Michigan Ross iMpact

Leading in Thought & Action

File Storage & Backup Options

Services & How They Work Overall Storage Quota Accessing Content on the Go Document Synchronization Across Devices File Sharing Backing up Files Other Considerations

Google Drive (formerly Google Docs)

Part of your UM Google account, Drive is a personal stash of files that you can access with a web browser or mobile device wherever you go. You can upload most file formats, but it is primarily geared toward word processing documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. Drive gives you the ability to work on, create, or edit your documents right inside of the web browser.

Unlimited for docs created in Drive; 5gb for uploaded files. Great for collaboration and real-time editing; note that Google Drive is not compliant with regulated data (except for FERPA).


Online storage space where you can upload any file. The agreement between UM and Box gives us a HUGE amount of storage space.


Ross Network (U: drive) (Fac/Staff Only)

On Ross machines connected to the Ross domain, the U: drive is your "My Documents" folder. Anything stored inside that folder is backed up at regular intervals.


Ross Network (R: drive)  (Fac/Staff Only)

On Ross machines connected to the Ross domain, the R: drive is the "root" folder of everything on the network. GuestFTP resides here.

Variable       Files put within the "GuestFTP" folder in the R: drive can be accessed by non-UM colleagues. Instructions can be found here.

Ross Network (S: drive) (Fac/Staff Only)

On Ross machines connected to the Ross domain, the S: drive is a shortcut to a network location on the R: drive that is shared only within a department.

Variable     No one outside of your department will have the same S: drive as you.

Portable Hard Drive or USB Flash Drive

Can be a full-size portable external hard drive, a smaller "pocket size" hard drive, or a really small USB "thumb" drive.

Varies   As these can get pretty small, be careful not to lose them.

Recordable CD or DVD

Most computers will have a CD/DVD-RW drive (or at least the capability to connect with one). If you purchase "burnable" CD or DVDs, you can write files or data onto them to keep or share.

DVD: 4.7gb

CD: 700mb

  CDs and DVDs can degrade over time, and therefore are not recommended for permanent archival storage.

"Local" Drive

This will commonly be referred to as your "C: drive," but it contains every file and folder stored within, including your Desktop.

Varies         In the event of a hard drive failure, data is often not recoverable. Try not to store data "locally."


An online organizational tool for managing and sharing content.

Varies     Only available to Fac/Staff.


Apple's "cloud" storage service is limited to the data that you sync with your iPad, iPhone or other iDevice. Usually, syncing your device with iTunes will automatically backup the device to iCloud.

5gb     Only backs up content from iDevices.

Other Cloud Storage Services

Google Drive and Box aren't the only services out there. Dropbox, SugarSync, and Microsoft OneDrive are examples of competing commercial services with similar features.

Varies Commercial services usually have a free option with limited storage, and a subscription plan if you need more.

For tips on how to manage sensitive regulated data, please see the University of Michigan's policy.