Box: Frequently Asked Questions


What browsers and operating systems does Box work with?

Box supports the most recent major releases of the following web browsers and desktop/mobile operating systems (OS). Box has detailed information about supported browsers and operating systems.

What are the advantages of a Pitt Box account versus a personal Box account?

Your Pitt Box account provides unlimited online storage as opposed to 5 GB. It also allows you to upload much larger individual files, up to 15 GB. You can search the full text of all the files you have on Box and view previous versions of files that you have stored. You can also password-protect the links that you use to share files.

What advantages does Box have over similar services like Dropbox?

In addition to unlimited storage space and the ability to upload larger files (up to 15 GB), Box provides a full set of collaboration tools that make it more than just a place to store files. You can add comments to files in a threaded discussion. You receive instant updates when someone comments on or edits a file. You can even assign tasks and due dates. Box also makes it easy to find what you are looking for by allowing you to search the full text of your files and enabling you to tag files and folders with keywords.

I can store files on my laptop, on a flash drive, or even in my email Inbox. Why would I use Box?

Box stores your files securely in the cloud, which means you can get to them from anywhere. You don't have to lug your laptop or carry a USB flash drive. As long as you have access to the Internet, you have access to your files.

Why would I share a file with someone in Box rather than just sending it to them via email?

A few reasons. First, email attachments use up your email storage space. Box allows you to share files with a simple link that anyone can access, even if they aren't at Pitt or don't use Box. Second, Box provides a better way to collaborate on documents. If the person receiving your document via email plans to comment on it or edit it, that means another reply email with yet another attachment. With Box, your collaborator can upload the edited file right to Box (or even edit it right within Box). He or she can add comments right alongside the file in a neatly organized, threaded discussion. You don't have to keep track of multiple email messages. And with Box, you can easily go back and view previous versions of the document that you have been working on, which is a lot easier than keeping track of different versions that were sent as email attachments.


Who can use Box?

All students, faculty, and staff at the University of Pittsburgh will have a Box account.

Are alumni eligible for a Box account?

No. Alumni are not eligible for a Box account.

I am leaving the University. How do I transfer ownership of a Box folder so that someone else can manage it after I am gone?

There may come a time when you need to transfer ownership of a pitt.box.com folder that you own to another individual at Pitt.

For example, you may be leaving the University and want to ensure that your colleagues continue to have access to the content you have shared after you leave. Or you may be handing off a project to someone else and want them to be able to add or remove access to the Box folder as needed.

If you have shared a folder with others, you can transfer ownership of that folder to one of your collaborators by completing the steps below. If you have not shared the folder with anyone, you will need to share it before you can transfer ownership. You will also need to be the Owner of the folder to complete these steps. Keep in mind that as soon as you transfer ownership of a folder, you will no longer be able to add Collaborators to the folder or remove Collaborators from the folder.    

1. Click on the folder. The people with whom you are sharing the folder will display as Collaborators in the right-hand pane.  

2. Click on the ellipsis beside a Collaborator’s name and select Owner from the drop-down list.

Collaborate with  someone in Box

3. A pop-up message may display with information about the consequences of this action. Click Okay.

Note: If you are transferring ownership of a folder that contains a large number of subfolders, the transfer process may time out. You may need to try a few times before the transfer is successful.

I already have a Box account with a personal email address. Will that account be affected by Box for Pitt?

No. If you have a Box account that uses a personal email address, it will remain separate.

I have a personal Box account that already uses my University email address. What will happen to it?

We will automatically move your personal Box account to the University of Pittsburgh's Box service. You will not lose any of your files or folders, and you will receive all the additional benefits of the University's enterprise Box service (for example, more storage space, the ability to search the full text of files stored on Box, and the ability to upload larger files to your Box account).

What happens to my files if I leave Pitt?

You will need to transfer your files from your Box account at Pitt to a personal Box account or another cloud storage location. When you leave the University, you will receive an email message at your University email address informing you that your University Computing Account has been converted to a "sponsored account". From the day you receive this email, you will have 14 days to transfer the personal files on your Box account to another location. After that time, you will no longer be able to access your Box account at Pitt.

I use a different file sharing service. How do I move my files from that service to Box for Pitt?

You will need to download your files from your current service upload them to Box for Pitt. Use the following method.

Storing Files

How do I upload content to store on Box?

You can upload files and folders using the following method.

How much storage space do I have on Box?

All students, faculty, and staff have unlimited storage space.

When I'm uploading a file to Box, what is the file size limit?

You can upload individual files that are as large as 15 GB to Box.

Can I use Box to store personal files, photos, and videos?

Box is a University service and should be used only for academic purposes and for official University business.

What types of data can I store on Box?  

Box uses state-of-the-art technology and industry best practices for data encryption during transit to and from the Box cloud, as well as while stored within Box. However, some types of data should not be stored on Box at all, refer to information specific to permissable data by type.   For this reason, we recommend you use only the Box Web interface (http://pitt.box.com) or official Box apps to transfer data securely to Box. If you use an app for Box that has been developed by a third party, you should take steps to ensure that the app transfers data using a secure method.

Box provides robust security for the data you store. However, due to federal, state, and local laws and University policies and standards, it should not be used to store, collect, or share certain types of regulated and sensitive data. This includes data regulated by HIPAA and GLB. Please keep in mind that you are responsible for safeguarding University of Pittsburgh data stored on the computers, devices, and online services you use.

