Synchronizing Data Using the Microsoft OneDrive Client

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?

Please see the appropriate help document for your operating system:

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.