Managed Migration: Benefits and Limits | Information Technology | University of Pittsburgh

You are here

Managed Migration: Benefits and Limits

Pitt IT’s managed migration process safely and securely copies your Box data to OneDrive with minimal disruption to your work. It is helpful to be familiar with the many significant benefits of a managed migration, as well as some of its limitations. 


  • Saves you time and effort because you do not have to copy any files yourself
  • Retains internal folder structures, meaning files copied to OneDrive are organized just as they were in Box
  • Retains internal sharing permissions (i.e., sharing permissions with those inside Pitt)
  • Provides secure migration of any restricted data that may reside on Box
  • Leverages the experience of SkySync, Pitt's cloud storage migration partner 

Collaborating with Those Who Have and Have Not Migrated

Collaborating in an environment where some individuals have already migrated to OneDrive and others are still using Box can present some unique challenges. The guidance below can help you navigate Pitt's current landscape, where for a short time both Box and OneDrive are being used for cloud storage and collaboration.

Box Migration File Location Matrix

The table below can help you determine where Box files reside based on who owns the file/folder on Box and whether the owner has been migrated to OneDrive.

Who owns the Box File/Folder? Location if Owner's Migration Has NOT Occurred Location if Owner's Migration HAS Occurred
Your Pitt account Box

OneDrive - My Files

(Also temporarily in Box as read-only)

Someone else's Pitt account Box

OneDrive -Shared

(Also temporarily in Box as read-only)

Someone Outside Pitt Box

Keep in mind the following important points:

  • In Box, ownership is determined by who has the "Ownership" permission level for a Box folder or file. Note that a Box Co-owner is not the same as a Box Owner.
  • Only the Box files for which a user is the "Owner" will be copied to their OneDrive (My Files) at the time of user's scheduled migration.
  • All other files and folders shared on Box are available in OneDrive (Shared) after the owner has been migrated.
  • Externally owned folders in Box are designated by a gray folder icon:

Steps to Take After You Have Migrated to OneDrive

After you have migrated, it is important to let your collaborators know that you will now be working together on OneDrive. Taking the following steps will help your collaborators transition smoothly to OneDrive.

Box Sync

If you are using Box Sync or Box Drive to collaborate with others, keep in mind that it will no longer work after the owner of the Box folders or files on which you are collaborating has been migrated to OneDrive. You will still be able to view the folders and files in Box Sync or Box OneDrive; however, you will no longer be able to upload files.

This can be confusing, because when dragging and dropping files into Box Sync, Box does not display a clear message indicating that the upload attempt was unsuccessful (the notice typically displays as a system error in the application tray). This is another reason why it is important to notify your collaborators after your migration that you have moved to OneDrive. Otherwise, they may continue trying to collaborate with you by uploading files to shared folders on Box Sync or Box Drive that no longer accept uploads. 

Business Processes That Utilized Box

If you have developed business processes that rely on automatically uploading files to Box, keep in mind that those processes will no longer work after you have been migrated to OneDrive. Make sure to notify any collaborators who may also rely on those business processes. You can use Microsoft Power Automate to create an automated workflow that moves email file attachments you receive to a specific folder in OneDrive. View guided learning and documentation … 

Limitations (Updated March 3, 2022)

  • OneDrive Sync Client Limitations: According to Microsoft, the OneDrive Sync client will stop working if you have 300,000 items or more across all libraries that you are syncing, even if you are not syncing all items within those libraries. If you have more than 250,000 files in your Box account, Pitt IT will reach out to you to discuss options for moving your data to SharePoint so that you do not encounter this issue.
  • OneDrive / SharePoint View Item Threshold: Although you can store up to 30 million items or files in a SharePoint or OneDrive list or library, Microsoft reports that you may encounter a list view threshold error when a SharePoint list view shows more than 5,000 items. This means that any folder containing more than 5,000 items will not be visible in default views on SharePoint, and may experience issues processing actions on those folders such as deleting, moving, and copying. View Microsoft's recommendations for working with larger lists ...
  • Additional Limitations
    • SkySync will not transfer any folder with more than 10,000 files within that folder. If you have a folder with more than 10,000 items, we recommend you re-distribute the files within subfolders to ensure that no single folder contains more than 10,000 items.
    • OneDrive has a 256 character filename limit. Files from Box with filename lengths exceeding 256 characters will be automatically truncated as necessary by the SkySync migration tool to accommodate this limitation. Items that cannot be revised will be displayed in post-migration error logs.
    • There is a 400 character total path limit in OneDrive, including leading folder directories. Files from Box with folder directory paths exceeding the 400 character count will be truncated where possible by the SkySync migration tool to accommodate this limitation. Items that cannot be revised will be displayed in post-migration error logs.
  • Uploader and Preview Uploader Permission Levels: To ensure that data migrated from Box to OneDrive remains accessible only to those with whom you intend to share it, two Box permission levels―Uploader or Preview Uploader―will no longer be available effective Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. After this date, existing collaborators will no longer have access to existing folders that used those permission levels, and the permission levels will not be available to apply to new folders. Learn more ...
  • Box Comments and Tasks: Comments and tasks added to your Box files will not be transferred to OneDrive.
  • Box Notes: If you have Box Notes, they will be converted to Word documents and copied to OneDrive.
  • Collaborative Folders Owned by Others: Only folders for which you are the owner in Box will be copied to your OneDrive account. If someone else is the owner of a Box folder, it will not be visible in your OneDrive account until the owner has also been migrated to OneDrive. Until that time, you can access the owner’s folder through Box.
  • External Sharing Permissions: If you shared Box files with individuals outside Pitt, you will need to recreate those external sharing permissions after the migration. More information to come. 
  • File Versions: Only the current version of your Box files is copied to OneDrive. If you wish to save previous versions of your Box files, download them from Box before the migration and save them locally or upload them to OneDrive.
  • Folder Settings: Custom folder settings— including passwords, custom URLs, and uploads to folders via email—cannot be copied to OneDrive.
  • Shared Links: Shared Links to files and folders cannot be copied and will need to be recreated in OneDrive.