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Resilience in the Cloud: OneDrive and SharePoint

This a year of significant change. Adapt to the changes one step at a time. Start by taking a few simple steps to manage the cloud applications you use at Northwestern. In fact, manage them like a pro.

What Are Cloud Applications?

Cloud applications are software you use primarily through the internet--through your browser. OneDrive and SharePoint are cloud applications.

You may not have noticed that Box is a cloud application, but it is. You may not have noticed because you had installed on your machine an app that read and wrote to the files in the cloud. You can also install a OneDrive app on your machine to read and write to your files in the cloud.

Other cloud applications at Northwestern include, but are not limited to the following: Canvas, Faculty Folio, DocuSign, Smartsheet, Kronos, and more.

Simple Steps to Be Resilient in the Cloud, Especially When Using OneDrive or SharePoint
1. Try a Different Browser.

If you see strange behavior while working in a cloud application, such as OneDrive, stop and try a different browser. Strange behavior may include a sudden and empty window in your browser ("Did my Word document disappear?") or a sudden inability to select a certain menu option.

2. Clear Your Browser Cache.

Clearing your cache and cookies is  similar to trying a different browser, but it is a more thorough approach. You can clear browser cache while still saving login information for the sites you visit frequently.

3. Remove as many layers of complication as possible!

This may be the most important tip to follow.

For example, if you are new to using OneDrive (or even if you are not new to using OneDrive), do NOT install the OneDrive app yet.

Instead, find your files and the files shared with you via If you use the OneDrive app installed on your machine and are trying to figure out what happened to a file, there are additional factors that could be causing issues with your file access. Using the app, you will have a more difficult time identifying the source of the problem.

4. Ask your colleagues: "Were your Box files migrated to OneDrive or SharePoint yet?"

To determine if any files shared with you are actually missing, first ask your colleagues whether their personal Box account was migrated. If their files were NOT yet migrated, you will still need to navigate to in order to access those files.

 5.  Make shortcuts to files shared with you.

Check out the Weinberg College IT Tool Tip #1, Access Shared Folders in Your Local Files. While you can initially find shared files in "Shared" via, you will make your life easier if you create shortcuts that will then ALWAYS show up in your "My Files" view. This is the page on which you land after logging into OneDrive in your browser.

6. Make sure you are logged into OneDrive (and/or Office 365) with your Northwestern NetID.

Look for the purple banner! If you have logged in with your personal email address for other Microsoft apps in the cloud, you may NOT be able to access files that were shared to your Northwestern email. Log out and log back in with your NetID via or

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