FAQ - OneDrive Cloud Storage

Jump to a section: General | Setup | Storage | Sharing & Collaboration | Sync | Mobile | Office Online


What are the benefits to using OneDrive?

  • 5TB of storage for ECU users; 100GB for alumni
  • Collaboration with simultaneous editors
  • Sharing with ECU and non-ECU users (non-ECU users create an account)
  • Office Online for content creation and quick edits within OneDrive cloud or mobile
  • Syncing of non-sensitive data for anywhere access

How do I access my Office 365 OneDrive space?

Log in to pirate365.ecu.edu to open your Microsoft 365 portal. Click the OneDrive icon.

You can also access OneDrive from the app launcher icon (upper left) when logged in to your online email. mymail.ecu.edu

I have a personal OneDrive. What is the difference between my ECU OneDrive and my personal OneDrive?

A personal OneDrive is available to anyone who creates a free Microsoft account – often done during setup of a new Windows computer. This account is separate from your work OneDrive.

What happens to my OneDrive folder after I leave ECU?

  • A student’s OneDrive storage transitions to the alumni account after graduation. Storage capacity reduces to 100GB, so students storing more than 100GB should move data before graduation.
  • If a student does not graduate, the OneDrive folder is disabled according to ECU’s student account deactivation schedule.
  • Staff OneDrive accounts are disabled upon retirement or exit from ECU.

How do I know I have the latest OneDrive app install on my macOS computer?

Open any Microsoft Office app (Word, Excel). Click Help (upper left), then choose Check for Updates. Install any updates.

Does Microsoft have any online resources for OneDrive?

Yes. For both video and text instructions, visit the OneDrive Video Training website.


Am I able to merge my personal and ECU OneDrive accounts?

No, ECU OneDrive is based on a different platform than your personal OneDrive, and the two cannot be merged into one account.

Can I map a drive to my OneDrive account?


How do I organize my OneDrive information?

Create folders and subfolders as you do on your computer.

Is it possible to set up a OneDrive account for my department?

The appropriate app for this is Microsoft Teams which utilizes chat, file storage and more for a specific group, like your department.


Who has OneDrive cloud storage at ECU?

Alumni, faculty, staff, students and certain contractors.

Are there any file format restrictions for uploading content to OneDrive?

No. You can share Office documents, PDF files, image files and Adobe files.

Am I allowed to store personal information in my OneDrive?

ITCS recommends that you keep work and personal files separate.

Can I access a previous version of an Office document in OneDrive?

Yes, using the Version History feature within your OneDrive portal (pirate365.ecu.edu). Click the vertical ellipses and choose Version History. The version history pane opens. Click the vertical ellipses next to the file name and choose Restore, Open File or Delete Version.

How can I organize my OneDrive information?

Create folders as you do on your computer.

I tried to drag a folder over to my OneDrive in the file explorer window. It didn’t move?

When adding a folder to your OneDrive folder, it’s actually best to create the folder in OneDrive and then copy over the files rather than dragging the entire folder.

If I delete a file, can I recover that file? What if I have emptied the Recycle Bin, can my file be recovered?

You can restore a deleted file from the Recycle Bin. Click Recycle bin in the menu pane to open. Check the file and then click Restore

If the file has been deleted from the Recycle Bin, it cannot be recovered. See this Microsoft video to learn more.

What data types can I store in OneDrive? What about sensitive data?

OneDrive is approved for storage of general and sensitive data. Also keep in mind:

  1. In general, do not store sensitive data on your computer or mobile device.
  2. If you plan to store sensitive data in OneDrive, see this policy page from University Data Governance for guidance. Contact the Office of Research Integrity and Compliance (328-9474) to determine whether research data, technical specifications or information falls under these categories.
  3. See the Guidelines for Protecting Sensitive Data article for specifics.
  4. You may need to contact the data steward for permission to store a particular data type on OneDrive. See this University Data Governance web page.
  5. Never sync sensitive data from OneDrive to your computer (sensitive data should not be saved to your devices). See this Microsoft support article: Choose which OneDrive folders to sync to your computer.

Are there any invalid file types or file upload size limitations?

  • Temp files are not synced
  • File size limit for upload or sync is 250GB

Sharing & Collaboration

How can I share a file or folder?

You can share a link or send a copy of a file or folder to specific people, people with existing access or people in ECU with the link. Individuals can be ECU or non-ECU users. See the Share files and folders training video from Microsoft.

  • Click the Share button in the ribbon menu of a single Office file. You can send a link to a person or group. Non-ECU users must have a Microsoft account. Or you can send a copy of the file in the original format or as a PDF.
  • Right-click a file in Explorer (Windows).
  • Click the Share icon beside a filename in OneDrive cloud.
  • Click the ellipses beside a file in the mobile OneDrive app.

What editing permissions can I choose?

  • Allow editing. Users can make changes.
  • Review mode only. Users can only add comments but not change the document.
  • Block download. No editing is allowed and download is blocked.

Can a file that I share via “Get a Link” be shared by others?

Yes, those links may be forwarded and accessed by anyone in the ECU tenant with a Microsoft Office 365 license. In the ECU tenant are faculty, staff, students and alumni. You can stop sharing at any time.

