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OneDrive @ University of Wyoming (Basics)

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Cloud storage is an Internet-based service that allows storage of files at offsite locations and access to those files from Internet-connected devices.  Examples of popular cloud storage solutions include OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, and Box. 

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution.  It provides online storage that can be accessed from nearly anywhere, and enables collaboration through file sharing with others.

OneDrive can be used to…

  • Store files in a centralized, secure, easy-to-access online location (University accounts each have 5 TB of online OneDrive space, with additional space available upon request)
  • Collaborate with others through file sharing
  • Synchronize files across multiple devices so that files can be quickly accessed, even when not connected to the Internet
  • OneDrive should not be used in place of making backup copies of files
Note that OneDrive (personal) and OneDrive - University of Wyoming are not the same services.  Use UW’s OneDrive for securely storing campus files and sharing them with co-workers.  (This document specifically covers the University’s OneDrive service.)

Cloud Storage Comparison

While DropBox and other cloud storage services offer useful services, OneDrive at the University of Wyoming provides some benefits, including:

  • 5 TB+ of storage space
  • Direct integration with the newest versions of MS Office applications and Office 365
  • Ease of collaborating with anyone that has a University account (and the ability to share files with non-university accounts)

Access to OneDrive at the University of Wyoming is limited to current employees and students, as well as retirees (board retirement only).  For those leaving the University, it is recommended that personal files be immediately moved to another location.

Cloud Storage Security

With OneDrive at the University of Wyoming, files are stored in Microsoft facilities using multiple levels of security, including encryption of files while being transferred and while stored.  Users can apply the following methods to greatly increase security:

  • Always use a strong password
  • Use multi-factor authentication when possible (such as the University’s Duo two-factor system)
  • When accessing files from a public or shared computer, use an on-screen keyboard to enter your password
  • Apply sharing permissions with care (apply appropriate permissions to specific people)
  • Remove sharing when no longer required for collaboration
  • Limit syncing to secure devices

Accessing OneDrive

There are multiple methods of accessing OneDrive at the University of Wyoming.

Method 1: directly through the Office 365 portal

Method 2: through installed Office 2013/2016 or Office 365 applications

  • Open a file or save a file directly to OneDrive through Office applications like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint.  (File tab > Open or Save As > select OneDrive – University of Wyoming)
  • In Office 2016, options to work in the cloud and share content are now more accessible and easier to use.
  • If an Office application does not list OneDrive - University of Wyoming as an option, you may need to add it.  From within an Office application, File tab > Account > Connected Services > Add a service > Storage > select OneDrive and enter your credentials
*Special note: Options in cloud applications change at a rapid pace, thus this document may not be fully accurate.

OneDrive Tools and Options

To utilize OneDrive tools, access OneDrive directly through Office 365. 

The navigation pane (left):

  • Files lists all files and folders located in your cloud storage area.
  • Shared with me lists all of the files and folders that others have shared with you.
  • Recycle bin contains objects that have been deleted from OneDrive. 


Toolbar options:

  • New is used to create folders (directories) and online documents, spreadsheets, forms and other content.
  • Upload allows files or folders to be selected and copied to the OneDrive cloud.  (Uploads can also be initiated by dragging files onto the OneDrive window.)
  • Sync installs the file synchronization tool to your device. (Please do NOT open this in the classroom.)

Once a file or folder is selected, additional toolbar options are available.  Options depend on the type of object selected (files and folders have different options).

  • Share is used to give others access to selected content.
  • Copy link is a quick (and unsecure) way to share content by providing a link.
  • Download allows selected content to be copied from the cloud to a local device.
  • contains additional options, such as Rename and Version History.  Clicking the next to a file or folder also provides a list of options.

 Click on the information icon to view an object’s access permissions, recent activity, and other details.

Upload files or folders from your computer to OneDrive


Method 1: use the Upload tool option

  1. In OneDrive, open the destination folder.
  2. Click Upload.
  3. Select File or Folders.
  4. From the pop-up window, select the files/folder that you want to upload. (Use the CTRL key to select multiple files.)
  5. Click Open.
  6. Files/folder will now be copied to OneDrive.

Method 2: drag the files/Folder into the OneDrive window

  1. In OneDrive, open the destination folder.
  2. Drag the files/folder from the source (computer) to the OneDrive window.
  3. Files/folder will now be copied to OneDrive.

