Tag: OneDrive for Business

One Drive for Business – what’s using my space?

One Drive for Business is a great feature included in your Microsoft 365 work subscription. There are however some pitfalls which occupy space that you may not be aware of.

The biggest of these is also one of the collaborative features – versioning of Office files.

When you create a file and store it on One Drive for Business you enable versioning by default. So you can update a file and it automatically creates a new version – you don’t need to save it as V1, V2, etc.

The changes are saved using a shredded saving method whereby changes are saved in small files, BUT as far as your quota and space use are concerned, Microsoft count every version as a full copy of the file.

So if you have a 10 MB Word file and have 100 versions of the file then you are deemed to be occupying approximately 1GB of space.

You may not need all those versions but all the time that you keep them they occupy space and that can mean you use up your One Drive space quite quickly.

The following shows you how to check your usage and how to remove unwanted versions of the file(s).


Checking your space.


Log into One Drive for Business and then from the Settings cog wheel (top right near your profile initials or photo) select One Drive Settings.

Accessing OneDrive for Business Site settings
Access OneDrive settings

Choose the More settings option and then look for the Storage Metrics option.

Accessing the settings
List of settings

Your One Drive contains other contents to make the system work, so you’ll need to select “Documents” which is the Documents library where your files are stored.

Viewing the storage metrics for the documents in your OneDrive
OneDrive documents

The Storage metrics view shows you the folders and files with the storage used, working from largest to smallest as you traverse down the list.

Viewing an unexpectedly large file
Finding the large files using your space

Where you see a large file, you can click on the Version History link to check for versions.

Viewing the version history
Viewing the version history

In the example below, my spreadsheet file has over 3,500 versions of a 1.7MB file.  With a default of 500 versions being stored, over 700 MB of space is being used.

Deleting all versions and the warning before completing this step
Using Delete All Versions and the warning message

You can click on the “Delete All Versions” link to remove all except the current version. The deleted versions are moved to the Recycle Bin and you have 90 days to recover these. You can choose to permanently delete these versions from the recycle bin but you should be aware that this is NOT reversible. Once removed from the Recycle Bin you cannot recover them.

Showing the updated file after removing versions
File size reduction after removing versions


Why so many versions?


The default number of versions for One Drive and SharePoint is 500. You can go into your One Drive settings and change the number of versions (N.B. the minimum number of versions that you can store is 100).

To change the number of versions follow the steps from the One Drive Settings menu – choose “Return to old Site settings Menu”

Then choose Site libraries and lists.

Accessing the site libraries and lists settings
Access site libraries and lists settings

Choose the Documents site library.

Choosing which library to customise
Choosing the document library to customise settings

Choose Versioning settings

Finding the Versioning settings
Choosing the Versioning settings

Change the maximum number of versions and click OK.

Showing how to update the number of versions kept
Update the number of versions being kept

Note that the number you set has to be between 100 and 50000!

Error if incorrect number of versions chosen
Choose a valid number of versions to keep

Be very careful about increasing the number – you will potentially use up ever more space.

If you have files where the number of versions exceeds your current setting then when you next save a file with more versions, the system will automatically reduce the number of versions to the maximum number that you have set.

M365 Updates for April and May 2024

A number of updates and changes have been published by Microsoft over the recent weeks. This blog post provides brief details about the ones that are most impactful for members of Imperial’s community.


Calendar Notifications in Teams Activity Feed

You can now get the Calendar Notifications in Teams from the Activity Feed. 

You will get calendar notifications in the Activity Feed for the following scenarios:

Meeting invite (including channel meetings you are explicitly invited to)
Meeting updates
Meeting cancellations
Meeting forwards (as an organizer)

When you get a calendar notification, you will see an unread notification in the Activity Feed pane or at the bell icon.

When you click on a notification, you will see the details of the meeting / event in the right pane.

Tags in Teams Private Channels

If you use tags within a team to associate groups of users, you can now use these tags for @ mentions inside Private channels.


Changes to the Website Tab in Teams

Microsoft Teams will be retiring the ability to load websites inside the new Teams client when using the Website tab. These website links will open in a new browser tab instead. This is to better align with emerging best practices in web security and privacy while also improving the reliability of websites opened through this feature.

