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Box Transition: What To Expect

Welcome to the Box Transition Overview web page. Here you will find information on what to expect and the steps to take before, during, and after the move to Microsoft's file-sharing applications, OneDrive and SharePoint.

Why the Move?

Box has changed its licensing structure and is no longer providing unlimited storage, which comes at considerable additional cost to the University. Northwestern plans to extend its Box contract by one year through August 2022 and move to Microsoft cloud-storage platforms OneDrive and SharePoint. Moving to OneDrive and SharePoint leverages the University’s strategic partnership with Microsoft to provide many of the same capabilities as Box while also enabling seamless integration with other powerful Microsoft 365 collaboration tools like Teams.

About the Move

Box files will be relocated to either OneDrive or SharePoint depending on whether your Box files are in an individual account or an Organizational account.

Individual accounts in Box are defined as files and folders in Box where you are an owner or co-owner of the content. Files and folders in this type of Box account will move to OneDrive.

Box Organizational accounts are typically named for the organization and follow a pattern like "ORG-SCHOOL-[school name]-[department name]," and the email address in Box is listed as having an Files and folders in this type of Box account will move to SharePoint. 

What Can I Expect?

The University’s transition from Box is a multi-year project. Northwestern IT is partnering with schools and business units to plan a migration approach and schedule. When your migration window is established, you will be notified in advance and receive multiple email notifications informing you of your migration date, what you need to do to prepare, and what support options are available. See below for the anticipated messaging timeline.

Pre-Migration Communication

  • Introduction—Message from school or unit leader
  • Two Weeks Before—Message from Northwestern IT
  • One Week Before—Reminder from Northwestern IT
  • Migration Day—Final reminder from Northwestern IT

Post-Migration Communication

  • Days Following Migration—Migration is complete notification from Northwestern IT (if any file errors occur, users will be notified)
  • Two Weeks After Migration—Reminder that individual Box account content is set to read-only, and no longer viewable in two weeks
  • Four Weeks After Migration—Final reminder that Box account content is set to read-only, and no longer viewable

Explore OneDrive and SharePoint

We encourage you to learn about the benefits of using Microsoft's OneDrive and SharePoint and what these collaborative cloud services can do for you. Users can register to attend a webinar to learn more about OneDrive and SharePoint. View the dates and registration information.

Support Resources

If you experience issues accessing your files or folders after the move to OneDrive and SharePoint, please contact your school or department IT support.

Students, faculty, staff, and affiliates not supported directly by a school or department should contact the IT Service Desk at or 847-491-4357 (1-HELP).