Migrating files and folders to Onedrive for Business and Sharepoint Online without user interaction part 1

This is the first post in a series about moving to Onedrive for Business and/or Sharepoint Online from traditional fileshares and/or homedirectories, in bulk, without user interaction.


  1. Making your data compliant with Office 365 standards, and keeping it that way
  2. Moving the data (in bulk)
  3. User and endpoint transitioning

Many of my employer’s clients are transitioning to a Cloud First IT model. Think triple A, work anywhere, anytime, anyplace.

This poses a number of challenges on several fronts, least of all user expectations management. I’ve been involved in (mobile) device management, CYOD, BYOD, load migrations to Azure, email to Office 365, Lync onprem to Skype Online and data migrations.

In the latter, a multi-national company asked me to help them migrate around twenty thousand homedirectories without user interaction from traditional mapped homedrives on almost 100 fileservers spread out over the world, to Onedrive for Business. This series details how we moved all their files to Onedrive for Business from start till finish.

1. Restrictions by Microsoft and choosing your O4B client

We have to take into account that Microsoft sets a number of restrictions on data that is uploaded to Onedrive for Business. These restrictions differ depending on the Onedrive client you decide to deploy in your organisation.

The ‘old’ client (groove.exe) is generally considered very unreliable, and has withheld many organisations from adopting Onedrive for Business. It has a large number of undocumented and documented restrictions, BUT, it can sync Sharepoint Libraries.

The ‘new’ client (onedrive.exe) was very well received by the industry and finally supplies us with a reliable sync engine and a small measure of IT control over the deployment with fewer restrictions on data configuration. I highly recommend using the new client, if you really need to sync Sharepoint Libraries both clients can coexist on the same machine without problems.

2. The solution

During our project, it became quite clear that the restrictions on data, such as restricted characters in filenames and folders/files that were nested too deeply, could not be resolved by our users or by any software on the market. Thus, O365Datacleaner was born to automatically correct any of these restrictions.

During the cleanup phase of our project:

  1. we identified our users and the paths to their homedirectories
  2. built a CSV file with this data
  3. communicated to our users what would happen to their data, and where a report would be placed
  4. ran O365DataCleaner in bulk mode using the CSV file

Upon which we have compliant data in all homedirectories.

Of course, nothing was to stop a user from making his/her homedirectory non-compliant again, but more on how we solved that and moved their data later.

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Nelson Jimenez
Nelson Jimenez
4 years ago

We are migrating our user home directory to ODFB ,but our challenge is that we are currelty using a GPO for our MS sync center-folder redirect CSC. The issues we see is that the ”Documents “ folder properties still have the location pointing to the user home drives located on the DFS at a path like \\domain\dfsroot\users\%username% CSC. Even though we run the script to update the user shell folders ,but we still couldn’t get the user “Document” to synch. This breaks from OneDrive backup KFM to backup for “Documents” because the properties location still points to a the CSC… Read more »

6 years ago

i have OneDrive for Business built on SharePoint 2013, i made a new one build on SharePoint 2016 with a new design.
How can i migrate user date from the old one to the new?

6 years ago

i have on-premises OneDrive SharePoint 2013 and i made new one SharePoint 2016. How to migrate users data from the old one to the new one??


[…] Personal data has been migrated to Onedrive for Business […]

Don Jones
7 years ago

Jos First thank you for your Office365 tools. I have used the one drive mapper in a few school districts and has worked well. I have a project for this summer to migrate student home folders to their one drive. I have tested the uploader and it worked well. And so was looking for a version of the file that I can replace variables to reference the UNC paths of the students home folders and their credentials for their one drive logon so I can loop through a list of the kids. Would that be something you can share or… Read more »