Education tenants will be subject to this change but not before July 2024.

At the current time you are urged to plan for this forthcoming change which may not take effect until after summer 2024.


More videos visible in Teams meetings in Chrome and Edge

Microsoft Teams Meetings currently supports a maximum of 4 videos (2×2) on the screen by default (i.e., Gallery view) on web browsers.

With this update, users will be able to automatically see up to 9 videos (3×3) on Chrome and Edge on their screen by default without any additional explicit action.


Emojis, Gifs and Stickers in one unified “picker”

Users can soon find all of their emojis, GIFs, and stickers in a combined picker in Microsoft Teams.  This simplifies the experience and will be available by early May 2024 at the latest.


Hide the “general” channel in Teams

Similar to other channels in a team, now you will be able to hide general channels as well!  As a team member, when you become a part of a team, you see general channel always shown in your teams and channels list.  From April 2024 you will have the option to hide this channel from the list of channels that you see in your default Teams view.


Intelligent recap on iOS and Android

For users with a Teams Premium License (https://blogs.imperial.ac.uk/office365/2024/04/29/microsoft-teams-premium-licenses/) Intelligent recap is now available in iOS and Android versions of Teams.  Meetings recorded or transcribed and where the organiser has a Teams Premium license will now be delivered with the AI generated meeting notes and actions in the same way as when recorded from a desktop device.


Planner App in Teams

The new Planner App is now available for use in Microsoft Teams.  Previously known as “Tasks by To-Do and Planner”, the new Planner App builds on the new releases of functionality in Planner and the new Planner Premium features.

Microsoft assure us that Planner Premium licenses will be available for Education tenants such as ours to purchase in due course.  If you wish to use Planner Premium features immediately then you should contact the Service Desk to purchase a Microsoft Project Plan 3 (Project Pro) license as this enables Planner Premium features today.

The new Planner was made generally available in mid April 2024 and more information about the released features and forthcoming features can be found at Microsoft’s announcement (The new Microsoft Planner begins roll out to General Availability – Page 2 – Microsoft Community Hub).  The new Planner is available within Imperial’s Microsoft 365 tenant.

Recordings and where they save on OneDrive

Teams meeting recordings will be saved into the Organiser’s OneDrive for Business instead of the person who initiated the recording. Microsoft is making this change for governance and compliance purposes and to ensure a simple and understandable policy for where the recording is stored.

The change will be made by the end of May 2024.  After that time all Teams meeting recordings will be stored in the OneDrive for Business of the account that organises the meeting.

Shorter Teams Meeting URLs

Microsoft are changing the format of the URLs for Teams meetings, removing some information and thus reducing the length of the URL.  This will make it easier to copy and paste meeting URLs into meetings or chats for quick access.

The change will be rolled out between mid May and late June 2024.

Teams for Web – Safari and Firefox

Up until April 2024 New Teams has only worked in the Chrome and Edge web browsers on Windows, macOS and Linux.  

With immediate effect, New Teams for Web on Firefox is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. New Teams for Web on Safari is now available now on macOS


Media node in OneDrive for Business

Microsoft will be adding a Media node to the left navigation bar of Microsoft OneDrive for web that will allow customers to easily find all the photo and video content stored in their OneDrive in a single view.

When an end user navigates to the Media node, they will see a view of all the photo and video content stored within their OneDrive. 

This content will be sorted by the date the content was created.  The files shown in this view are the same files stored in the user’s OneDrive and the Media node does not create separate copies of the content.

End users will be able to perform actions on the media content in this view such as Share, Download, or Delete. These actions will behave the same way in the Media node as they do in the My Files node.

Screenshot showing the new media node in OneDrive
Media node in OneDrive

This feature should be visible by mid May 2024.


Loop components in OneNote

You can create or insert Loop components into your Microsoft OneNote notebook.

