneDrive for Business library can be accessed offline from your computer and any mobile devices.

Pick Team Sites if

  • Primary ownership of the document must be a Team than an individual, then the document must be stored in a Team Site. Team Members can control the documents when stored in a Team Site.

  • Team Members must associate the document with an ongoing Project. Users can't make the connection to a project if the document is stored in OneDrive for Business Library and shared with individual users

  • An existing Team Site can be identified to which the document belongs to. Team Members of the site can identify and recognize the documents as part of overall collaboration requirements working towards a specific goal.

  • Document permission to be granted on a Site basis than individual user basis.

Migrating contents between Team Site and OneDrive for Business

  • Open both the document libraries in File Explorer. Click the Library tab and click Open with Explorer.

  • Open libraries in Windows Explorer for content migration
  • The contents of the library will be opened in the File Explorer. The users can drag and drop the contents between source and target libraries.

  • Delete the files from source once copied to target.

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