When switching from Google Apps/Google for Work to Office 365, you’ll usually want to migrate your Google Drive files as well as your mail.

There are a few online tools that will do this for free, or at a cost, with varying degrees of functionality. I came across this handy article that goes into more detail on these methods.

The method that stuck out to me was the new SharePoint Online Migration API from Microsoft. A free powershell driven process. Microsoft released an IT User Guide on the steps required when it was in preview. This is the document I used, and it can be downloaded here.

I used a Microsoft Azure virtual machine to do the initial download of the Google Drive Directory – about 150 GB of data. It downloaded incredibly fast on the Azure VMs connection and completed in a couple of hours. I just used the Google Drive sync tool for this, though you can also use Google’s Takeout tool if you need to convert your Google Docs/Sheets/Slides to their Microsoft Office equivalents.

Once downloaded, I installed the updated SharePoint Online Management Shell, and followed the instructions in the provided Word documents above.

The next step was to create an Azure storage account, create the folders for the migration packages (a bunch of XML manifests outlining what needs to be migrated) and start the upload of the data.

I got an error during one of the first powershell commands that read ‘New-SPOMigrationPackage : The server could not be contacted‘. Following the instructions of this blog post, I changed the initial command to this and added the -NoAdLookup switch to resolve it.

Next we run the Set-SPOMigrationPackageAzureSource cmdlet to upload the data from the Azure Server to the Azure Storage account.

Once the data and the migration package is uploaded, the migration can be kicked off via PowerShell. Now the data is being moved from Azure to OneDrive for Business/SharePoint online. You can check the status of the Migration using the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer, or just keep an eye on the library that you’re migrating to.

Storage Explorer Migration Queue


The coolest thing about this method is that it avoids the upload throttling of the ‘Open with Explorer’ method, and the syncing issues of the OneDrive for Business sync client. Best of all, it preserves the date modified metadata of the original files.

File metadata is preserved


Microsoft delivered on a long awaited feature of OneDrive last week – the syncing of shared folders.

Microsoft announced the feature back in February 2014 and called it Co-Owners. As far as I can tell, it’s no longer called co-owners, though the concept is still the same.

The new feature allows users of the consumer version of OneDrive to add folders that have been shared with them to their own OneDrive. Once added, these folders can be synced to computers and devices. Any changes are uploaded to OneDrive and appear for all users who access the folder.

Since the shared folder appears to be inside your own OneDrive, the feature works on all versions of the app – PC, Mac, iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

It came in handy last week for one of my clients who run Macs and don’t have a business version of Office 365 since their parent organisation runs hosted exchange through another provider. The feature was very easy to set up and involves just a few steps.

To add shared folders to your OneDrive

  1. Log in to www.onedrive.com as the user that has folders shared with them
  2. Click the Shared link on the left menu
    View Shared folders on OneDrive
  3. Select the folder by right-clicking or ticking the circle in the top right of the folder. Choose Add to My OneDrive. It’s either on the context menu if you right-click, or on the top menu if you select the folder.
    Add to OneDrive via right-click

    Add to OneDrive via top menu
  4. Once added to OneDrive, you can access this folder from any device, or sync it to your PC or Mac.