In Part 4 of my OneDrive for Business series, I’ll cover how IT can access user files in OneDrive for Business. I will also discuss the eDiscovery feature in SharePoint.

Kyle Beckman

Kyle Beckman works as a systems administrator in Atlanta, GA supporting Office 365 in higher education. He has 17+ years of systems administration experience.
Contents of this article

Accessing user files ^

At some point, you’ll either need to access a user’s files in OneDrive for Business or give access to another user. To do this, you’ll need to go into the Office 365 Admin Center, click Admin, and then click SharePoint.

Office 365 admin center

Office 365 admin center

Click User Profiles and then Manage User Profiles.

Manage User Profiles

Manage User Profiles

In the Find Profiles text box, you’ll want to enter enough of the user’s name that we can find them in the directory. Click Find. We should get a list of users matching the search term.

Find Profiles

Find Profiles

Click the user that you want to modify, and then click “Manage site collection owners.”

Manage site collection owners

Manage site collection owners

Add an Administrator as a Site Collection Administrator, and then click OK.

Site Collection Administrator

Site Collection Administrator

Click the user again, and then click Manage Personal Site.

Manage Personal Site

Manage Personal Site

This will drop you into the Site Settings for the user. Click Documents and you’ll be dropped into the user’s OneDrive for Business.

Documents

Documents

OneDrive for Business folder

OneDrive for Business folder

eDiscovery ^

At some point, you may need the ability to search the files in an end user’s OneDrive for Business. The built-in eDiscovery feature in SharePoint will allow you to perform searches against those files. First, you’ll need to follow the process in “Accessing user files” for each user you need to search. Because each user has a site collection under https://tenantname-my.sharepoint.com, you’ll have to give either an Administrator or group Site Collection Administrator permissions on the user’s files. If you want to give access to a group rather than to a single user, you can go to Admin > Exchange. Then, go to Recipients > Groups. Click the Plus and Security group to add a new group.

Security group

Security group

Go to the SharePoint Admin center by clicking Admin > SharePoint.

Admin  SharePoint

Admin  SharePoint

Next, we’ll need to create a new Site Collection by clicking New > Private Site Collection.

Private Site Collection

Private Site Collection

Name the new eDiscovery Site Collection and pick a web site address. Click the Enterprise tab and choose eDiscovery Center. Pick an Administrator, set the storage quota to 1024, and click OK.

eDiscovery Site Collection

eDiscovery Site Collection

Now, go to https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/sites/eDiscoverycentername and click Create New Case.

Create New Case

Create New Case

Create a title, supply an address, and click Create.

Web Site Address

Web Site Address

In the new case that has been created, click the New Item link.

New Item link

New Item link

Name the set and then click the Add & Manage Sources link.

Add & Manage Sources

Add & Manage Sources

Add the path(s) of the user(s) you want to search, and then click OK.

Path of the user

Path of the user

Add a filter. eDiscovery will start returning files that meet the search criteria. Specify whether the files need an In-Place hold, and then click Save.

Add a filter

Add a filter

In Search and Export, click New Item.

Search and Export

Search and Export

Name your query and enter additional search terms (if necessary). Here, you can view and export files found during an eDiscovery.

View and export files

View and export files

I have a few words of warning. First, in my experience, the search hasn’t been in real time. Some files appear almost instantly, whereas others show up a few minutes or hours later. Second, like I mentioned earlier, searching through your entire organization’s files in OneDrive for Business is a bit problematic at this point. For larger projects with groups of users, or at times when you know you’ll need to perform eDiscovery, encourage your users to use a Team Site or you’ll need to search each OneDrive.

In the next part of this series, I will discuss the things that you have to consider when managing OneDrive for Business.

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13 Comments
  1. Eric Warnke 4 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. Do you know of any way to add a site collection owner to every single user's profile?

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    • Author
      Kyle Beckman 4 years ago

      It should be possible to do this with PowerShell, but I've never had the need to do this since accessing files in a user's 1D4B account is usually a one-off event and not a regular occurrence.

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  2. Denise Pellegrini 4 years ago

    Appreciate the tips ... I just followed the steps for OneDrive to give myself access to an employee who no longer works for us to review the files on his OneDrive. I do not show "documents" on the left side as you outlined. I did put myself in as a Site Administrator to this account. Any ideas?

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  3. Denise Pellegrini 4 years ago

    Nevermind ... even though I do not show "documents" like your post mentions, I figured out if I went to the url of the personal site of the end user I had access.

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  4. Lou Mickley 4 years ago

    Eric, you can add a secondary admin at creation time for all My Sites - see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn957479.aspx

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  5. TraceyM 4 years ago

    If we choose to use a group for eDiscovery (eDiscoveryMgrs) that will access all OneDrive for Business user sites, does this group need anything special in the way of privileges other then SCA? I ran a eDiscovery query and I still don't see OneDrive files...

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    • Author
      Kyle Beckman 4 years ago

      That should be the only permissions they need as far as I'm aware. If you're still having issues, you may want to open a support ticket through the Office 365 Admin Center.

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  6. Ramona 3 years ago

    Is there a way to do this for disables accounts or accounts missing from import?

     

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  7. Andy 3 years ago

    Would the users know that their site/files are being accessed by an admin?

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  8. Shaun 3 years ago

    Im not sure why, but for some reason when I click on Manage User Profile, I do not have the option for Documents on the left.

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  9. mgmjtech 3 years ago

    Is there a script to retrieve who is a member of the site collection administrator group for all the one drive?

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  10. Victor Tenev 2 years ago

    Hereby, I'd like to thank you for the useful and helpful article! It really works for me.

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  11. Chris Downey 2 years ago

    Does this work for non-Admin users?
    For example, I need to add the Supervisor of a termed employee so that they have access.
    Does the account status make any difference? i.e. disabled or enabled.

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