Synchronizing Data Using the Microsoft OneDrive Client for Windows

It is STRONGLY recommended that you do NOT use this feature.  See the Introduction section below for more detail.  Please consult with your local IT support for guidance.
If you do enable the synchronization of sensitive data, your computer MUST meet the UNC Chapel Hill Information Security Controls Standard.


Microsoft offers a synchronization client called Microsoft OneDrive. The client allows you to synchronize files between Office365 and your computer. It is STRONGLY recommended that you do NOT use this feature unless you have a strong business reason for doing so.  Here are a few good reasons for not using the synchronization feature:

  • The current version of the application works better than previous versions BUT most users run into issues where the synchronization stops working. Generally the user is unaware that synchronization has failed and their file systems get into an inconsistent state leading to lots of confusion.
  • Sensitive Data is allowed to be stored in Office365. If you synchronize sensitive data to your computer, special requirements must be met. Please see the UNC Chapel Hill Information Security Controls Standard to review these requirements.
  • There are concerns that users may try to synchronize a group, file or folder not realizing that it contains sensitive data.
  • The storage allocations in Office 365 can be large.  If you choose to synchronize large amounts of data, you can fill up your local hard drive.  If you do synch, select just the files and folders you wish to synch – not all files and folders.
  • If you enable local synch and then delete the local files, they will be deleted in Office 365.  BE CAREFUL.

Based on these concerns, the University implementation of Office365 DISABLES synchronization of OneDrive for Groups document libraries. Group owners have the ability to re-enable this feature if needed.  Please see this help document for instructions.

Synchronization is available by default for OneDrive for Individuals.

How do I enable Synchronization for my OneDrive for Individual site?

Open OneDrive. See the OneDrive Getting Started help document if you need instructions.
Click the Sync link on the menu bar (circled below).


If your local client is already configured for synchronization, you will see the list of files and folders you are currently synchronizing.  You can modify the settings if desired.


If the client is not installed, you will see the following pop up window.
Click the link “get the latest version of OneDrive” (circled below).


Save the file.  This view may be different depending on your browser.


Open you Downloads folder and run the OneDriveSetup.exe file that was just downloaded.


Note: You must have administrative privileges on your computer to perform this installation.  If your account does not have administrative privileges, you will be prompted to provide alternate credentials for the installation.  Please contact your local IT support if you do not have permissions to continue.

You should now see an installation progress window.


Enter your user information in the box circled below.  It will be in the form: (replace the word onyen with your actual onyen).
Click Sign in.


Click the password box (circled below).  The page will redirect to a new window.


Finally!  Enter your password and click the Sign in button (circled below).


The setup wizard for configuring your OneDrive folder is shown.  Click Next (circled below).


WARNING: The default setting is do synchronize all of your files and folders.  It is recommended that you uncheck the Sync all files settings and select just those folders and files you need.
Note the check boxes circled in red below.  Uncheck the files and folders you do not want to synchronize.


The wizard is complete.  You can click the “Open my OneDrive…” link (circled below) or just close the window.


A new window will open showing you your local explorer view of the files you have selected to synchronize.
Note the new OneDrive entry under Favorites (circled below).



How do I enable Synchronization for a OneDrive for Groups site?

Open the appropriate OneDrive Group you wish to synchronize.  Review notes at the beginning of this document if you need help getting started.

If the group has been configured to allow synchronization (it is disabled by default) – select the “Sync” link in the menu (circled below).  If the “Sync” link does not appear, see this link for help configuring this feature.
Follow the instructions above for OneDrive for Individuals to take you through the rest of the configuration steps.

Managing configuration from the OneDrive client

After you have installed the application and configured synchronization following the steps above, you can manage the configuration from the Microsoft OneDrive application on your client machine.
In your Windows Explorer systems tray (bottom right corner of your screen), you should have a blue cloud icon (circled below).
If the cloud is not displayed, open the Microsoft OneDrive application under All Programs and it should then show up.
Right-Click the cloud icon to see the applicaiton options.
  • Open your OneDrive – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill folder
    • Opens your local folder that is being synchronized with Office 365.
  • View Online
    • Shows the online view of Office 365 that is being synchronized locally.
  • View Sync problems
    • Shows any synchronization errors
  • Manage storage
    • Presents a web view of your Office 365 files and folders and their relative sizes.
  • Help Topics
  • Report a problem
  • Pause/Resume synching
    • Allows you to pause or resume synchronization.
  • Settings
    • Defaults to the Account tab in a new window.  Note the links (circled below).
    • s32
    • Add an account
      • Allows you to configure a new Office 365 account to synchronize with.  Follow steps above for configuration.
    • Manage Storage
      • Same behavior as manage storage above.
    • Unlink this PC
      • Allows you to stop synchronization.   A copy of the files will be left on the local PC.
    • Choose folders
      • Allows you to modify the OneDrive files and folders you are synchronizing.
    • Stop Sync
      • Allows you to stop synchronization.   A copy of the files will be left on the local PC.

How do I access my synchronized files and folders?

Open the “computer” view on your PC.  You can access it from the start menu.


The details of these services are being finalized. Documentation and best practices are in development with a delivery goal of early March 2017.

Links to training and help documents:

If you need assistance with these instructions, contact us via one of the Other ITS Help Options.

Microsoft Documentation
Check out Microsoft’s Support Site for Office 365 ( Microsoft also has some great training videos you can watch to become familiar with using Office 365 applications. Please visit the Office Training Center