SharePoint & OneDrive Migration FAQs

SharePoint and OneDrive share many similarities in both migration preparation and execution, but there are some special cases and limitations for both. The following article lays these out and offers solutions where applicable.

Limitations of SharePoint Online & OneDrive for Business Migrations

OneDrive and SharePoint have several limitations which may cause migration challenges. Review the following carefully before beginning your migration and add in any of the Advanced Options necessary to support your migration.

File path limitation

SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business have a 400 character limit that applies to file paths and file names. Character limits might not be enforced in other document storage services, like Google Drive or Dropbox. When migrating from one of those platforms to SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business, you might need to shrink file paths and file names. Use the "ShrinkFoldersMaxLength=200" advanced option to shrink the name length.

To increase the length limits, use the MigrationWiz Advanced Option IncreasePathLengthLimit=1.
Note that not every Office 365 tenant has been updated to support the increase in the number of file path name characters. However, when you include IncreasePathLengthLimit=1 in your project, you may prevent this error from occurring. Then, if it is available in your tenant, MigrationWiz will make use of the 400-character limit.

File and folder name extension limitation

There is a list of file extensions that are not allowed to be created inside of SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

Read the following articles for more information:

The list currently contains: .ashx, .asmx, .json, .soap, .svc and .xamlx as blocked by default when working with the SharePoint server.  There are currently no file type limitations for SharePoint Online. In addition, folder names may not end with any of the following strings: .files, _files, -Dateien, _fichiers, _bestanden, _file, _archivos, -filer, _tiedostot, _pliki, _soubory, _elemei, _ficheiros, _arquivos, _dosyalar, _datoteke, _fitxers, _failid, _fails, _bylos, _fajlovi, _fitxategiak

This may be changed at any time by Microsoft.

Additionally, an administrator may add other extensions to this list.

File created inside shared folders limitation

If you plan to migrate from Google Drive, there may be a scenario where a user creates a folder and shares it with another user. The other user then creates a file within that shared folder. Use the "moderate migration mode" to migrate those files, as described in the Google Drive to OneDrive for Business Migration Guide. 

Multiple files with the same name limitation

Some environments, such as Google Drive, allow the user to create multiple files of the same name in the same folder. This is not supported by OneDrive for Business. Use the RenameConflictingFiles=1 advanced option.

Auto-shrink the folder path before migration

When migrating to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online, the path length limitation is a common issue. OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online have several limitations:
  • A given element (file or folder) cannot be more than 128 characters.
  • A total file path including full path + the file name cannot be more than 260 characters.
  • All of the characters have to be URL encoded, so many characters will actually count as three (3) characters. Therefore, often the limit can be reached faster than expected.
If encountering errors with "Request URL Too Long" or other issues related to folder names or file paths being too long, enable the Advanced Option ShrinkFoldersMaxLength=n where n is the maximum path length that can be tolerated before shrinking.

How does this Advanced Option work?

This option compresses a folder name by truncating the longest path elements iteratively, until matching the ShrinkFoldersMaxLength requirement. It truncates once it reaches ten (10) characters to try to keep some meaning in the folder name.

This option also truncates a folder path element when it is longer than 100 characters (OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online). Even though the limit is 128, we have to keep a few characters free for special character + filename conflict management.

This option truncates files to 100 characters, for the same reason explained above, for folders.

This option can be used in conjunction with the Advanced Option "RenameConflictingFiles", which will manage conflicting files after truncation.

Permissions will continue to be resolved properly after the folders and files have been renamed.

If a folder cannot fit the limit even after compression (for example, in the case of too many folder levels), MigrationWiz will report an error at the beginning of the migration.

We recommend that you set this Advanced Option as ShrinkFoldersMaxLength=200
  • This option can be set to a higher or lower value, depending upon what is acceptable to the customer.  The value is dependent upon the following criteria: the file system data, the email address that is a part of the folder path (collection root), and the domain name for permissions, etc. However, using 200 should keep a good security range to manage all edge cases, and it provides a very reasonable limit.
  • This option should be enabled on a case-by-case basis. We recommend that you create a project specifically for when this option is required. Within this project, add the Advanced Option: ShrinkFoldersMaxLength=200 and then move mailboxes that get "path too long" errors into this project. It is not recommended to use it on every mailbox by default, as many mailboxes should be below the limit and being too aggressive may cause truncation, while normal migration may actually succeed.
  • If a former migration has been performed without the option on, then the storage will need to be reset at the Destination, otherwise, both file system structures will appear at the Destination.
  • If a user modifies the Source file system folder structure (for example, by renaming, removing, or creating a new folder) between two passes using this Advanced Option, the dynamic mapping may be totally different and the Destination may have two different file systems represented.
  • If multiple folders are truncated at 10 characters in the same parent folder, they may end up being merged into a single one if the first ten (10) characters are identical.