Screenshot showing a Loop component within OneNote for the Web
Loop component in OneNote for Web

With Loop components in OneNote, users can:

  • Enhance Collaboration
  • Bringing unstructured, collaborative content from Loop components in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook into OneNote notebooks, fostering real-time collaboration and sharing.
  • Improve Productivity: Quickly augment and recall collaborative notes within the familiar workflow of OneNote, enabling tasks to be completed more efficiently.
Screenshot showing how to insert loop components into OneNote for Web
How to Insert Loop components into OneNote for Web

Additional information:

You can find out more about Loop at Microsoft’s Loop introduction pages (Get started with Microsoft Loop – Microsoft Support)


Whiteboard – using @mentions in comments

When using Microsoft Whiteboard, users will be able to @mention other users within their tenant inside of a comment.

The flow will look and feel similar to other Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

The user will type an @ symbol followed by the name of the user they would like to @mention in the text of a comment.

If the @mentioned user is not actively using Whiteboard then they will be sent a notification via email and via the Microsoft Outlook notification bell.  Inside of Whiteboard, the @mentioned user will see a blue @mention badge on the comment in which they are mentioned.

Additional things to note:

Users will be shown a teaching callout within Whiteboard to inform them of the new @mention feature.
Similar to the blue @mention badge, users will see a new red badge on comments that will display the number of replies in that comment thread that they have yet to read.

This feature is planned to be available by late May 2024.

One Drive for Business – Basics

One Drive for Business (ODfB) is the personal storage area assigned to each user as part of their Office 365 license.

One Drive for Business is delivered as a “personal SharePoint site”.  You get all the great SharePoint features such as collaboration and co-authoring if you choose to share a file (see below for some guidance), but it is a personal site.

If you look at the address for your One Drive for Business, you’ll see that it has “-my” after the tenant name but that it sits on SharePoint, and the address also contains your User Principle Name (but with the @ and . characters replaced with _).


Within Imperial College London, every user gets an initial quota of 5 Terra Bytes (5TB) of storage space.  If you manage to fill that (and there’s no competition to try!), then we can extend your quota further should you need it.  We can only do that once your One Drive for Business is consistently using more than 90% (4.5TB) of the quota.

OK – so how much is 5TB really?

85,000 CD quality MP3 tracks – roughly equivalent to 1,000,000 hours of listening, which is about 114 years of back to back listening.


1.5 million photos


2,500 DVD quality movies


File Versioning

OneDrive for Business and SharePoint both support automatic file versioning.  So you don’t have to add version numbers onto documents any more, nor do you have to remember where you are up to.

When you open a file from your ODfB the default is to open the current version.

You can see all the versions of a file by clicking on the vertical dots to the right of the file name (when you hover over the file in the browser) and then choosing Version History.

Screenshot showing how to find version history for a file on OneDrive for Business

Screenshot showing how to access version history.

Once you have the version history open you can choose to delete a version or restore an earlier version.  Alternatively you can open a version so that you can compare it against the current version.
Note – you can only Open the current version (you can’t restore it because it is the most up to date version and you can’t delete the current version).

Screenshot showing version history for a file

Screenshot showing version history for a file.

Screenshot showing options for a file version

Screenshot showing actions that can be carried out on a version of a file.

Recycle Bin

You can delete a file or version of a file and then restore it for yourself.

This works for 90 days, after which you will need to ask ICT for assistance, up to 180 days.

If you deleted it more than 180 days ago, then it’s gone for good.

Use the Recycle Bin link in the navigation bar on the left side of your ODfB to see the files and folders that you deleted.

Screenshot of recycle bin

How to access the Recycle Bin in One Drive for Business.

Select a file or version of a file to then be able to restore the file.

Screenshot showing how to restore a file or file version from the recycle bin

Screenshot showing how to restore a file or file version from the recycle bin



Do NOT share files with large numbers of people or for long term sharing.  Use a SharePoint site for long term group access or sharing.

Sharing from your One Drive for Business is designed for short-term, small-scale collaboration.  It is NOT designed for you to deliver long term access or to run a group or department file share.

N.B. If you have shared files and are leaving College then you need to give those files to someone else – when you leave College your license to access Microsoft 365 will be revoked and your personal One Drive for Business data will be deleted automatically.

Imperial College London do NOT allow “anyone” sharing.  Anonymous links are dangerous and can lead to serious GDPR data breaches.


