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Box Migration

Northwestern Box is a cloud-based file sharing solution that has been centrally provided by the University since 2014. Recently, Northwestern announced plans to migrate its cloud-based storage from Box to Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams at the conclusion of the Box annual contract on August 31, 2022.

For more information and to learn about what you can do to prepare for the migration, please review our Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have additional questions about the Box to One Drive and SharePoint migration please visit the Northwestern IT web site.


On Demand Webinar

Watch an on-demand Webinar Q&A with Andrew Winter, Feinberg IT deputy chief information officer, and Curtis Hanawalt, Feinberg IT director of IT customer support, to learn more about the project. This webinar was recorded on December 6, 2021.

Watch the webinar  View the slides

Frequently Asked Questions

 When will Feinberg be migrating?

Most of Feinberg will begin migrating in January 2022, and the migration will be completed by March 2022.  The migration will occur in conjunction with the rest of the university -- starting with the largest accounts earlier in the timeline, and finishing with the smaller accounts.

 What do I need to know about the migration?

Northwestern University will remove Box by August 2022. Starting in November 2021, files will be migrated out of Northwestern University Box accounts. 

Personal Box folders (those accounts not in an ORG-SCHOOL folder), will be migrated to OneDrive  Organizational Box files (accounts using an ORG-SCHOOL folder) will be migrated to SharePoint sites.  

In OneDrive, your personal Box files will be found in a folder named “_FromNUBox”.  Security and access settings will be migrated as well, however you will need to reshare with anyone outside of Northwestern. 

Once migration is complete, your migrated files will be read-only and downloadable in Box for 4 weeks. Files shared with you in Box from another institution will remain available to you in Box.

 How will I be notified that I am migrating? What if the proposed date does not work for me?

Your will receive an email notifying you of your migration date at least two weeks in advance of your migration.  If that date is disruptive for you, just reply to the sender letting them know, and a new date will be proposed. 

 How long will migration take?

Account size and number of documents will determine migration timing. Migrations being at noon on a Friday.

 Will our data be transferred into the same folders as they are located now?

All files migrate in under on top-level folder (from_NUBox). Folder structure and permissions are retained in the top-level folder.

 What should I do about files or folders shared with me that are owned by employees who are no longer here?

If you require access to files for folks who are no longer at the institution, please submit a ticket to and we can assist with facilitating approval from HR to move files/folders belonging to someone else into an appropriate location.

 How are personal (OneDrive) vs. organizational (SharePoint) accounts being identified on the front end? Will there be proactive outreach to validate account type before migration?

Folders with an ORG-SCHOOL naming structure will go to SharePoint, all other folders will go to OneDrive.

 Is there an equivalent of BoxSync that would allow us to edit documents locally that would sync with the cloud?

Syncing is done through the OneDrive app.

 What should I do to prepare for the migration, should individuals move their own files?

Cleaning up files and folders that are no longer needed will help speed up the migration. This involves deleting folders you don’t need, moving departmental files into ORG-SCHOOL folders if necessary, and checking for files owned by employees who are no longer at Northwestern.  

Once you have cleaned your Box files, you should wait for everything to be automatically migrated so that permissions and file history are retained.  

 If I would like to request a SharePoint site to move some of my large collaboration files in personal folders, how do I do that? Should I do that before or after migration?

You can request a SharePoint Site be created at any time with this request form. For most people, waiting until after migration will be best since migrating from OneDrive to SharePoint is easy and efficient. How to move files from OneDrive to SharePoint

 How will file sharing with NMHC, LCH and SRAL be impacted by this change?

OneDrive and SharePoint Files and Folders can be shared with and accessed from clinical affiliate accounts. However, you may need to re-share files with external collaborators, including users, after your files are migrated.

 When sharing OneDrive or SharePoint files with people who have both NU and clinical affiliate email address which address should I share with?

If you are uncertain which address they use as their primary, we recommend sharing with both their Northwestern and clinical affiliate address.  This will give them maximum flexibility to access the files wherever they need. 

 After the migration, will individuals without a NetID be able to view documents and folders that we allow access to? (For example, individuals from Lurie and NMH?) Are there other limitations to sharing files with external collaborators?

Once files are migrated to OneDrive or SharePoint, they can be re-shared with external collaborators who will receive an invitation to access the shared content. Instructions for sharing externally can be found in this Knowledge Base Article

 If I have a collaborator at another institution, where should I put my documents?

Collaborative documents are best stored in SharePoint.  Once files are migrated to OneDrive or SharePoint, they can be shared with external collaborators who will receive an invitation to access the shared content.  Instructions for sharing externally can be found in this Knowledge Base Article 

 Is there a way to invite an email distribution list/contact group to the link sharing invite? I currently invite individuals by email. A group of 20+ people can get daunting and it's easier to skip a name.

In order to share with a group, you will need to add email addresses individually. Unfortunately, distribution list aren’t supported for assigning SharePoint permissions.

 Will SharePoint require a VPN connection to access it?

No, it is not required. It is accessible both on-site and remotely. 

 Will this impact email usage?

No, this project does not impact email usage.