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Box Migration Project: Frequently Asked Questions

Please check back often for new questions and answers. You can also learn more at Stanford’s Migration Project

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About the project

Q. Why is Stanford University Box going away?
A. Box has changed its contractual offering which has dramatically increased the cost to Stanford for using the service. Stanford offers other file-sharing solutions that provide similar capabilities as Box (e.g., Google Drive, Google Shared drives, Microsoft OneDrive) with the added benefit of integrating with productivity tools already used by the university.
Q. Who is affected by the transition away from Stanford University Box?
A. The transition affects everyone in the Stanford community who uses Stanford University Box, including students, faculty, and staff. This project does not currently impact Stanford Medicine Box content. Stanford Medicine has a parallel project underway, and UIT is working with that project team to align efforts.
Q. When is Stanford University Box going away?
A. Stanford University Box will no longer be available on December 1, 2022. You must have moved the files you want to retain to another location by that date. The project will complete in February 2023.

General things you should know

Q. Where does UIT recommend that I move my Box files?
A. Google Drive and Google Shared drives are the preferred alternatives to Box. Microsoft OneDrive is also available. Both platforms support file sharing: in Google Drive and OneDrive, files and folders are owned by the individual; in Google Shared drives, files and folders can be owned by multiple users or groups. To help you determine the solution that best meets your needs, see Transitioning from Box: Feature Comparison.
Q. How and when does UIT recommend that I move my files?

A. Your files can be moved automatically by UIT or manually by you. UIT recommends that you use the automated process, particularly if you have lots of content and/or a complex file structure because the automated process preserves the file structure and sharing permissions.

The UIT Box Migration team will help you move your files and folders using automated tools that copy your data to your Google Drive (My Drive and Shared drives) or OneDrive account. Migrations using these tools are scheduled centrally by UIT in coordination with our IT partners in schools and departments starting February 2022. You will be notified several weeks in advance before any automated move.

Alternatively, you can manually move files you want to retain before your migration. Doing so allows you to fully control the files you keep, to reorganize those files, and to update the sharing of those files in their new location. See Can I move files manually? below.

Q. Does this change affect my current Box workgroup folders?
A. Yes, Box workgroup folders will also be moved out of Box as part of the migration. Workgroup folders will be moved to Google Shared Drives. UIT will contact workgroup administrators before workgroup folder content is migrated and will provide instructions on any pre-migration setup that must be completed to maintain workgroup linkages.
Q. What alternatives to Stanford University Box for workgroups exist?
A. Since May 2020, you can no longer create new Stanford University Box accounts for workgroups. You can store content in a Google Shared drive and use Google Groups for workgroups to manage access to content in that drive using Workgroup Manager. Learn how to use workgroup integration to create a Google Shared drive.
Q. Can I move files manually?
A. Yes, you can manually move files yourself at any time by downloading files and folders from Box and uploading them to Google Drive or OneDrive. Note that moving files in this way will not preserve sharing permissions, so you will need to reshare files once you have moved them. Remember to delete anything that you have moved from Box once you’re done.
Q. Can anyone search for files migrated to Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive?
A. The visibility of files in Google Drive search depends on how those files are shared. For example, if a file is not shared it will only be visible to you, the owner of the file. If a file is shared with everyone at Stanford, anyone at Stanford will be able to find it in a search. In OneDrive, you will only be able to search for files that are owned by or shared directly with you.
Q. How do I know when my Box files will be migrated automatically?
A. When it’s time for your migration, you’ll receive a series of email communications:
  • Three weeks before: Notification of your migration date
  • One week before: Reminder from the Box Migration team
  • Day before: Final reminder from the Box Migration team
  • Days following migration: Migration is complete notification from the Box Migration team.
Q. What if I don't use Stanford Box?
A. To avoid unwanted data loss, migrations will be completed for everyone with a Stanford Box account. If you do not own any content in Stanford Box, you will still see a folder created in your Google My Drive named “BoxMigration” during your group’s migration, but the folder will be empty. Once you receive an email confirming that the migration is complete, you may delete that empty folder.
Q. Will Box content that was shared with me from a person outside of Stanford be migrated?
A. Box content shared with you by an external collaborator cannot be migrated and will not show up in Google Drive or OneDrive. You’ll need to ask your external collaborator to add you to their Box folder as an external collaborator so that you can continue to access the files.

