OneDrive - University of Leeds FAQs

This article gives answers to some common questions relating to OneDrive - University of Leeds

We encourage students and staff to use OneDrive -University of Leeds to save all their work-related documents and images because this will back up all your work and allow you to easily access them wherever you are. 

You can also watch this 20 minute video of OneDrive tips and tricks (recorded Dec 2023). You will need to be logged on with your University username and password to view the video. 


What is OneDrive - University of Leeds?

OneDrive for Business is a service provided by Microsoft, but administered by a business or academic institutions. 

OneDrive - University of Leeds, is the OneDrive for Business service administered by University of Leeds and available for use by all staff and students at the University. It provides up to 5 TB of cloud storage so that you can create, edit, store and share files and documents from any internet connected device. 

How do I get OneDrive  - University of Leeds?

Read the Finding your files article for more information

How do I activate my OneDrive service?

You'll need to activate your OneDrive - University of Leeds space before you can start using it. All you need to do is log in to your account before you can use it.

How do I know how much storage I am using?

You have up to 5 TB storage available in OneDrive. You can still find out how much data you have stored in the service by logging in to OneDrive using the web browser and selecting Settings > Site Settings > Storage metrics from within the Site Collection Administration section.

Is OneDrive - University of Leeds different to OneDrive?

Yes, OneDrive - University of Leeds is provided to you as part of the Office 365 suite of services available to all staff or students studying or working at the University of Leeds. It is administered by University of Leeds staff and is only available to you while you are studying or working at the University. You can use it to store University data, share documents across devices, collaborate with other members of the University or external collaborators.

OneDrive is a consumer service, provided and administered by Microsoft as part of or Hotmail service and is a personal storage area which should never be used to hold University data.

What's the difference between OneDrive and SharePoint? 

OneDrive and SharePoint both use the same technology, and OneDrive is basically a single document library in SharePoint. The main difference is how you use them.  

Everyone has their own OneDrive account which only they can access unless they specifically give someone else access to a file or folder. It is for your personal, work-related storage and you may collaborate with a few people on a document stored in OneDrive.  

SharePoint is used either with teams, where everyone in the team usually has edit access to the site, or for publishing information on communication sites, where lots of people have read access to the site.  

You can find more information in these articles:  

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What can I use OneDrive for?

What can I use OneDrive - University of Leeds for?

Storing work related documents, sharing individual documents with other members of the University or external collaborators. You must only store files related to your work or studies at the University.   

By using a OneDrive App you can create a locally synced copy of your OneDrive - University of Leeds documents on a device which you can then use for offline working. You must follow the University's data protection policy and not store confidential or highly confidential information on personal devices. 

OneDrive - University of Leeds is not a fully featured document sharing solution, as there are no shared document checkout services and you cannot assign administrative rights to other users if the documents you are sharing are in your OneDrive.

Can I store private information on OneDrive (ie files not related to your work or studies) 

No, OneDrive - University of Leeds can only be used for storing files related to your work or studies at the University (institutional data).

'Institutional data' refers to data that contributes to or supports the University's ongoing operations, projects, or academic responsibilities. This can include data that is not strictly necessary for the University's functioning but is still relevant to its activities. Examples of institutional data could include research data, student records, administrative documents, and other data that supports the University's operations.

Personal usage refers to the storage of files or data that are not related to your work or studies at the University. This could include personal photos, documents, or other files that are not directly connected to your role or course.

There are a number of free options for storing your private information online, for example Google, Dropbox and Microsoft (a personal version of OneDrive that is not linked to your University account). When choosing a service, check if they provide automatic backups and how secure they are (eg do they provide two factor authentication).  

Remember, you must only store files related to your University work or studies on University approved systems

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Saving, sharing and moving files

Do you need to use the Virtual Windows Desktop to access OneDrive or SharePoint through File Explorer when off campus?  

As long as you have set up the OneDrive App on your device, you don't need to use Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) to access your OneDrive files.  
You can also access OneDrive and SharePoint files through a web browser by going to See the Finding your files article for more information

Note - if you have stored files in your M:Drive, you will need to use WVD. 

Can (and how do) I share my OneDrive - University of Leeds?

You can share files, folders or documents from within OneDrive. You should avoid sharing the whole area, and should only share the specific files or folders you need to have access to. Find out how to share your OneDrive for Business files.

How can I move documents from work to home?

You can do this using OneDrive after you have activated it. OneDrive - University of Leeds stores your files, folders and documents in the cloud allowing you to access them from any internet connected device. You can also use an App to create a locally synced copy of your OneDrive for offline working.

How can I share documents with people outside the University of Leeds?

You can use your OneDrive - University of Leeds storage area to share folders, files or documents with people outside your organisation. 

If you share a file or folder with a specific person, the link does not expire, unless that person does not use the link for 90 days. If the link stops working for the external person you can generate the link again by sharing the file/folder, and in the settings choose "People with existing access".  

Only links which are available to anyone expire after 30 days.  

You can find out about the different types of links and how to create them on the IT website.  

Can I share document to a shared inbox? 

No, a shared mailbox isn't the same as a user mailbox and it doesn't have its own OneDrive, so it can't store documents. 

How can I share content across multiple devices?

You can do this using OneDrive after you have activated it.  OneDrive - University of Leeds stores your files, folders and documents in the cloud allowing you to access them from any internet connected device.  You can also use an App to create a locally synced copy of your OneDrive for offline working.