Microsoft Office Documents Properties Limitation

Microsoft Word document properties in Content Controls are not retained at the destination after migration. References to custom metadata values within a document appear broken after being migrated to the destination document library. This is a Microsoft limitation and can be replicated by copying a basic document to a new document library within the same tenant without the use of MigrationWiz. 

Details and workaround:

Scenario example

The following scenario is a hypothetical scenario to show how this limitation may function. Steps to work around this limitation are in the next section. 

  1. Example: “MyWork.docx”, a document in a source document library called “SourceDL”, contains a custom document property named “Location”. This property can be created by adding a new column in the SharePoint Document Library (Create a column in a list or library). Set the value of location to “Paris” for the “MyWork.docx”.

  2. Open this document in Microsoft Word ( Open->open in app) and add a content control (Insert > Quick Parts> Document Properties) “Location”. Set the value of this property to “Paris”. Insert the content control into the document and the value “Paris” will show up in the document.

  3. Migrate this document from “SourceDL” to “DestinationDL” using MigrationWiz.

  4. Open the document from the destination document library “DestinationDL” in MS Word. The value of the content control will not be shown as “Paris”.

  5. Now change the value of the property by using File>Info>Properties>Location to “London”.

  6. In the text of the document this change to “London” will not be visible. The document content will still point to “Paris”.

  7. Now insert a new content control for the same property (“Location”) into the same document . You will notice that the value reflects accurately as “London”.

  8. To observe this in a developer mode in the Show the Developer tab, turn on Development > Design Mode (“Development” ribbon) in Microsoft Word. You will see that the migrated content control is broken and shown in blue, while the newly inserted content control is shown in yellow color.

  9. This test can be done even without MigrationWiz. Copy the “MyWord.docx” into a new Document Library with the same column “Location” within the same tenant as the source. The same behavior is observed.

  10. Since MigrationWiz does not modify the content when transmitting it from Source to Destination, this is the default behavior of MS Office documents when using content controls and SharePoint.

  11. This behavior is specific to custom SharePoint properties or custom metadata. Default properties like created date, title, author etc. will be preserved.

Workaround

After migrating this kind of document, the broken references to custom document properties can be fixed manually. User needs to update (reinserting will not work) links inside each document through the Microsoft Word UI ("Map the Selected Content Control").

  1. Turn on the Development ribbon in Microsoft Word ( File > Options > Customize Ribbon. Select the Developer check box).

  2. Turn on Design Mode for better clarity. The broken content control will be blue.

  3. Select the broken content control.

  4. Open the XML Mapping Pane (Developer > XML Mapping) and choose “http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/2006/metadata/properties in the dropdown list.

  5. Under the ”Properties > documentManagement” tree find your document property.

  6. Right click on your found property and choose “Map to Selected Content Control“.

Now the selected content control has been fixed and will be yellow.

SP1.png

7. This procedure has to be done for each migrated document with this issue. 

Shared With Me migration issues for OneDrive For Business with Versions and Metadata

To be able to migrate “Shared With Me“ content from Google Drive to OneDrive, the user must select Files+Permissions before beginning the full migration.

SharePoint Migration FAQ

The following section refers to questions commonly raised during a SharePoint migration. 

Verifying administrator access

The Office 365 account that you use to perform a SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business migration must have one of the following Office 365 roles assigned to it:

  • Global Administrator (preferred)
  • SharePoint Administrator

Follow the steps in the Assign admin roles in Office 365 for business article from Microsoft to verify or assign a Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator role to the account that you plan to use for the migration.

Read the About Office 365 admin roles article from Microsoft to learn more about the administrator roles available in Office 365.

Find the SharePoint URL

When creating a Document Migration project with SharePoint as either the Source or the Destination, the correct SharePoint URL must be provided in the endpoint settings.

Most commonly you'll have a custom site collection created, if you navigate to the SharePoint site you want to migrate data from, the URL format you should see is:

https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/site-name

This would be the URL to specify in the endpoint of the project. If you see something like this:

https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/site-name/SitePages/page-name.aspx

You would exclude `SitePages/page-name.aspx`.

You'll follow the same formatting to migrate from a subsite so you would use https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/site-name/sub-site-name in the endpoint.

Finding Document Library Name

Most commonly all of the data for a SharePoint site is within the default library which will simply be Shared Documents

To verify or find out what to input as the Document Library in the project, navigate to the to the SharePoint site and open one of the libraries, usually on the left hand side of the main page, and the URL will be formatted as:

https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/site-name/Library%20Name/Forms/AllItems.axpx

The Document Library name is Library%20Name, you'll remove the %20 and use Library Name for the project.

Migrating sublibraries

To specify a SharePoint sublibrary without migrating the parent library, simply enter the path of the sublibrary when you set up the items in your project.