About the migration

The automated migration process

Q. What type of data will be automatically migrated from Box?
A. The majority of data types/formats will be migrated from Box (including zip files). If a data type is not supported in the destination system and the file fails to migrate, you will be notified by the project team or your IT support team during the migration.
Q. Will Microsoft documents migrated to Google Drive preserve their original content type (e.g., .doc, .xls, .ppt) or be changed to Google file formats (e.g., Docs, Sheets, Slides)?
A. Microsoft documents migrated to Google Drive will preserve their original content type (e.g., .doc, .xls, .ppt).
Q. Will the automated migration tool move files of any size?
A. Yes, since the maximum file size for both Google Drive and OneDrive files is greater than the Box limit, files of any size in Box should migrate without issue.
Q. Are there any types of files the automated migration tools cannot move?
A. For migrations to Google Drive, the automated tool does NOT migrate:
  • folders with more than 10,000 items; you should split the content of any folders with more than 10,000 items prior to the automated migration
  • files with file types not supported by Google Drive are not migrated in their native form; however, the automated tool will zip those files and copy that Zip file to the new location
For migrations to OneDrive, there are no limits on file type or the number of folder items. However, only up to 1.5 TB of content can be moved with each migration.
Q. Will content appear in the same hierarchy when migrated to its new location?
A. Yes, content will appear in the same hierarchy when migrated to its new location using the automated tools.
Q. Will the automated migration tool migrate file versions?

A. In Google Drive and Google Shared drives, all versions of a file will be migrated automatically.

In Microsoft OneDrive, you must manually move any file versions you want to retain. To do this: Open in Box the file for which you want to retain older versions.

  1. Select Version History.
  2. Download the version(s) of the file you want to keep.
  3. Move the file versions to the locations where you want to store them.
Q. Will the automated migration tool migrate file comments?
A. No. If you want to retain file comments and notes, you must copy them into a Google or Word doc and move them manually.
Q. Will the automated migration tool update hyperlinks in my migrated files?
A. No. If your Box files include hyperlinks to other Box files, you will need to update those links manually with a link to the new file location. Additionally, any links to a Box document outside of Box (e.g., from a webpage) will need to be manually updated to reflect the file’s new location. See Update External Sharing Links Before Your Box Migration.

Before the migration

Q. How do I prepare for migration?
A. You can take steps now — as outlined on the Before You Migrate webpage. — to ensure your migration is smooth. Those include:
  • ridding your Box accounts of files you don’t want anymore and organizing the files you do want to keep
  • familiarizing yourself with alternative solutions
  • updating file sharing settings and shared links
  • deleting any files or folders you move manually
Q. Can I opt out of automated migration for my Box files?
A. No. Your content will be included in a scheduled automated migration unless you manually move it beforehand. It is not possible to opt out of migrations.

During the migration

Q. How long does migration take?
A. UIT will migrate groups of users at the same time (e.g. all users in a department). How long your migration takes will depend upon how much data each group has in Box. We expect most migrations to take about two weeks. You will receive an email notification when your migration is complete.
Q. Can I access my Box content while the automated migration tool is migrating files?

A. You will be able to access your Box content, but we suggest that you make as few changes to files or folders as possible during the migration process.

The automated migration tool will do a final sync between Box and Google Drive (or Microsoft OneDrive) when completing the migration. This will capture changes made in Box since the migration began. Any changes made to Box content after the final sync will not be copied to Google Drive (or Microsoft OneDrive).

Q. Can I access content in Google Drive/Microsoft OneDrive during migration?
A. You will be able to access your Google Drive/Microsoft OneDrive content, but please avoid making changes to the content that is being migrated from Box. You may continue to access and modify content already stored in Google Drive/Microsoft OneDrive that is not related to the content being migrated from Box.
Q. Will I get a notification that the migration is taking place?
A. You will be notified the day before the migration begins, and the day the migration completes. On the day of the migration, there are typically NO notifications that the migration is beginning or in progress.

After the migration

Q. What should I do when the automated migration is completed?
A. You should perform these tasks once the automated migration is completed. More details are available at During and After Your Migration.
  • Locate the files in your Google Drive/OneDrive account and confirm your data looks as expected. Should you experience issues accessing your files or folders after migration, contact your local IT support team.
  • Check permissions were preserved for Stanford collaborators, and re-establish permissions for external collaborators.
  • Move files that belong to a team to a Shared drive.
  • Notify internal collaborators that your migration is complete.
  • Update any website links, as needed.
Q. How will I know when the automated migration is completed?
A. You will receive an email from the UIT Box Migration team when your files and folders have been moved.
Q. How do I verify all my data has moved?

A. The project team will have access to detailed reporting that shows how much data exists in the Box location and new destination, and identifies any content that failed to migrate. You will be notified if some of your data could not be moved.

Once the migration is complete, you may also conduct a review of your content in Google Drive/OneDrive to verify that all expected content has moved.

Q. Can I access and edit content (e.g., change, move, rename, delete files or change permissions) in Box after the automated migration?

A. Once the migration is complete, you will be able to access and edit your own content in Box for two more weeks. However, you should begin working in Google Drive or OneDrive as soon as the migration is complete, rather than in Box. Take this time to update any links to Box content in web pages, documents, or other content-sharing platforms. Additionally, inform collaborators that you’re working in Google Drive or OneDrive, and provide them with access/links to your files as needed.

Approximately two weeks after the migration is complete, your content will be moved to Box Trash. This will make the content inaccessible – anyone navigating to the content via a link will see a message saying that the file/folder link has been removed or is unavailable. (More information can be found below).