Screenshot showing how to start sharing wizard

Screenshot showing how to start sharing wizard


The sharing controls

The sharing controls


Advanced sharing controls

Advanced sharing controls

You can share directly with people, either by selecting them from the internal directory, or with external people by entering their email address or institution UPN.

Screenshot showing how to add people to sharing

Screenshot showing how to add people to sharing

When you choose to share you can control what level of access is provided (Edit, Review or Read).

Sharing access levels

Sharing access levels


Sharing access levels - main sharing dialogue box

Sharing access levels


You can also see what you have shared by using the Shared link in the left navigation bar in ODfB.  You can then choose between the files that have been “Shared with you” (i.e. shared by others for you to read, review or edit) or “Shared by you” (your files which you have shared).

Screenshot showing shared files

Screenshot showing shared files


You can control the access at any time.  Select the file or folder and then click on the menu and choose “manage access”.  You can stop all access by clicking on the “Stop sharing” option at the top, or you can change the access for individuals who no longer need access.


Access to manage access

Access to manage access


Managing access

Managing access


What’s a UPN?

Your UPN is your User Principle Name.  At imperial we use username followed by the domain (which means it is different from our primary email address).  Other institutions may well also have a UPN which is different to the primary email address.

If you are sharing with others then ask them if they have a Microsoft 365 UPN (i.e. do they login with something other than their primary email address).

UPNs are also used when adding people to Microsoft 365 groups to ensure that the user is correctly authenticated and access is granted appropriately.

If you are being added to a group (Team or email group) at another institution, make sure that you have given them your UPN for seamless access.

OneDrive for Mac OS – Big Changes Happening NOW – February 2022

What is happening and why?


Apple is changing the technology that they use within their operating systems and as such Microsoft, along with all other cloud storage providers have to update their sync clients.

This means that the OneDrive sync client is going to change for Apple users, and has already started to for some.

For a while it means that there will be multiple versions in use depending on the version of the Apple OS that you are using.

ICT encourages you to update to the latest ICT supported version for your hardware at your earliest convenience to ensure that your system remains up to date with security and functionality patches and fixes.

The main change that you will see comes to the feature known as “files on demand”.

This is NOT a new feature, but the implementation and use is changing.


Who is affected?


Initially the changes apply to those with macOS 12 (Monterey).  If you use macOS 11 (Big Sur) or earlier then this doesn’t affect you.


The current version of Monterey (v12.2) is the last that will support the old technology.  The new Files on Demand feature is available for all versions of Monterey from 12.1 upwards.


What happens?


When you update your macOS to v12.2 or 12.3 your OneDrive sync client will also be updated automatically.


You will no longer be able to choose whether to turn on Files on Demand – it is mandated and will be on from the point of upgrade.  There is NO option to turn off Files on Demand.


How does Files on Demand work?


Instead of downloading the whole content of your OneDrive onto the local hard drive, or having to choose which folders and files you sync locally, the client creates what are called Symlinks.  Essentially these are like bookmarks or empty entries for the files and folders.


When you browse your local version of OneDrive the files and folders appear to reside ont he local disk, but in fact they are just pointers to the cloud stored versions.


When you open a file the OneDrive sync client kicks in and in the background it downloads a local copy.  Then it looks for changes to the file and sycns those changes as they happen.


This optimises disk space and is very useful for those with smaller storage devices – Solid State Drives (SSDs) are typically 1/4 of the size of traditional spinning disks but are used widely because they are much faster and provide much better performance and long term stability.


In Finder you will have the option to select a file or folder and then “Always Keep on this Device” or “Free up Space”.


  • If you choose to “Always Keep on this Device” then a copy will be stored locally and synced between the cloud storage space and your local drive.


  • If you have a local copy but need to free up space then choose the “Free up Space” option to return a file or folder to just being stored on the cloud and release back the local storage on the machine that you are using.

Screenshot of new OneDrive syunc client and notification of changes


What to do next?


If you are thinking about upgrading your Mac then use the following as a set of sensible precautions.