Download files or folders from OneDrive to your computer

  1. In OneDrive, select the desired file or folder.
  2. Click Download (or then Download).
  3. The file will be copied to your computer. Folders are downloaded as zipped folders. (On a Windows computer, downloaded objects will be located in your Downloads folder.)

File sharing

Using OneDrive, files and folders can be easily shared with others, but care should be taken to limit access to specific people. 

IMPORTANT! If you share a folder, all objects located in or added to that parent folder will also be shared with the same permissions.

Method 1: Directly through OneDrive


  1. In OneDrive, select the file or folder to be shared by checking next to the object’s name.
  2. Click Share.
  3. Click on the current permission settings (#1 in the figure) to configure share permissions.

The default setting is to share via a link.  This setting will allow anyone with a link to edit the file, and all collaboration will be anonymous!


Share with UW Collaborators:

  1. Set access to Specific people.  (#2)
  2. Provide access to specific UW accounts by adding their email addresses. (#3)
  3. Configure the level of access.  (#4)
    1. Allow editing
    2. View only (uncheck allow editing)
  4. Click Apply
  5. Add a name, email address, or group name (#4)
  6. Add more people if needed
  7. Add a message (a notification will be emailed) (#5)
  8. Click Send

The recipient will be able to access the shared content through the provided link or through the OneDrive “Shared with me” area.












Share with External (non-UW) Collaborators

Follow the same steps as above, except you will be adding an email address from someone not in your organization.  OneDrive will alert you!  

When sending secure links to recipients outside of your organization, those recipients will be sent an email message with a time-limited, single-use verification code when they open the link. By entering the verification code, the user proves ownership of the email account to which the secure link was sent.

When co-authoring, the external collaborator’s email address will be shown.






Share with Anyone Through an Open Link:

  1. Set access to Anyone. (#2)
  2. Configure the level of access.  (#3)
    1. Allow editing
    2. View only (uncheck allow editing)
  3. Set an expiration date for the link (optional). (#4)

Emailing a link will not prevent collaborators from sharing the link and access with others.

External collaborators will be listed as “Guest Contributors” and editing will only be tracked as completed by a “guest.”


While this is a useful way to quickly allow others to view files, it is not secure and is not HIPAA or FERPA compliant!


Once a file/folder has been shared, you can examine the sharing column (far-right) and click on Shared (or click on the information icon).  This will allow you to review, edit, and remove access permissions and review recent activity by collaborators.


Method 2: through an Office 365 online application

After logging in to Office 365 and opening OneDrive…

  1. Open a Word, Excel, or PowerPoint file (online).
  2. Click Share from within the application.
  3. Follow the directions above.


Method 3: through an Office 2016 desktop application

From within Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint, you can immediately share a file that has been previously saved to OneDrive

  1. In OneDrive, open the file using the full version of Word (or Excel or PowerPoint.
  2. Click Share (upper-right corner).
  3. Follow the directions above.


Co-author with shared files

Simultaneous co-authoring on shared Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files is available in the cloud.  Co-authoring in Word and PowerPoint can be performed by using either the Office 365 online or Office 2016 desktop applications.  **In Excel, if any collaborators open the shared spreadsheet in the full desktop version or Excel, it will be locked in a read-only state for everyone else until the file is closed.  Because of this, co-author spreadsheets using Excel Online when possible.  When the full features of the desktop version are required, make sure to close the spreadsheet as soon as editing is complete so that others may access the file. 


Remove/adjust file sharing

  1. In OneDrive, select the shared file or folder.
  2. Click the information icon or within the shared column (far-right).
  3. Click on Manage access.
  4. Review/modify access permissions. 
    1. UW collaborators are shown individually.
    2. Restricted links will show links that only work with specific non-UW accounts. 
  5. Remove all sharing immediately by clicking on Stop sharing at the top of the window.
  6. Share with others by clicking Share at the top of the window.






Accessing shared files

When someone from the same organization shares a file or folder with you, it will appear in the Shared with me section of OneDrive.  (External collaborators will not have access to a “Shared with me” area and will only be able to access the shared content via the link provided in email.)


Version history

As files are edited, a version history list is recorded, including date/time and editor’s name.  Multiple versions are automatically saved.

