Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A handy SharePoint migration tool

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One of the most common things that needs to be done when moving to Office 365 is migration of files and folders from on premises locations to SharePoint Online Team Sites or OneDrive for Business. The native tools such as the browser and Windows Explorer work fine up to a point, but if you need to do bulk uploading of large subsets of files then a third party tools is generally in order.

If you are looking for an overview of the options that are available to you when it comes to migrating to SharePoint Online then have a look at my previous article here:

Migrating On Premises SharePoint to Office 365

where I outline that my recommended tool is Sharegate.

Sharegate is a commercial product that can be a bit cost prohibitive if you only need to do a migration once, especially if you are only looking to copy files. If all you want to do is move files to SharePoint Online the you may want to consider the free SPfilezilla tool.

Basically, Spfilezilla work a lot like a traditional FTP utility in that you connect to your destination (in this case a SharePoint Online site) and you are then able to copy local files and folders to SharePoint Online as shown above.

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You simply select the local files on the left you want to copy to the destination and press the transfer button in the middle of the page. You will also notice that you can copy from the online location back locally as well if you want.

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The files will transfer and you’ll see a record of the whole process in the lower pane.

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Now when you look at SharePoint Online you’ll see the files as shown above. An interesting point to note with SPfilezilla is that it keeps the original time and data stamp from the source location when it copies the files to SharePoint Online, as you can see above.

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If you repeat the copy process, but this time simply drag and drop onto the browser page, you’ll see that the timestamp for all the files is automatically set to the current time (i.e. when they were copied).

So SPfilezilla is a great tool if you simply want to copy files from local folders to SharePoint Online (or back). It also has the handy ability of keeping the source modified by date consistent, which some business use as a method of filing (that, I don’t understand at all). However, SPfilezilla can only migrate from local file systems. You can’t migrate from say another SharePoint site.

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As you see from the above screen shot, it will also allow you to transfer from network locations (using a UNC path) as well as too OneDrive for Business destinations.

Although SPfilezilla is a basic migration program it is a very handy tool because it does its limited subset of tasks very well (i.e. file transfers). This therefore makes it an excellent choice for people who are just getting started with SharePoint Online and simply want to move their data files to Office 365.

Best of all SPfilezilla is free so I suggest you go and take a look because it will certainly make your basic file migrations to office 365 much easier.