OneDrive: Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use OneDrive?

All student, faculty, and staff accounts can utilize OneDrive. Other types of accounts such as guest wireless, sponsored accounts, or alumni accounts cannot access OneDrive.


How do I access OneDrive?

Use a Web browser to log into with your Pitt email address and password. Click on the Office 365 app launcher icon in order to bring up your accessible app tiles.
The tile for OneDrive is set off by a dual-cloud icon.

If you plan to exclusively use a tablet/mobile device to interact with your OneDrive cloud share, it will be much easier to use the OneDrive app rather than a Web browser. Mobile operating system-compatible apps available for download on the respective app stores:

  • iOS (Apple phones and tablets) - The App Store
  • Android - The Google Play store
  • Windows Phone - The Windows Store


How do I move files to and from my OneDrive space?

If you are working from a PC or laptop, then you can use the Upload and Download links to move files to and from your computer. The Upload link appears at the top of the OneDrive Web page that displays your cloud file directory. In order to download a file that is on the share, click once on the file name and then right click to bring up a secondary menu (for MacOS clients, this may require you to hold down the Command key first if you only have one button on your mouse) and select the Download option that should appear.

If you will be moving files to and from OneDrive and have admin rights on your system, consider downloading and installing the OneDrive for Business application. This application will create a local copy of your OneDrive cloud folder and then sync the files with the cloud when the system is connected to the network. You can work directly with these local copies of the files and the OneDrive for Business application will make sure that they are stored on the cloud. Macintosh and Windows versions of the OneDrive for Business application are available for download at


Is there a cost?

There is no cost for student, faculty, and staff accounts to use OneDrive. However, you need an Office 365 subscription to use any Web-based Office 365 applications with the OneDrive space. By default, all students have access to the standard "Office" suite of Web applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) via their Office 365 subscription.


How much data can I store on my OneDrive cloud share?

There is currently a five terabyte limit on the total storage space available to a single Pitt account. A terabyte is about 1024 gigabytes (GB). This amount of space is five to ten times the amount of storage of a laptop PC.


What is the largest file size that OneDrive can accommodate?

OneDrive can currently support upload and storage of files as large as 15GB.


What cloud storage option should I use?

All Pitt student, faculty, and staff accounts can store files on both the Box and OneDrive services. Both services feature cloud-based file storage that is accessible anywhere on the Internet and backed up regularly. Using either storage option is a more secure way to store your valuable files when compared to using flash drives or depending on the hard drive of a dedicated laptop or PC.

The decision on which service to primarily use will depend on how you work with files and whether or not you will need your cloud storage service to support collaboration.

  • For example, if you primarily use a dedicated PC or laptop and manage files with locally-installed versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, then Box should work well for you.
  • If you exclusively use the Office 365 (Web-based) versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, then you will want to utilize your OneDrive storage space more.
  • If you will be collaborating with colleagues by annotating documents with comments, your better bet would be Box. Especially if you need to work with participants outside the University.
  • However, if your collaboration involves working in SharePoint, then OneDrive has the advantage.

A comparison matrix of the different uses of Box versus OneDrive is available to help you evaluate which service would work best for your needs.


There is no restriction against using both services. However, if you choose to utilize both cloud services, you should establish a PC/laptop home base with both cloud apps installed and learn to use the sync functions. Otherwise, you risk storing different versions of documents on different services, which can be very confusing and time consuming.


How do I move files between OneDrive and Box?

The easiest way to move files between the cloud services is to use a PC or laptop that has both the Box Sync and OneDrive for Business applications installed. Open both from the system tray to create windows for both. From the windows you can move files using cut/copy and paste. If you are on a system where both utilities are not available, you will have to open up the Web interfaces for both OneDrive and Box and use the upload/download functions using the PC's drive as an intermediary.

Moving files back and forth from a mobile/tablet platform is possible but requires that both mobile app versions of Box Sync and OneDrive for Business are installed and running and configured to save files locally, in a location that both apps can access. In a case like this, it may be more efficient to use a PC system instead. CSSD Campus Computing Lab PCs are accessible to anyone with a Pitt student, faculty, or staff account and have both apps installed.

Tags: OneDrive FAQ Cloud Office 365