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U-M Dropbox

Box to Dropbox transition

March 2021

The university is transitioning from U-M Box to U-M Dropbox for cloud-based file storage. Working with files on U-M Dropbox is very similar to U-M Box.  Your data from U-M Box will be migrated to U-M Dropbox in a phased, self-migration process.  Please pay attention to your email for more announcements about this transition.


Migration Phases
Important Policy Notes
Accessing Your Files
Dropbox Training
Differences between U-M Box and U-M Dropbox


March 2021

You can create your U-M Dropbox account at anytime, and it is the first step in this migration process.  Get Started.

PHASE 2: SELF-MIGRATION of shared accounts

May 2021

ITS will be migrating shared Box accounts before individual Box accounts. This will include all "UMLS" folders.  Shared account owners will be able to schedule their group's move to Dropbox at a convenient time for them.  More information about how the migration will take place will be sent out via email.
Note: you MUST create your U-M Dropbox account before migration can occur.  See step 1 above.


June 2021

ITS will begin the self-service migration of individual Box accounts (anything outside of a UMLS folder).  Users will be able to schedule when their individual account gets moved to Dropbox.


Leave Smart Sync settings at "Online only"Smart Sync settings - leave default
The Dropbox desktop app has a "smart sync" feature that by default acts much like Box Drive. Your files will be accessible from the Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder, but are actually only pointers to the files in the Dropbox cloud.  Your files do not actually reside on your computer unless you are currently working on them.  We urge you not to change this setting as you may inadvertently download sensitive data to your desktop which is against university security policies.  You could also fill up your hard drive with your Dropbox files if you sync them locally.


Once you create your U-M Dropbox account, you can access your files on the web at, or by installing the Dropbox app.
Note: Law School Information Technology staff will work with you to install the Dropbox app on university-owned Windows computers as you create your accounts and your Box files are migrated.

Dropbox setup instructions (Windows and Mac).



  • Programs
    Box offers multiple "helper" programs like Box Drive, Box Tools, and Box for Office. Dropbox's desktop app is most similar to Box Drive, where you can access your files from your computer in Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder.  It also allows many common file types to be opened directly in your program of choice from the web interface.

  • File conflicts
    Dropbox badges will tell you if MS Office files are in use by another person.  See this guide for more information.  If two people work on the same file at the same time and both save their changes, a conflicted file copy will appear in the Dropbox folder.  This will prevent a person's changes from being overwritten.  For file types other than Office, there is no badge system available.  One recommendation is moving a shared file to another location before working on it.

  • Comparison
    See this ITS comparison page between Box and Dropbox for more information.


Q: What if I don't care about the files in my U-M Box account and don't want them migrated? 
A: There will be an option on the self-service migration page for users to let ITS know they do not want to migrate or keep the data they have in their U-M Box account.

Q: How long are deleted files kept in Dropbox?
A: Deleted files are retained in the "deleted files" folder for 10 years unless they are permanently deleted from this folder.

Q: Why do I need to create a U-M Dropbox account now?
A: As files are migrated from U-M Box to U-M Dropbox, collaborators on the data will only maintain their access if they have created a Dropbox account before migration begins.  This is also why shared accounts will be migrated first.

Q: Will Box Notes be migrated as well?
A: ITS is still testing this, but so far they have found that Box Notes will migrate as Word files.

Q: When I migrate my data from U-M Box to U-M Dropbox, will my file/folder permissions be maintained after the migration?
  • If U-M collaborators on your files/folders have created their U-M Dropbox account, the files/folders will maintain internal U-M permissions after the migration.
  • External collaborators (people without emails) outside of the U-M community will not retain any file or folder permissions. You will need to re-share files and folders with them from U-M Dropbox.

Q: I have several files in my U-M Box account with links that are published on websites. What will happen with those links after the migration to U-M Dropbox?
A: Any links to files in U-M Box that are currently published will need to be replaced manually with the appropriate links from U-M Dropbox once the migration process is complete.

Q: Will I have access to my files/folders during the migration process?
A: No. You will not have access to your U-M Box files or folders during the migration process, and you should not use Box Drive, Box Sync, Box Tools, or Box Edit during the migration process. Any edits made during the migration will not migrate.

Q: Will I retain access to U-M Box once my account has migrated?
A: No. Once you have migrated to U-M Dropbox, your U-M Box account will be disabled.

Q: If I link my personal Dropbox account, will the university have access to it?
A: Connecting a personal account in the Dropbox app does not give the university access to it.  It merely gives you the ease of accessing files in both accounts.

Q: I'm not seeing folders in the Dropbox app on my computer, why?
A: Check the Dropbox app's preferences and make sure you are syncing all the folders you want to see on your computer.  See this example.