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Cornell University

Move Your Personal Data

When you leave Cornell, you may lose access to services like cloud file storage and email. Here are some ways to move your data.

In This Article

This information pertains only to personal data. Institutional data remains with the university (some research, documents used for university business, et cetera). If you’re uncertain about what this means in your personal situation, check with your advisor, supervisor, or department.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of some commonly used file transfer services.  These services are not operated by Cornell University, and the links and descriptions below are provided as a convenience and for general informational purposes only. The University does not guarantee the quality of, or provide technical support for, any of these services.

It is your responsibility to research available file transfer services and make a choice based on your personal needs, preferences, budget, and experience. If you use such a service to migrate your data, carefully review the service provider’s privacy policy and terms of use to ensure they provide a level of service and protection suitable for your needs.

Recommended: VaultMe


VaultMe is a straightforward for-fee option to migrate email and files from one cloud service to another. You can use it to copy email and files from Cornell Google or Office 365 accounts to another account or service. For details, see VaultMe’s page for Cornellians.

Features

  • Feedback from Cornell customers and institutional peers has been overwhelmingly positive.
  • VaultMe takes far less time than Google Takeout or Transfer, with almost no failures.
  • Handles large amounts of data well.
  • VaultMe will show you the progress of your data transfer.
  • VaultMe retains the folder and email organization structure you currently have.
  • VaultMe allows you to copy content from these Cornell services: Google, Office 365, OneDrive, and Outlook to an array of other providers. It can also help you copy data from external services into Office 365 or Google. 
  • VaultMe will give you the exact cost and estimated time to completion before you pay for a transfer. According to the provider, most customers pay under $20 for their one-time transfer.

Other Considerations

  • You pay for this service. According to the provider, most customers pay under $20 for their one-time transfer.
  • If you store items in Cornell Box, you will need to manage those separately.
  • Since these services are offered by VaultMe, CIT does not offer support for this process. 
  • Direct support from VaultMe is included with your migration.
  • Alumni do not have Microsoft OneDrive storage available. You will need to move Drive files to another file storage service. (If you choose VaultMe, this means doing two separate migrations.)
Start your migration at least three days before your account expires to ensure sufficient time to complete the migration. Migrations in progress when your account expires will not complete.

Alternative: Google Transfer

Google Transfer will copy your Google Mail and Drive to another Google account.  Go to Google's Transfer Your Content page to begin.

If you see an error message while using Google Transfer, please see the troubleshooting article about Problem Using Google Transfer Your Content Feature.

Features

  • This method is free. 
  • Your data organization (folders, subfolders, email labels, etc.) is retained.

Other Considerations

  • Only transfers from one Google account to another.
  • Only copies email and Drive data. (See Move Photos Out of Your Cornell Google Account to move your photos.)
  • Copies all data in your "Shared with Me" folder (which you may no longer need or want).
  • This method can take time – sometimes days.
  • You have no way to monitor the progress of the transfer. 
  • Does not handle large amounts of data well.
  • You can’t halt a transfer once it starts.
  • A transfer that fails can result in duplicate files in the destination account.
  • This is specific to Google only; if you store files in other locations (OneDrive, Cornell Box) you will need to manage those separately.
  • Google provides this service "as is," without support. CIT has no ability to diagnose – or assist with – problems you might encounter (for example, your destination account is filling up and you need to stop the transfer).  

Recommendations

  • Perform one transfer for just your mail, then a separate transfer for Drive files.
  • Remove any files in Drive from "Shared With Me" if you don’t want them copied.
  • If you exceed the quota of your target account, there is no way to stop the transfer. You will need to delete unneeded content until there is enough free space for the transfer to complete. CIT cannot help you with this, even if Google support tell you to talk to your domain administrator.
Start your migration at least three days before your account expires to ensure sufficient time to complete the migration. Migrations in progress when your account expires will not complete.

Alternative: Google Takeout

Google Takeout will create an archive of your Google Mail, Drive, and Photos as well as data from many other Google services. It can store the resulting archive in a Google Drive, in Box, OneDrive or DropBox, or will make it available for download. Go to Google Takeout to begin.

Features

  • This method is free. 
  • Includes more content than just email and Drive (for example Calendar, Classroom, Contacts).
  • You can pick and choose what files and folders to move.
  • Does not require a Google account as a destination.

Other Considerations

  • This is more reliable than Transfer but is still known to fail. 
  • Does not handle large amounts of data well.
  • This is specific to Google only; if you store files in other locations (OneDrive, Cornell Box) you will need to manage those separately.
  • Your data organization (folders, subfolders, email labels, etc.) is not retained.
  • The mail archive is in MBOX format, which is difficult to import to other mail services.
  • Google support for this is limited, and CIT does not offer support for this process.
Start your migration at least three days before your account expires to ensure sufficient time to complete the migration. Migrations in progress when your account expires will not complete.

Alternative: Download, Then Upload

You can always download your files to your local computer and then upload them to another account. Here are instructions for doing so from Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.

Features

  • This method is free.
  • You can pick and choose what files and folders to move.
  • Does not require an online account as a destination.

Other Considerations

  • For more than a few files, this can use a lot of disk space and be time-consuming (especially if you have a slow network connection).
  • It also makes a copy of the data, which may or may not be what you want. As the saying goes, data that is stored in two places is wrong in at least one of them.
  • This method does not preserve the version information or modification history, nor does it keep collaborators connected to the data.
Start your migration at least three days before your account expires to ensure sufficient time to complete the migration. Migrations in progress when your account expires will not complete.

What Doesn’t Work

It might seem that changing ownership of Google Drive files to another account might be a way to move the content out of or into Cornell. This doesn’t work for a couple of reasons. First, you cannot change ownership into or out of Cornell. You can only change ownership of an item within Cornell.

Second, you can only change the ownership of a single item at a time. If you change the ownership of a folder, you still own everything inside it. You must change the ownership of each item within the folder, one at a time. If there are nested folders, repeat the whole process. This is practical only for very small collections.

Alternative for Small Amounts of Data

The Cornell services you use have methods to manually export your data to your own device. If you have a small amount of data -- just a few files or folders -- then it may make sense to transfer your email and files manually. See the information at Moving Small Amounts of Data.

Features

  • This method is free. 
  • CIT may offer limited support for some downloads.

Other Considerations

  • You could lose email organizational structure
  • Time-consuming since it’s highly manual
Start your migration at least three days before your account expires to ensure sufficient time to transfer your files.

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