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Northwestern University
image of box being moved on cartleft

Migration of Box to OneDrive Coming Soon!

This year Northwestern IT migrates all Box document storage and collaboration to Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint. The work to prepare is upon us.

When? A High-Level View of the Migration Timeline

Middle of November 2021: The migration of a subset of the largest Box accounts begins. Access Box “storage used” details to figure out how much storage you are using. The subset of large accounts planned for migration in November will likely include accounts of sizes greater than 1 terabyte.

January 2022: The migration of the rest of the individual and organizational/group Box accounts begins.

For all migrations:

Early Summer 2022:  Northwestern IT anticipates everything from Box will have been moved to OneDrive or SharePoint.

August 2022: Northwestern concludes its contract with Box. 

Understanding Your Individual Files in Box

See below for guidance on actions to schedule for yourself before the middle of November 2021 when Northwestern IT plans to begin to migrate Box data to OneDrive and SharePoint.

There are two types of Box accounts:

There are four possible types of folders you may see in your Northwestern Box account:

image of yellow folder

Personal folder that is owned by you

image of blue foldersafer tag Collaborated folder owned by an organization/group at Northwestern that is registered as a SAFER share
image of blue folder

Collaborated folder owned by someone at Northwestern—or formerly at Northwestern—or owned by an organization/group at Northwestern.

You might also see a blue folder icon if the folder is owned by you AND you shared it at this top level. (If you share contents within your own individual Box folder, the top-level folder color should remain yellow.)

image of grey folder External collaborated folder owned by someone outside of Northwestern

 Your Actions in Box and Then in OneDrive

Recommended Actions BEFORE the Middle of November 2021

Guidance in OneDrive AFTER Your Personal Box Migration

  1. The Essential Step! Manage and delete Box content that you no longer need. Access Box “storage used” details to figure out how much storage you are using (More than 1 terabyte, for example, might take longer to migrate.). Check with your unit leaders and review the University's Retention of University Records policy and its aligned Record Retention Schedule if you are unsure of what you can safely delete.
  2. Register to attend a live training session hosted by the Microsoft Store team featuring OneDrive and SharePoint.
  3. Review Box sharing permissions and modify as needed. You may need to remove yourself as a collaborator from files owned by someone else or remove someone as a collaborator from your own files.
  4. If the colleague who shares with you in Box—and who is the owner of the content—left Northwestern, contact the Northwestern IT Service Desk dedicated to the Box migration to request a transfer of ownership. If you are a co-owner or editor of Box content, you have additional options: Co-owners of Box content can remove other co-owners; editors of Box content can copy data into newly created folders.

These collective actions will reduce the load in the migration and prevent delays.

  • Review the OneDrive Quick Start Guide (behind SSO) from Microsoft.
  • After migration, Reshare OneDrive content to people outside of  NU once your data is migrated.
  • Navigate to Northwestern's Office365 landing page, select the nine-dot square (the "waffle") in the top left of your browser window and select OneDrive. Your individual Box files will appear as a single folder named _FromNUBox.
  • If you do not find a folder in OneDrive that you expect to see, someone else at Northwestern may own the folder and has been sharing it with you. Once your NU colleague’s Box data is migrated, access their shared data via the “Shared” option in the left-hand menu of OneDrive in your browser.
  • If your colleague’s Box account (or your colleague's organizational/group or SAFER content) is migrated, you cannot create new content in that Box location. You will get an error message.
  • To avoid navigating OneDrive in your browser—but to benefit from the collaboration and storage options—map your OneDrive account as a network drive on your machine:

 Shared Files: From Personal Box to OneDrive

Type of Individual Box Sharing

Actions in Box BEFORE Middle of November 2021

Actions in OneDrive or SharePoint AFTER Migration

I share my Box content with people outside of NU.

image of yellow folder

Learn how to reshare OneDrive content to people outside of  NU once your data is migrated.

While sharing to Northwestern colleagues will migrate from Box to OneDrive, sharing to colleagues outside of Northwestern will NOT migrate.

Anonymous links—links that anyone can use inside or outside of Northwestern—are NOT allowed in OneDrive. Linking from OneDrive, however, IS available if you need to share to an individual outside of Northwestern. (In SharePoint, anonymous links ARE allowed if the site owner allows it.).

Find more information about sharing:

I share my Box content on public-facing web sites.

image of yellow folder

Make a plan for how to update your links to migrated Box content. You may need to dedicate some time, soon after your migration to OneDrive, to update the links.

Guidance on resharing SharePoint content to people outside of NU is to come.

Anonymous links—links that anyone can use inside or outside of Northwestern—are NOT allowed in OneDrive (In SharePoint, anonymous links are allowed if the NU site owner allows it.).

Linking from OneDrive is available if you need to share to anyone at Northwestern with the link OR to a single person outside of Northwestern.

Find more information about sharing:

I use Box to access files that someone OUTSIDE of Northwestern shared with me.

image of grey folder

No action needs to be taken at this time; your account's migration will not impact your ability to access external Box content.

Ahead of August 2022, you will learn about any changes you may need to make in order to continue to access external Box content.

 More WITS Communications Planned to Support Northwestern IT's Migration

In the coming weeks and months, Weinberg College IT Solutions (WITS) will send more frequent communications to Weinberg College faculty and staff about Northwestern IT's migration of Box content to OneDrive and SharePoint.

Expect to see detailed communications about the following:


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