To access the version history list:

Select the next to the file > Version History (or right-click on the file and select Version history)

Previous versions can be viewed, compared with the newest version, and restored.  Start by clicking on a date to view the version.



With standard cloud storage, files are stored only in the cloud (Internet-based servers) and are accessible by Internet-connected devices (see Figure 1).  With file synchronization, copies of files are created on each synced device, allowing for quick access to files as well as access when a system is not online (see Figure 2).  As files are added or edited on a local computer, those changes cascade to the cloud and other synced devices.  If a system is offline, once Internet access is available, synchronization will occur.   



Notes on file synchronization:

  • Only install the sync client onto secure devices that have sufficient disk space.
    • Depending on configuration, other users may be able to access a synced folder.  (Ask UWIT whether folders under your profile have limited access on specific systems.)
    • Mobile devices may not have sufficient space.
  • Once installed, the sync client will appear as a blue cloud in your system tray.  This icon allows access to the local folder.  Double-click to open.
  • This folder functions like other folders on your computer.  Copy or drag files into it to sync those files into the OneDrive cloud (and other synced devices).
  • File synchronization is automatic.  Any changes that occur to a file located in the local OneDrive folder or in the OneDrive cloud will be updated to ALL connected sync locations.
  • When a computer is not connected to the Internet, files in the sync folder can still be modified, but syncing will not occur until Internet access has been restored.
  • *Open files cannot be synced.  Always close files when editing is complete so that changes can be synced to other locations.  Leaving a file open in one location will not sync changes to other locations, often leading to multiple different copies of files! 


Install the sync client

To enable synchronization, the OneDrive for Business sync client must first be installed and configured.

IMPORTANT!!  The sync client should not be setup on public computers or in UW computer labs.  Sync clients are available for systems running Windows or Mac; and mobile devices running iOS, Android or Windows.  Microsoft does not currently offer a client for Linux.


While there are multiple ways to install and configure the OneDrive sync client, such as through Windows 10 or by selecting Sync from the OneDrive cloud, we recommend using the following steps.  (For new installations, start with step #2.)

  1. If the previous standard client is installed, it is recommended that you first manually remove syncing. (Microsoft reports that the transition from old to new client should be seamless, though UWIT has experienced some issues during the upgrade and thus recommend removal.)   
    1. Determine your current client version: Right-click on the cloud icon.  The menu will determine the current client version.  
    2. Stop the sync process: Right-click on the OneDrive sync app cloud and select Stop syncing a folder.  This cuts communication between the local folder and the cloud.  Changes will no longer be synced.  The local folder can be re-synced to the cloud at a later time. 
    3. Remove the sync folder: In some instances you will want to also remove the local folder.  The default Windows location of the OneDrive sync library is: “C:\Users\<<username>>\OneDrive – University of Wyoming” 

This can be deleted without affecting your files in the cloud as long as you have stopped the sync process.

  1. Download the Next Generation client installation file:
    1. Make sure to select the client for your specific operating system (Windows, Mac, Android, etc.)
  2. Run the client installation.  (There may be pauses during the installation process.) 
  3. Connect your UW account: Enter your UW email address when prompted, followed by your UW username and password. (If not prompted, use configuration steps below to add your UW account.) 
  4. Select which files and folders to sync: (If not prompted, use configuration steps below to choose folders.) 
  5. The client should install and sync the selected files.  The cloud icon should now be available on your system.


Client Configuration

  1. Right-click on the cloud icon to access the OneDrive sync client menu.
  2. Select the Settings option.
  3. Add/remove accounts to the sync client through Add an account.
  4. Adjust the content that you would like to sync through Choose folders.  


Unsync a computer

To remove syncing from a computer:

  1. Stop the sync process: Right-click on the OneDrive sync app > Settings > Account tab > Stop sync.  This cuts the link between the folder and the cloud, and changes will no longer be synced.  The local folder can be re-synced to the cloud at a later time. 
  2. Remove the sync folder: In some instances you will want to also remove the local folder.  The default Windows location of the OneDrive sync library is: “C:\Users\<<username>>\OneDrive – University of Wyoming”

This can be deleted without affecting your files in the cloud as long as you have stopped the sync process.

IMPORTANT!!  Even when using the OneDrive cloud for file storage, it is highly recommended that you have a separate back-up of your files.

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Article ID: 33282
Thu 7/13/17 10:00 AM
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3/9/2018 9:22:57 AM