Can I share a file or folder with someone external to ECU?

Yes. The recipient must have a Microsoft account in order to access the content. Anyone can create a Microsoft Account. You can stop sharing at any time.

What happens when more than one person is editing the same file at the same time?

OneDrive allows multiple users to collaborate and edit a document in real-time. You will see a rectangle display with another user’s name where they are working within the document. You will also see a note in the top right corner that indicates more than one person is in the document.

Are there file sharing limitations?

Yes—You can only share 50,000 items within a folder/subfolder. The workaround is to create a new folder and move the items you wish to share to the new folder. This is true for SharePoint as well.


What does “sync” mean, exactly?

Once your ECU account is added to the sync app, a folder is created on your computer and your OneDrive cloud folder structure is copied to your computer. Documents saved within OneDrive - East Carolina University are available in your OneDrive cloud storage and locally on your computer. Files saved anywhere within "This PC" are not synced and only available on your computer.

Advantages to using the sync feature:

  • The files you choose to sync are available from any device wherever you have internet access.
  • You always have a backup (comes with a caveat).
  • Never sync sensitive data from OneDrive to your computer (sensitive data should not be saved on your devices). See this Microsoft support article: Choose which OneDrive folders to sync to your computer.

Do I have to sync files to store them in OneDrive?

No. You can manually upload existing files and folders to OneDrive and save newly-created files to OneDrive without using the sync app. The advantage is that these files are available anywhere, but you must log in to your OneDrive cloud storage to access. Syncing creates a copy both in the cloud and on your computer so you have access with or without internet access.

How do I start using the sync feature?

Mac users install the sync app. See the Microsoft support article: Sync files with OneDrive on Mac OS X.

Windows 10 users have the sync app already installed.  See this Microsoft training video, Sync OneDrive files and folders, for step-by-step instructions.

Can I decide which of my folders sync to OneDrive?

Yes. Windows users click the cloud icon and choose Help and Settings. Mac users should see this Microsoft support article, Sync files with OneDrive on Mac OS X.

I edited a document on my computer while offline. How do I make sure those changes are synced to OneDrive?

Once you are back online, the sync client will upload any changes you made while offline. You don't need to do anything as long as the file is saved in one of your sync folders.

I've noticed a few files haven't synced on my Mac What's wrong?

You must be signed in when you log in on another computer or via the web or the files you change or create will not sync. Mac users are not notified that they are not signed in.

I have a OneDrive notification (Windows) that one of my files contains a character that prevents syncing. What is happening here?

Some characters have special meanings and cannot be used to name a file. These characters include: ~ “ * : < > ? / \ { |

File names cannot begin or end with a space. OneDrive can rename some files for you – just click the Rename button (if available). Other files will need to be renamed manually.

Mac users will not receive any notification about invalid characters. If you notice a file is not syncing, manually rename the file. To learn more, see this Microsoft OneDrive restrictions and limitations support article.

What is OneDrive Files On Demand?

To sync files usually means there is a copy saved to your computer (for offline access) and a copy saved to OneDrive. If there is not enough hard drive space on your computer to accommodate the local copy, you can activate the Files on Demand feature through your OneDrive settings. This is also an option for macOS users.

Files on Demand means your work is stored in the OneDrive cloud folder with no local (computer) copy, only a link to the file. To open a file, click the filename (link), and the file downloads from OneDrive to your computer. Note that a copy of the opened file is saved to your computer and syncs with the cloud version. Right-click the file and choose Free up space to remove the local version and save hard drive space.

To activate this feature, Windows users click the OneDrive icon in the system tray, click the Settings icon, then check the Files on Demand box. If you wish to stop this feature, uncheck the box. Depending on the number of files, activating and deactivating this feature may take a few minutes but works in the background. To learn more, see this Microsoft tutorial Files on Demand for Windows 10.


Mac users click the OneDrive icon in the menu bar and choose Preferences. This opens the OneDrive settings. Click the Turn on Files on Demand button. Go to the Account tab to choose folders and tweak other settings. To learn more, see this Microsoft tutorial, Save Disk Space with Files-on-Demand for Mac.


What happens when I open a file on my mobile device?

When you open a file on your mobile device, you are downloading a copy to your device. Please be cautious that you are not downloading sensitive information to your mobile device!

Office Online

I created a document and saved it to OneDrive. Where is the SAVE button?

Documents saved in OneDrive or created in an Office or mobile app are automatically saved to your OneDrive folder. Edits are automatically saved as well.

When I choose to edit a file within OneDrive, I see two options: 1) edit in Word and 2) edit online. What does this mean?

Word, Excel and PowerPoint are included with OneDrive and allow file creation and editing within OneDrive. Or you have the option to download the file in your computer’s full version of Word, Excel or PowerPoint for editing. Office Online is a convenient way to collaborate, edit and create OneDrive documents.

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Article ID: 67665
Mon 9/20/21 3:29 PM
Wed 11/15/23 10:12 AM
Service Owner
Unified Communications

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Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage is available through your ECU Microsoft 365 subscription and alumni email and is the only approved cloud storage for ECU data.