For example, you have a library named "Documents" and a sublibrary within that, named "MigrationWiz". To migrate only the "MigrationWiz" sublibrary, enter "Documents/MigrationWiz". This way, only contents of "MigrationWiz" will be migrated.

The parent library "Documents" will be migrated for the sole purpose of storing the "MigrationWiz" library. However, no other files or folders stored in "Documents" will be migrated.

You will need to add a new line item in your project for every sublibrary to be migrated.

For example, "Documents/MigrationWiz" and "Documents/Special" are two separate libraries that will need to be migrated separately. Be aware that this will require two separate licenses.

Also note that when specifying the parent library, all sublibraries within it will be migrated automatically.​​

Migrating SharePoint Subsites

​To migrate SharePoint subsites with MigrationWiz, a separate project must be created for each subsite to be migrated. Use the path of the subsite as the SharePoint site URL when you configure the project.​

For example, if your subsite URL is https://tenant.sharepoint.com/​MainSite/Subsite, you will enter that as the site URL when setting up your project.​

SharePoint documents shown as "checked out"

Some versions of SharePoint have a default setting that automatically marks documents as "checked out" when for editing. This is important because the process of migration acts as "editing" the contents of the library. It is possible to configure a library that requires that documents are "checked out" so they can be manually edited. In both of these scenarios, the documents that are part of the migration will show up in the destination library as "checked out".

This setting can be changed by turning off the enforced check-in/check-out option before migrating your documents.  

The enforced check-out of documents causes the last modified date of the documents to be overwritten by the migration.  To keep the proper information on the document, we recommend that you remove the previously migrated files from the destination, change the settings or create a new library, and perform the migration again. 

  1. Create a new Document Library in your SharePoint destination.
  2. Click Library Settings.
  3. On the Library Settings page, under General Settings, click the Versioning settings.
  4. In the Require Check Out section, under the "Require documents to be checked out before they can be edited?" question, select No.
  5. Click OK to close the dialog box and return to the Library Settings page.
  6. Change the settings for your SharePoint migration destination to point to the new Library that was just created.
  7. Reset migration statistics.
  8. Migrate your files.
  9. You can enable the check-out requirement after the migration completes.

Alternatively, if the last modified date is not a concern for your documents, you can also perform a bulk check-in of the files, using the instructions provided here: "Check out or check in files in a document library".

Data discrepancies after migration

When migrating permissions, MigrationWiz will report almost exactly double what is displayed in your Destination SharePoint environment because of the way SharePoint reports back data when it applies the migrated permissions.

When going to SharePoint as a Destination, permissions are migrated independently from the files and are only applied after the original file is fully migrated. When the permission is migrated and applied to the corresponding file, SharePoint detects it as a new version of the same file. When this happens, rather than reporting the actual size of the permission that was applied, SharePoint returns the size of the entire file a second time. In turn, MigrationWiz reports the size of the original file again, as if it had been migrated twice.

When you look at the statistics for the items in your project, the document sizes are actually correct. The permissions are the cause for the discrepancy in the total size reported. If they were to be reported correctly, the size of the permissions would be almost negligible when compared to the document sizes. The size of permissions are so small, in fact, that the two ultimately reported sizes appear identical.

There is no workaround at this time, because this is the way SharePoint reports data to us. However, although your data is being reported twice, it is only being migrated once.

OneDrive Migration FAQs

The following section offers guidance for questions frequently encountered during OneDrive for Business migrations. 

OneDrive Migration Permissions

When OneDrive for Business is configured as the source on a document migration, the only permissions migrated are for files and folders that are shared by using Direct Access and not shared via link.

Files or folders in OneDrive for Business can be shared in one of four ways:

  • With specific people
  • With anyone
  • With an organization
  • Direct Access

​​When files or folders are shared with a link that is generated for the items, these links are not accounted for by MigrationWiz and are not migrated to any destinations, including other OneDrive for Business accounts.​

The Office 365 account that you use to perform a OneDrive for Business migration must have one of the following Office 365 roles assigned to it:

Follow the steps in the Assign admin roles in Office 365 for business article from Microsoft to verify or assign a Global Administrator or SharePoint Administrator role to the account that you plan to use for the migration.

Read the About Office 365 admin roles article from Microsoft to learn more about the administrator roles available in Office 365.

Granted Permissions

The default behavior for OneDrive for Business is that all folders and items inherit permissions settings from the folder that is directly above them in the hierarchy. This means folders inherit permissions from the root, and subfolders inherit permissions from their parent folder.

Unless specifically configured to do so, MigrationWiz does not remove permissions during a migration. If you find that folders or items are shared inappropriately after migration, you may add the following option to your migration project in order to break permission inheritance, remove existing permission, and finally migrate only explicit permissions:

RemoveExistingPermissionsWhenUnspecified=1

This option can be added in Advanced Options, in the Support options text field, under the Support section. 

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