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Open Shared Document Libraries in SharePoint Online With Explorer to Move Files from OneDrive for Business

For organizations with a presence on Office 365, and SharePoint Online, Microsoft’s recent announcement of 1TB of storage, via One Drive for Business, for any/all Office 365 tenants, may provide cause for concern. Users may be challenged to correctly implement a governance plan built around SharePoint document libraries and lists should they neglect to move data from One Drive for Business into SharePoint Online.

Fortunately, the “Open with Explorer” feature can be used by even end users to provide them with a drag and drop method of transferring files out of One Drive for Business and into a targeted document library in SharePoint Online. SharePoint-Videos offers two video tutorials on this subject, albeit for SharePoint 2010: Working with documents in Explorer View, and Uploading Documents to Libraries. Nevertheless, the steps we present in both of these tutorials will work fine with SharePoint Online, Office 365.

Users connecting to SharePoint Online with Internet Explorer 11 may need to add URLs for shared document libraries in SharePoint Online to their list of Trusted Sites for the “Open with Explorer” feature to work. Be sure not to check the “Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone. If this option is enabled (in other words, if the box is checked), drag and drop upload of documents won’t work. The browser will look to authenticate in the middle of any process, hence the drag and drop will fail.

We also could not get the “Open with Explorer” feature to work with Google Chrome. Nor could we get the feature to work with Firefox. This issue is well documented and any Google or Bing search for a query like “open with explorer sharepoint chrome” should expose useful content to anyone looking for a solution.

Once end users demonstrate their ability to use the “open with explorer” feature to upload files from OneDrive for Business to SharePoint Online, it might make sense for stakeholders in a governance plan for SharePoint to set a time limit on storing data in this cloud storage solution. An open ended storage plan can undermine the usefulness of SharePoint Online as an Enterprise Document Management (EDM) solution, rendering it, instead, into simply one more file share.

Ira Michael Blonder

©Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder 2014 All Rights Reserved