I can’t see my Teams groups' files in the 'File Explorer' and cannot save files straight onto the Teams groups 'documents' folders. What am I missing? 

You will need to turn on the Sync option to view Teams files in File Explorer 

  • Make sure you have the OneDrive app set up 
  • Open the Team 
  • Click the Files tab at the top of the screen 
  • Click Sync in the tool bar (you may need to click on the three dots in the tool bar if you can’t see the Sync option)  

Sync button in the menu bar at the top of Teams channel

File Explorer will show an icon that looks like this (and includes the name of the Team & Channel) 

 Example Team name shown in File Explorer

Can you move files from a Teams files space onto SharePoint or OneDrive without having to download them from Teams and then upload them into SharePoint or OneDrive? 

Yes. All Microsoft Teams site have a SharePoint backend, so files stored in a Teams site are already in SharePoint. The actual file is listed in SharePoint directory and you can access it through SharePoint. To move to a different location in SharePoint:  

  • Go to the Files tab in Teams
  • Click the more actions button (3 dots) to the right of the file name 
  • Click Move to
  • In the Move window, you can choose "My files" at the top left to move a file to your OneDrive
    Click the Team/SharePoint site under the Quick access list to move a file to a different team or site 

Move to window showing My Files and Quick Links to other teams highlighted in yellow

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Can I retrieve deleted files or folders or restore previous versions?

Yes, OneDrive version control is available by default on your OneDrive. This means every time you edit a file, a copy of the previous file is saved. If you delete a document (or folder) from OneDrive then this item gets placed in the recycle bin. You can also recover deleted items from the recycle bin for up to 90 days.

You can read more information about how to empty the recycle bin or restore deleted files on the Microsoft site.

How are files and folders protected?

By default, your OneDrive documents and files are can only be accessed using your University username and password, and are protected by Duo two factor authentication. University IT support staff can also access your documents under strict controls which comply with the University's Access control and Account Management policy (see related articles). The files held in OneDrive are automatically backed up, but you can also create a locally synced copy of your OneDrive files using the OneDrive client.

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Data Quarantining and GDPR

What is data quarantining?

All data on University systems needs to comply with data protection regulations and the University's own data retention schedule. Files which do not comply may be moved into quarantine, and you will need to request access to them if they are still needed. For more information see the Data Quarantining article (in related articles)

What does this mean for files on my personal device that are synced with the University's OneDrive? 

The policy means that all files on the University's filestores, including those synced from your personal device to the University's OneDrive, will be scanned for personal data. If these files meet the criteria for quarantining, they will be moved to a secure quarantine area within the University's systems.

Will files stored locally on my personal device be affected by this process?

No, files stored locally on your personal device that are not synced to the University's OneDrive will not be affected by this process.

What should I do if my personal files are synced to the University's OneDrive?

If your personal files are synced to the University's OneDrive, you should remove them as personal usage of the University's OneDrive is not allowed.

How does the OneDrive policy comply with legal obligations such as the GDPR and PCI DSS?

The OneDrive policy complies with legal obligations such as the UK GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) by ensuring that personal data is properly protected. This includes scanning all files for personal data and moving files that do not meet data retention guidelines to a secure quarantine area. The policy also revokes personal usage of the University's OneDrive, further protecting personal data.

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Troubleshooting and getting help

Who should I contact if I need help with OneDrive?

If you have problems accessing OneDrive - University of Leeds from a University of Leeds managed device please contact the IT Service Desk or your local IT Support teams.

If you have problems on a personal device when using the web browser to access OneDrive - University of Leeds the IT Service Desk will try to assist you. Errors on your device browser may not be able to be resolved by the IT Service Desk.

If you have any problems when using an App on a personal device, please contact the App or device vendor. There is information about using an App to access OneDrive in the related articles or please raise a ticket using the general request link on the right-hand side of this article

I can't log in to OneDrive - University of Leeds using an app

Before you try using an app, you must click on the OneDrive tab using Outlook Web App on a web browser. This activates your OneDrive - University of Leeds account. It won't work if you haven't done this.

If you can't connect to OneDrive - University of Leeds, then you might be logged in to a personal or Hotmail account. It won't work if you are. Try the following:

Now you should be able to access both services.

I sometimes have issues when switching between the web app and the desktop app (or between different devices) when working on the same file. For example, it might show that I am in the document on two different devices/apps, when I only have the file open in one app/device and I have definitely closed it on other apps/devices. Or it will prompt me to sign into the desktop app saying “another user is already signed in”, when that user is me and it won’t let me sign in again. Any tips?

If you see this error, we recommend you use Word or the other apps in the Windows Virtual Desktop. If that works OK, then the problem is on your device, and you should log a ticket with the IT Service Desk. 

I've got OneDrive on my laptop but every time I open a document on OneDrive through Windows Explorer I get error messages saying that it's not syncing back to OneDrive. Is there a solution to this?

This may be due to a problem with the OneDrive app. You should unlink your computer (which won't cause any data to be lost) and set up the OneDrive app again. If you are still have problems, please contact the IT Service Desk. 

What happens to my OneDrive when I leave the University?

If you are a student studying at the University, or a member of staff working at the University, then you will have access to OneDrive while you are here.  When your study ends, or you leave employment with the University, access to your OneDrive - University of Leeds will also end.

If you are a member of staff, you should ensure all work related information is made available to relevant colleagues before you leave - this is a requirement of you working at the University.

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