  • Update to macOS v12.3 at some idle or downtime. Don’t do it in the middle of an important job, just in case there’s a problem.
  • Update with a stable Internet connection.
  • Ideally do the macOS update at the end of the day and leave your Mac on overnight to give OneDrive a chance to update all the files and settings.
  • Backup before switching. Happily there’s already one or two backups in place.
    • OneDrive saves all deleted and changed files for 30 days.
    • Apple TimeMachine, if enabled, also has a copy of current and past files.
    • If you wanted to be very sure, make a separate copy of all your files, especially those in OneDrive storage.




Before you go complaining about Microsoft, this change is being forced on Microsoft and other cloud storage providers by Apple.

If you want more details then Microsoft have written a blog post about this and include answers to many questions.  I’m not going to duplicate what they have done elsewhere!

Office 365 Training – New Dates for 2021 / 22

Flipped open silhouette of a head with Office 365 app icons


New sessions are now bookable for the following Office 365 courses.


Getting Started with Office 365

This course covers the basics of Office 365 to help you get started and be confident using One Drive for Business, Office Online and to work with colleagues on shared documents.

Running at 10am on the following dates:

6 December 2021
5 January 2022
3 February 2022
1 March 2022
7 April 2022
3 May 2022
8 June 2022
4 July 2022

Click here to book.

Collaborating with Microsoft Teams

Do you want to know how to do more with Microsoft Teams, collaborating with your colleagues, working in a single multifaceted workspace?  Come and find out how to do more with Microsoft Teams.

Running on the following dates (usually at 2pm):

6 December 2021
5 January 2022
3 February 2022
3 March 2022 (10am)
7 April 2022
5 May 2022 (10am)
8 June 2022
4 July 2022

Click here to book.


Join the OneNote training to find out how you can replace the paper notebooks, search for content and use the “swiss army knife” app that is included in your Office 365 subscription.  In addition to looking at personal Notebooks, the course touches on the use of Class and Staff notebooks for teaching and management purposes.

Spaces are available on the following dates:

9 December 2021
13 January 2022
15 February 2022

Book a place here.

Power Automate

This introductory course will help you get started with Power Automate – understanding the basics and how to build automation for personal productivity.  Automation can help with saving time and reducing errors by removing the human element from repetitive task processing.  Build it once, reuse the process time and time again in a repeatable method.

Courses are running on the following dates:

11 January 2022
11 April 2022
14 July 2022

Book a place here.


Available on demand most Tuesdays from 2.45pm.

Learn about the new Webinar feature in Teams and attend the training so that you can then request the Webinar feature for your account.

Book a session here.


Microsoft 365 Training

Flipped open silhouette of a head with Office 365 app icons


New Microsoft 365 Training Dates have been scheduled for August, September and October 2021.


Getting Started with Office 365

Scheduled to run on 23rd August, 29th September and 21st October at 10.00.

This covers the basics of Office 365, including Logging In, OneDrive for Business, how to upload and share files and how to move away from using your H: drive, along with basic file co-authoring.

Book your place here.


Collaborating with Microsoft Teams

Using Microsoft Teams?

Want to know more about how to make your team more collaborative and keep everyone in your team “in the know”?

Why not join one of the sessions running at 14.00 hrs on 23rd August, 29th September or 21st October to find out more about working together.

Book your place here.


Microsoft OneNote – “Imperial as One presents OneNote Training with Adrian”

Open sessions for training on OneNote hosted by Imperial as One.

Sessions running at 10.00 hrs on 24th August 2021 and 23rd September 2021

Book a place here.


NEW – Power Automate in Microsoft 365 – NEW

Do you do repetitive tasks with information?

Would you like to automate what you do and ensure that the data is processed in the same way every time?

Do you collect information using Microsoft Forms and then need to do something more with the information?

Join this 2 hour session on 20th October where we will begin to explore Power Automate and how you can use it for automation of data processing … We’ll look at taking data captured by a form and adding it to a table in Excel, and a list in SharePoint.  We’ll also look at functions such as automating posts into MS Teams, and using “Approvals” in workflows.

Book your place here.  Places are limited to 25 initially – subject to initial feedback we hope to run this course again with a larger number of participants later in 2021.