In this guide, you will learn how to copy OneDrive files from one account to another account.
Table of Contents:
- Method 1: Download & Upload OneDrive Files via Admin Center
- Method 2: Download and Sync Files using OneDrive Sync Client
OneDrive has a sync client you can install locally on a PC. Users can save files to the OneDrive location which is located by default under their PC user profile C:\users\userloggedin\OneDrive – nameofyourdomain. The OneDrive local client syncs the files to the cloud OneDrive location.
When managing OneDrive, you may need to copy files from one user’s OneDrive to another user’s OneDrive due to employee turnover or position changes. I will walk you through the different ways to accomplish this task.
OneDrive files are retained, based on your retention policies set up in Microsoft 365, for a limited time when you disable the account and eventually delete it. Be sure to perform these steps before the OneDrive is deleted forever or back up the data.
OneDrive is a part of the SharePoint suite; you need to have SharePoint administrative privileges to administer OneDrive settings.
Method 1: Download & Upload OneDrive Files via Admin Center
This first method uses the Office 365 Admin Center to download the one drive files from a source account and then uploads them to the target account.
Step 1. Log into Exchange Admin Center
Step 2. Locate the User Whose OneDrive files you need to copy
In the list of users click the user you want to copy. In this case, I’m going to copy the files of ABC User.
On the user profile, click on OneDrive.
Next, click on Create link to files under Get access to files.
The link to the user’s OneDrive location will be displayed. Click on the link.
Step 3. Download OneDrive Files
You should now see a list of the files in the users’s OneDrive.
Click to the left of the Name column and a circle will appear. Click in the circle and this will select all files and folders. Or if you want, only select the files and folders you want to copy by clicking to the left of the names of the files and folders.
At the top, click on download.
This is going to download all files and folders into a .zip file in your downloads folder on the current computer you are on. In the lower-left hand corner if you are using Chrome, you should see the .zip file.
If you open File Explorer, under Quick access -> Download, you should see the downloaded OneDrive zip file.
Once you locate your downloaded .zip file from this OneDrive, you have two options.
- You can extract the files and folders out of the zip file. (Recommended)
- Copy the .zip file to another OneDrive
NOTE: If you copy the .zip file to another user’s OneDrive, they will need to download it and extract the contents of the .zip file. If your users are not tech-savvy, it may be best to unzip the contents and copy the files and folders.
Step 4. Copy OneDrive Files to Another OneDrive Account
I’m going to copy the OneDrive files to the user Jack Ackles. So, back in the admin center, on the OneDrive tab of the user settings, I clicked on create a link to view and edit Jack Ackles’s OneDrive files. Then I clicked on the link.
Jack Ackle’s OneDrive is now shown. I click on Upload at the top.
I’m going to click on folder and then select the extracted zip folder. Click the upload button to start uploading the files to the OneDrive account.
When the upload is complete, it will show in the list. You can let the user know the OneDrive files have been uploaded to their account.
That is it for method 1.
Method 2. Download and Sync Files using OneDrive Sync Client
This method uses the OneDrive sync client to Download the source OneDrive files and sync them to another OneDrive account.
This method will require that you have the local OneDrive Sync client installed. OneDrive should be installed by default on Windows 10. If you don’t have it installed, you can download the sync client here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/onedrive/download.
Step 1. Log into Exchange Admin Center
Step 2. Download (Sync) OneDrive Files of the Source User’s Account
1. In the list of users click the user you want to copy. In this case, I’m going to copy the files of ABC User.
2. On the user profile, click on OneDrive.
3. Next, click on Create link to files under Get access to files.
4. The link to the user’s OneDrive location will be displayed. Click on the link.
5. You will see all the files in the user’s OneDrive. Click Sync at the top of the screen. This will download the user’s entire OneDrive to your local OneDrive account.
NOTE: The Sync will not show up if any of the files or folders are selected.
You may get the following message:
7. Then click Close on the We’re syncing your files pop-up screen.
NOTE: If the user’s account is very large, it may take a few hours for it to fully sync all files down to the local sync client. You can view the status on your OneDrive client.
See the article What do the OneDrive icons mean for status icon meanings.
To see the account you just synced, click on File Explorer, and then you will see your domain name. In my case, it’s activedirectorypro.com shown in the list. If you expand it, it will show you all the OneDrive accounts you have synced. This does not include your own. Your OneDrive will be the one that starts with OneDrive – yourdirectoryname below it.
Step 3. Copy OneDrive Files to The Target Account
While the source account is syncing, you can go back to the admin center and locate the user you want to copy the files to. In this case, I’m going to copy the files to the user Jack Ackles.
1. In the admin center, I located Jack Ackles, and clicked on the link to his OneDrive.
2. I am now in Jack Ackles’s OneDrive. What I do to make it easier for the user to identify what files I have copied to their account is create a new folder. In this case, since I am copying the files of the user ABC User, I’m going to create a folder in Jack Ackles’s OneDrive called “ABC User Files”. Click New at the top and then click Folder.
3. I entered the name of the folder, “ABC User Files”, and then click create.
I can now see the folder in Jack Ackles’s OneDrive.
4. Because I don’t want to sync Jack’s entire OneDrive, there is no reason to since I am copying files to his OneDrive, I’m going to click on the folder I just created “ABC User Files” to open it.
5. Now that I’m in the folder, I’m going to click Sync at the top. This will only Sync this folder, nothing else. To see the folder, open File Explorer, you will now see Jack Ackles – ABC User Files.
6. To finish the copy, I’m going to open the ABC User – Documents, which is the entire OneDrive for the user ABC User.
7. To select all, press Ctrl-A at the same time and then Ctrl-C at the same time to copy the contents.
8. Now, I’m going to click on the Jack Ackles – ABC User Files directory.
9. I’m going to press Ctrl-V to paste the files, you can also right-click and select Paste. You will see the files being copied and they will start syncing (blue circle to the cloud).
10. Once all files have synced to the cloud, a green circle with a green checkmark will be in the status column.
11. Now if you go back to Jack Ackles OneDrive in the admin center, you will see the files we just copied have been synced up to the cloud.
Step 4. Remove Synced User Accounts
1. Once you are sure all files have synced to the cloud from the client, you can remove the account sync in the OneDrive client on these accounts.
2. Click on the OneDrive client icon, blue clouds in system tray.
3. Click on the Settings gear.
4. Click Settings
5. Click on Account
6. You will have the accounts you synced in the list. In my case, ABC User and Jack Ackles. Click on Stop sync beside the accounts you want to remove. They will no longer sync files to and from this computer.
NOTE: When you stop the sync, it doesn’t delete the files from your computer. Once you are certain the sync has stopped, you can manually delete the files. Again, the location is under yourdomainname.com and then you will see the accounts.