Tips for synchronizing files to OneDrive for Business

We have seen a number of organizations moving the contents of users’ folders on file servers to OneDrive for Business, allowing them to decommission on-premises file servers. Each Office 365 Enterprise license holder has their own OneDrive for Business web site that provides cloud-based storage for their files. OneDrive provides a private storage area for each member of staff, while allowing them to share and collaborate on files with others if they wish to, across Macs, PCs, and mobile devices. It is possible on a Windows computer to synchronize files in the OneDrive cloud with a folder on the local device, so they can be accessed off-line when an Internet connection is not available. Once set up, the synchronization process works smoothly in the background. Following are some requirements and parameters of the synchronization technology to be aware of:

  • The maximum size of a file you can synchronize with OneDrive for Business is 2 GB.
  • The maximum number of files you can synchronize is 20,000.
  • The maximum supported length of a filename is 128 characters.  Files with longer names will have to be renamed before they can be synchronized with your OneDrive.
  • The folder name “forms” is not permitted in the top-level, root folder of your OneDrive.
  • For large files (50 MB or greater) it is best to synchronize using the OneDrive for Business synchronization folder, rather than uploading using the web-browser method.
  • If any of the following eleven symbols exist in a filename, then the file will not synchronize to the OneDrive cloud.  Rename the file so that the offending characters are not used – the file should then synchronize.
      2. ” 
      3. %
  • Additionally, if a filename starts with a tilde, ~, then the filename will synchronize up to the cloud but the content of the file will not and you will see a red circle with a white cross on the icon in the OneDrive folder on your computer, as shown below:

OneDrive Synchronization status

  • In the above screenshot, the green circles indicate that those two files successfully synchronized with OneDrive.
  • If you do have synchronization problems then the next step is to go to the two blue clouds in the system tray. You’ll find them in the bottom right corner of your screen by the clock. A right-click on the blue clouds will bring up a menu like the one below; you can then click on “View sync problems” to see a list of files with issues, along with details of how to resolve them.

OneDrive View sync problems

  • Alternatively,  you can right-click on the file name in Windows Explorer and choose “One drive for Business” followed by “View sync problems”.

There are some limitations on file names, quantities and sizes that you can move to OneDrive, however that still leaves plenty of scope for descriptive and practical names for files and folders.  In addition you get the other benefits of OneDrive, such as synchronization of files across multiple devices, a functionality that we will review in a future blog post.