IT Connect
Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Google Drive & OneDrive for Business: File sharing & synchronizing options


Both Google Drive and OneDrive for Business have two different ways of accessing them:  a web tool and a local application.  The web tool allows one to store files in “The Cloud” but does not synchronize the cloud copies with local copies (if any).  Only the local application will synchronize files between your computer and “The Cloud.”

If you have installed the local application, you can save files locally in the right location and they will automatically synchronize to the cloud repository. If your computer is off the network and you save a file locally, when your computer is back on the network, it will synchronize the file.

Note: Synchronizing files to “The Cloud” is not a substitute for file backup.  When you synchronize your folders, files deleted from one location are deleted from the other.

Google Drive

For Google Drive, the local application is the Google Drive app.  Only files located in “C:\Users\yournetid\Google Drive” will be synchronized with the “Cloud.”


A tale of two OneDrives

  • OneDrive (the consumer/personal offering from Microsoft) is a “personal” version and should not be used for UW business.
  • OneDrive for Business is the Microsoft offering that we may use for UW storage.

As with Google Drive, you can access OneDrive for Business via the web or via a local application.  Also, as with Google Drive, you can only synchronize your files via the local app.  The local app for OneDrive for Business is OneDrive for Business Application.  The drive will be called “OneDrive – UW Office 365”, and by default the locally copies will be at “C:\Users\yournetid\OneDrive – UW Office 365″.  See the link below for details.

Unlike Google Drive, which shows a “Google Drive” entry in the left column of your Windows Explorer window, OneDrive for Business uses the Microsoft Library folder to store documents locally.  Only within the Office applications does the “OneDrive – UW Office 365” option appear as distinct location that is easy to find. For all other applications you may need to know where the local repository is located (again, by default, that is “C:\Users\yournetid\OneDrive – UW Office 365″).

For additional information: