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Our team currently accesses a shared file server that contains about half a million files. Accessing the files requires either being physically present in the company or dialing in via VPN.

Is there a way to move the contents of the file server to a "Shared OneDrive" so that all team members can access the files a) via Web access and b) via Windows Explorer?

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You've probably hearing a workaround solution on it, where a folder is being shared to people or probably an account where the password shared by different people. But in the product design, there's no such thing as shared OneDrive.

You could consider SharePoint Online, that is designed for document collaboration, while a personal OneDrive is targeted at individuals. You would be better off moving those files to a SharePoint document library (or many document libraries if you wish to separate them logically) rather than storing them in OneDrive.

Once the files are in the document library, users can use the "Sync" button in the library to access the library from their desktop (Windows Explorer) using the OneDrive for Business desktop app.

Sync SharePoint files and folders

The other solution to this, definitely is Microsoft Teams. As the name suggests, it's designed to store files, work conversation, and whatnot, shared to only a small group of people. The backend side of things is still using SharePoint Online. So, administrator does not need to worry about missing legacy files after the account is deactivated (due to resigning or any other reasons).

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  • Thank you Callum -- I think the SharePoint library suggestion is probably best. Does anything speak against moving the entire existing directory structure from the Windows file server with its 500,000 files to one SharePoint library, and then syncing this to everybody's OneDrive? It would be important that all users eventually see exactly the same directory structure in their OneDrive that they are used to from the Windows file server.
    – David.P
    Feb 16, 2023 at 11:38
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    The only thing that is worth noting is the list view threshold which is 5000 items. This just means that if you want to create your own views based on certain metadata in SharePoint itself, you have to take certain steps e.g. indexing those columns etc. The sync functionality should be fine and it only keeps a local copy of a file on their machine if they choose to or are currently using that file. support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/… Feb 16, 2023 at 11:56
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    You would be best using migration software to move the content to SharePoint Online e.g. ShareGate, SharePoint Migration Tool Feb 16, 2023 at 22:16
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    Multiple people can edit Word, Excel files etc at the same time in SharePoint Online/OneDrive for Business. This is called co-authoring. You would be best off storing the files in SharePoint and users using OneDrive for Business desktop app to access the files instead of using a network drive. Feb 19, 2023 at 19:44
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    Yes, when you open a library file from Windows Explorer (via OneDrive for Business) the usual co-authoring applies. If someone upload/saves the PDF at the same time, there could be a conflict but this is the case with any file system using those PDFs. SharePoint Online has proper versioning though, so that mitigates any problem you would normally see on file shares, in terms of losing data etc. Feb 20, 2023 at 10:18

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