You will have the option to recover content from Box Trash for 90 days after your migration. After 90 days, it will be permanently deleted.

Your Box account will remain accessible after your migration. This will allow you to collaborate on files owned by other Box users until those users also have their content migrated out of Box. Once you or a collaborator have migrated, you are encouraged to collaborate in Google Drive or OneDrive wherever possible.

Q. Can I restore content moved to Box Trash?

A. Yes, content in Box Trash can be restored through the Box UI, if needed. Items with a shared link that are restored from trash maintain their original link.

If you need to restore content from Trash after a migration, please delete the content again once you no longer need it. For more information, see Manage Trash.

Q. After migration, where will I find my folders and files?
A. Your data will be moved into a new folder on Google Drive, Google Shared drives, or Microsoft OneDrive. In Google Drive (My Drive) or OneDrive, your data will be moved to a folder named “Box Migration”. Workgroup-owned content will be moved to a Google Shared drive; the Shared drive will have the same name as the workgroup.
Q. Will I need to inform collaborators when my files are migrated?
A. Yes. Although permissions will be migrated (in most cases) and collaborators will have access to content in its new location, collaborators will not receive notifications that the content has moved, nor will they receive re-shared links to the content.
Q. Will I be notified when files that I have access to but do not own are migrated?
A. No. Although permissions will be migrated (in most cases) and collaborators will have access to content in its new location, collaborators will not receive notifications that the content has moved, nor will they receive re-shared links to the content.
Q. Will all files and folders that I see in my Stanford Box account be copied over to Google Drive/OneDrive?

A. Only the files and folders that you own will be moved. This includes materials authored by others that you own. If you are listed as a “co-owner”, “editor” or other permission on a file/folder, then someone else is the owner, and it will not be migrated along with the files that you own.

If there are files or folders that you expected to see in Google Drive or One Drive that are not there, it may be because they are owned by someone else who has not yet migrated. Once the owner moves to Google Drive or OneDrive their shared files will be available to you in the new location.

Contents owned by a workgroup account (an account owned by a team or department) will be migrated to a Google Shared drive.

Q. Will Box folders with no content still migrate?
A. Yes, folders with no content will still migrate to Google Drive.
Q. Will my files/folders be automatically shared with the same people in Google or One Drive?

A. Your shared files and folders will be automatically re-shared with all Stanford University collaborators after migrations. (Note: no email notifications re-sharing migrated content will be sent to collaborators).

However, you may need to re-share your content with those outside Stanford once your files are moved. Also, existing shared Box links will need to be recreated in Google Drive.

Q. How are files linked from Box to other software (Confluence, Knowledge Base, Smartsheet, etc.) impacted?
A. These files should not be impacted. If a document in Box contains links to content outside of Box, those links should continue to work after the migration.
Q. How will permissions be carried over from Stanford Box to Google My Drive, Shared Drives, and Microsoft OneDrive?
A. Some Box permissions — such as Editor and Viewer — have equivalents in Google Drive and OneDrive, so these permissions are matched when files and folder are migrated from Box to the new platform. However, some Box permissions do not have an exact match in Google Drive or OneDrive. For more details, see Permissions after migration.
Q. Will pending permissions be the same after the migration?
A. Pending collaborations will not be migrated. Only users who have accepted invitations to collaborate on Box content will see permissions carried over to Google or OneDrive.
Q. The Last Modified timestamp for a file in Google doesn't match the Updated timestamp for the same file in Box — why?
A. Box displays four timestamps for each file operation:
  • Created: The timestamp when the file was created. This timestamp display does not change if you save or modify this file.
  • Modified: The timestamp when the contents of a file were last modified.
  • Uploaded: The timestamp when the file was uploaded to Box. This timestamp display changes for each uploaded version.
  • Updated: The timestamp when the file was last changed in Box (Modified or Uploaded).

In the file/folder view in the Box web UI, the Updated timestamp is displayed. In the file/folder view in the Google web UI, the Last Modified timestamp is displayed. The Last Modified timestamp in Google maps to the Modified timestamp in Box, not the Updated timestamp. 

Since, in Box, the Updated timestamp and the Modified timestamp are not always the same, this may result in the Last Modified timestamp in Google being different from the Updated timestamp for a file or folder in Box.

Training and more information

Q. Are there any live training opportunities that can help me transition away from Box?
A.  Yes. UIT’s Technology Training provides a class specifically about moving from Box to Google Drive. The sessions, which are offered at no cost to those who are migrating content out of Box, are offered on:
  • Thursday, April 7, 2022, 10 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.

Learn more and register for a training sessionMore classes may be offered based on demand.

Q. Are there additional training resources for Google Drive, Google Shared drives, and Microsoft OneDrive?
A. Check out these resources for more information.

Google Drive

Google Shared drives

Microsoft OneDrive

Last modified May 24, 2022