OneDrive - Set up and Copying your data to OneDrive


OneDrive is Microsoft's Cloud File-Synchronisation software. It automatically uploads a copy of your files to the Microsoft Cloud so they can be accessed from other devices (via the OneDrive client or the web interface), shared with other people, or even worked on by multiple people simultaneously. The University of Cambridge provides 1TB of storage with OneDrive for every staff member.

A video explaining the basics of OneDrive for Business can be seen HERE

Please read the UIS page on Data Security Classification and Guidance regarding OneDrive:


Raven Account


This guide will walk you through the steps to copy your data from your PC to OneDrive.

 1. Checking OneDrive is installed / Signing In / Signing in to multiple accounts

Is it installed?

First you need to check you have the OneDrive client installed, and it is signed in. Open File Explorer (My Computer) (click the Windows button in the bottom left of your screen, type explorer and click on File Explorer).

If you are logged in to the University's OneDrive, you should see "OneDrive - University of Cambridge" listed as a folder on the left:

If so, you already have OneDrive installed and signed in, and can go straight to Copying data to it!

You may also see other OneDrive subscriptions if you have an account at another institution, or a personal Office 365 subscription as below. The name tells you which account(s) you are logged in to.

Not signed in to OneDrive?

If your OneDrive icon is grey and has a line through it then you are not signed in yet:

To sign in, click on the OneDrive icon, then click on "Sign in":

Enter your email address, click "Sign in" (or press enter) and when prompted enter your Raven password to sign in:

Not signed into the University of Cambridge?

If you see OneDrive but belonging to a different institution, then you have the client but are signed in with another account - and so need to add the University of Cambridge to your OneDrive Client:

  1. Look down beside the clock for the OneDrive icon:  (you may need to click the up-arrow to show more icons if it is not showing)
  2. Right-click on the icon, and then click on "Settings":
  3. In the window the pops up, go to the "Account" tab, and click "Add an account":
  4. A window will pop up asking for your email address - enter your "" email address and click "Sign in". You will then be taken to the branded University of Cambridge login page - enter your Raven password and click "Sign in":

Note: Once you sign in to OneDrive your "Documents", "Desktop" and "Pictures" folders will redirect to OneDrive. This means that any files in those common locations will be moved into the OneDrive cloud and then synchronised back to your computer.

 2. Testing OneDrive
  1. Open Explorer - by clicking on the Folder icon on the desktop, or by pressing the Windows key and E together.
  2. You should see "OneDrive - University of Cambridge" listed on the left:
  3. Expand this by clicking the arrow beside it, and you should see at least the folders "Desktop" and "Documents" listed.
  4. Create a file on your Desktop - right-click on a blank space of the Desktop and choose "New > Text Document" you can give it a name or leave it as "New Text Document". It should briefly show two blue arrows in a circle, indicating it it being Synchronised to OneDrive, before then getting a green-tick indicating it has been uploaded:

    Synchronising      Synchronised
  5. Go to the "Documents" folder in Explorer, and repeat the process - the file should get the blue arrows in the "Status" column initially, before changing to a green-tick:
  6. If you had anything in your University of Cambridge OneDrive you should see it listed in the OneDrive folders.
 3. Copying Data to OneDrive

To copy data to your OneDrive you can either upload it via the web interface, or (recommended) sign into the OneDrive client and copy-and-paste the data into the OneDrive folders.

Please note: If you have a lot of data in your Home-drive Documents folder, it may be advisable to copy the files into OneDrive on a computer in the office rather than over the VPN. 

Copying using the OneDrive Client

  1. Open Explorer, go to your Documents folder.
  2. Select what you want to backup (or use Ctrl+A to select everything), then press "Ctrl+C" to Copy them.
  3. Browse to your OneDrive folder, go to the Documents folder in there, and right-click and select "Paste" (or press "Ctrl+V") to copy the data into the folder.
  4. Repeat for your Desktop, and Pictures folders.
  5. The files & folders will then get two blue arrows in a circle, indicating they are being uploaded:
    OneDrive sync in progress icon
    Once the upload is complete they will get a Green tick instead:
    OneDrive locally available file
  6. While files are uploading, your OneDrive icon (by the clock) will have the two blue-arrows, indicating it is processing the changes:
    OneDrive for Business sync in progress icon
    Please note that if you have a lot of data, it will take some time to upload to OneDrive. You can Pause Syncing at any time (e.g. if you have a video call you are joining) by right-clicking on the OneDrive icon and clicking the "Pause Syncing" option, and then selecting a time:

    Your OneDrive icon will then have a small "pause" icon on it:
    OneDrive for Business paused icon
    You can re-enable Syncing again by clicking on the OneDrive icon, and clicking the message at the top of the window:

Copying via the Web Interface

This is not recommended, as it is likely to be slower and any failure will mean you have to manually re-copy the files. If you close the web browser window/tab it will stop the upload.

  1. Go to the OneDrive website:
  2. Sign in with your email address, and your Raven password.
  3. You will then see a list of folders, click on the "Documents" folder to go into it
  4. Click the "Upload" icon at the top of the window, click on "Files" in the drop-down menu
  5. In the window that opens, select the file(s) you want to upload and click "Open".
    Note: You will not receive any indication the files are uploading, this is normal for the web interface.
  6. Once the file(s) have uploaded they will appear in the OneDrive window at the top of the list.
  7. Repeat for any other files or folders - e.g. your Desktop, Pictures, Videos, etc.
 Error signing in to OneDrive - No OneDrive Account

If you are receiving an error when trying to sign in to OneDrive that you don't have a OneDrive account you may need to follow the UIS guide on logging in and configuring it the first time:

OneDrive will automatically sync your data to the Microsoft Cloud, allowing you to access it on any other computer either by signing into the OneDrive client, or by going to the OneDrive website - - entering your email address, and when prompted entering your Raven password.

By default OneDrive uses "Files on Demand" - this means that files will be visible to you in the OneDrive Client, but will only be downloaded to your PC when you try and open them, saving space on your local disk. Any files you save on your PC to your OneDrive folder will be stored on your PC and uploaded to the OneDrive Cloud.

For guidance on sharing files & folder and managing access please see our page OneDrive - Sharing Files & Folders