Students Staff

File storage and sharing

We provide a number of ways for staff and students to store and share personal, work and study related files.

Storage options for everyone

All staff and students get a Home Directory (M: Drive) and a Microsoft OneDrive for Business storage area.

  • Home Directory (M: Drive)

    Your M: Drive storage space is:

    • for storing files personal to you that you don't need to share
    • at least 1 GB in size
    • accessible from any computer on campus by going to your 'My Documents', and off campus via SSH.
    • backed up daily by IT Services. If you lose or delete a file you can request a file restore from up to 2 weeks ago.

    Requesting more storage space

    Requests for more storage space is made on a case-by-case basis:

    • Undergraduate students: storage limits will only be increased for undergraduate students if a specific course requires it, in which case your course tutor should liaise with the IT Services Systems Group.
    • Postgraduate students: if you're a postgraduate student, ask your supervisor to email the IT Services Systems Group on your behalf.
    • Staff: if you're a member of staff, email the IT Services Systems Group

  • Microsoft OneDrive for Business

    Your OneDrive for Business storage space is:

    • for storing files personal to you that you may want to share
    • 1 TB in size
    • accessible anywhere with a web browser: sign in to Webmail then choose OneDrive from the top-left menu.
    • not mapped to any drive letter, but you can download the sync client for your personal or work computer which creates a local folder location (so you don't have to use a web browser to upload and download files)
    • backed up in the cloud. If you lose or delete a file you can restore previous versions (right-click on a folder to see your options).

  • Box

    Store documents in the cloud to share and collaborate with colleagues.

    Box is not available to everyone yet. There is a scheduled roll out and you will be notified when your department or section will be given access. We thank you for your patience in the meantime.

    Box is the University’s official cloud storage and collaboration tool for staff and students. With Box, you get:

    • 1 TB personal storage space (myBox)
    • unlimited departmental storage space (staff and research only)
    • access to your work any time, from any device
    • tools to share, edit and collaborate on files in real time

    How to use Box

    • On the web: Go to, choose Continue and then sign in with your Essex email address and password.
    • On your desktop (Box Drive): Go to and install Box Drive. After install, sign in with your University email address and password.
    • On your mobile: The Box app is available for Android and iOS.Search your app store for 'Box'.

    Getting started and helpful guides

Additional storage options for staff

In addition to M: Drive and OneDrive, staff also have access to shared network drives and SharePoint sites.

Compare options

Overview of key features which should help you to identify which storage option to use
Home directory (M: Drive) OneDrive for Business Staff shared network drive SharePoint site Box
Storage type Local network Cloud / Web Local network Cloud / Web Cloud / Web with desktop access
Storage space limit 1 GB 1 TB Agreed on request Agreed on request (no files above 50MB) Personal – 1TB
Departmental - Unlimited
Available to Students and staff Students and staff Staff only Staff only Staff and students (following rollout schedule)
Easily available off campus No, unless using SSH Yes, sign in to Webmail then choose OneDrive from the top-left menu, or download the OneDrive app for your mobile No, unless using VPN Yes Yes
Suitable for sharing No Yes, you can share files in your OneDrive with other Essex users Yes, but only with Essex users and only if the user has the necessary access rights (usually controlled via delegated groups) Yes, but only with Essex users Yes, with Essex users and External contacts
Suitable for collaborating No Yes, multiple people can work on a document at the same time Yes, but only one person can work on a document once opened Yes, documents can be 'checked out' Yes – multiple people can work in files at the same time; lock files to work independently/offline
Recommended for Storing files personal to you that you don't need share Storing files personal to you that you may need to share and access off-campus easily Sections, Departments or teams who need to share, access or work on the same files Groups who need to share, access, archive, or work on the same files; project and collaborative work; departmental intranets Sections, Departments or teams who need to access and work on the same files, from any location; project and collaborative work that is shared with internal and external partners

ZendTo - send large files

We provide a free online file sending service called "ZendTo" for sending large files that are too big for email. ZendTo lets you send files of up to 5 GB to Essex and non-Essex users.

Backup and restore

  • Request a file restore

    If you've accidentally deleted, lost or overwritten one or more important files, we may be able to recover them from our backups.

    Before you submit a request you should:

    We can restore files from the following locations:

    • M: Drives

    We can’t restore files from:

    • removable storage, such as external hard drives and USB sticks
    • local storage, such as your desktop or C: Drives

  • Backup and restore tool for staff computers

    We provide a tool that staff can use to backup and restore data from their staff computer when it's due to be replaced or upgraded. See how to use the backup and restore tool.

Research data

  • Security sensitive research data

    We provide special storage for research data if you are working on security sensitive material. Find out more and apply for storage space through the REO webpages.