OneDrive–Confusing, but Powerful

Submitted by: Matt Banning (PTG Project Engineer), Outsourced IT Support and Office 365 Specialist

Storing Personal Documents in the Cloud
One of the questions we get a lot at PTG is ‘what is the easiest way to store my personal documents to the cloud?’. If you’re like 90% of us, we like working from our desktops and NOT uploading via Internet Explorer. So to answer that question, let me first explain where you store your personal documents.

What is OneDrive?
OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) is where you store your personal documents whereas SharePoint is for your company documents. The background workings and functionality are all the same. The fundamental difference between OneDrive and SharePoint though is that your managers and coworkers do not have access to the contents of your OneDrive. As long as you have your company email address you get 1TB of information – roughly the equivalent of 3.6 million images or 300 hours of high definition video – that’s completely yours.

OneDrive Variances
Before I go any further let me go ahead and dispel some potential confusion. The term ‘OneDrive’ is used interchangeably by Microsoft to denote: OneDrive (the free online storage associated with a Windows Live account), OneDrive for Business (associated with your company email address), and OneDrive the application (that creates a folder on your PC to sync to the cloud). OneDrive for Business (the application) will connect to your Office 365 account, whereas OneDrive (the free version) WILL NOT connect to your Office 365 account.

OneDrive is intended to be the replacement for the ‘My Documents’ folder on your desktop, the beauty of it though is that its backed up to the cloud so you don’t have to worry if you accidentally drop or lose your PC. So back to the original question- ‘what is the easiest way to store my personal documents?’.

If you are an Office 365 customer, the only thing you need to do is download the OneDrive for Business application or simply press ‘sync’ from your OneDrive folder.


After you download the application, you’ll have a new folder called ‘OneDrive @ (your business name)’. You can drag and drop or save directly to this folder. Anything you place in it will immediately be synced to the cloud – which you can access from anywhere by visiting the portal at and then choosing ‘OneDrive’ from the ribbon at the top.

Also – you can drag and drop directly into the browser (if you have a modern browser).  This is a handy little feature.

Things to Watch Out For

OneDrive for Business is good – but it’s not perfect.  Some things you need to be aware of:

-There is a limit of 20,000 items that can be synced between your PC and OneDrive.  (That’s a lot of items, but we seem to see customers run into this limit frequently.)

-Special characters are not allowed in OneDrive file names (so no $, %, !, etc.)

-As of now there is no selective sync in OneDrive for Business.  Meaning you have to sync everything from your OneDrive Cloud Storage to your local device.  We are hopeful that Microsoft will change this (soon), but don’t have any definitive details on that yet!

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