Data Type
Non-confidential or general business
De-identified human subject research
  Data that does not include any information which could be used to identify the individuals involved in the research.
Sensitive identifiable human subject research  
Any individually identifiable research data containing sensitive information such as information about mental health, genetics, alcohol and drug abuse, or illegal behaviors.
Student educational records (FERPA)


Grades, student transcripts, degree information, disciplinary records, and class schedules.
Protected health information (ePHI-HIPAA)  
Any unique identifying attribute, characteristic, code, or combination that allows identification of an individual, and that is combined with medical or health information. Examples include, but are not limited to, date of birth, date of death, email addresses, telephone numbers, and device ID numbers.
Social Security Numbers  
Gramm Leach Bliley (GLBA) student loans application information  
Student loan information, payment history, and student financial aid data.
Payment card information (PCI)  
Cardholder name, account number, expiration date, verification number, and security code.
Export controlled research (ITAR, EAR)  
Data containing research on things such as chemical and biological agents, satellite communications, certain software or technical data, and work on formulas for explosives.
FISMA data  
Any government data that is regulated by the Federal Information Management and Security Act, including VA data, FDA data, and Medicare data.


How do I share a link to a file with someone?

You can share a link using the following method.

Can I share files with people outside of Pitt?

Yes. You can send links to files stored on Box to anyone's email address. This could be a Pitt email address or an external email address.

There are a number of different link sharing options in Box. How do they differ?

When you share a file with a link, you can choose from a number of different sharing options.

  • People with the link: People with the link can access and no Box account is required. For extra security, you can also set a password or expiration for the link, as well as restrict download and/or preview access for link viewers.
  • People in your company: Users with a Box account and who are currently managed users of your enterprise will be able to access content via the shared link. You can set an expiration date and restrict download and/or preview access for link viewers.
    • When accessing the link, users will be asked to log in to Box to verify their identity. This option will be disabled if you are not using a legitimate, validated business domain to access Box, but can be enabled if you change your log in email address.
    • Collaborators in the folder can also access content if @Company is selected
  • People in this folder: Only users who have been invited to the folder can access the content in the folder.
    Note: Collaborators already have access to their content, but can easily direct one another to a specific file or folder using the shared link.
  • Remove Link: This option removes and deletes the shared link assigned to that file or folder so it can no longer be accessed, even if someone has the old link.

How do I invite someone to collaborate on a folder with me?

You can create collaboration folders and set permissions for those who are collaborating with you. Use the following method.

Will those who are sharing my files still be able to access them after I leave Pitt?

No. If you have shared your Box files with others, they will also lose the ability to access those files when you leave Pitt.

I accidentally deleted a file stored on Box. Can I get it back?

Yes. You can recover deleted files from the trash. Use the following method.

Mobile Devices and Apps

Why am I having trouble accessing Box for Pitt from my phone or tablet?

To access m.box.com through a Web browser on a mobile device, enter your only your University email address (username@pitt.edu, tap Use Single Sign On (SSO), then Login. On the next screen, enter your University Computing Account username and password, then tap Submit. You will enter the mobile site.

Detailed login instructions for Box are available for mobile devices using a Web browser.

You can also access Box for Pitt by downloading the Box app for your specific mobile device.

What apps are available for Box?

There are hundreds of apps available for Box. Box also provides a list of official Box apps. We recommend you use only official Box apps to transfer data securely to Box. If you use an app for Box that has been developed by a third party, you should take steps to ensure that the app transfers data using a secure method.

Are all apps available for all platforms?

No. Check the description on the App menu for compatibility details.

Are all apps free?

No. Check the description on the App menu for pricing.

Security and Passwords

Are my files safe on Box?

Box uses state-of-the-art technology and industry best practices for data encryption during transit to and from the Box cloud, as well as while stored within Box. View details about Box's security measures on their Web site.

What is an external password, and why would I need it?

Certain apps available for Box do not support "single sign on", which means you cannot access them with your University Computing Account username. SimpleShare, an app that lets you upload and share files directly from your desktop, is one example. To use such apps, you need to create an external password.

How do I create an external password?

To create an external password.

  1. Log in to My Pitt > Box.
  2. Click your name in the top right corner, then choose Account Settings.
  3. On the Account tab, scroll down to the ‘Authentication’ section. Click Edit Password.
  4. Type the new password twice, then click Save.

What types of data can I store on Box?

Box uses state-of-the-art technology and industry best practices for data encryption during transit to and from the Box cloud, as well as while stored within Box. However, some types of data should not be stored on Box at all.Please see the Storing Files section.

Can I use FTP to transfer files to Box?

Yes. You can view our instructions for establishing a secure connection to Box via FTP here. To use FTP, you need to create an external password.


I get email notifications from Box all the time. How do I stop them (or just get fewer of them)?

You can manage your email notification preferences to control when and why you receive email updates. Use the following method.

Can I change Box information for my name and add a photo of myself?

Yes. By default, Box displays your first name, then your last name. You can change the order of your first and last name (or change your formal first name to a nickname) on your profile page and/or upload a picture.

Syncing Files

How do I sync files from my desktop to Box and vice versa?

First you will need to download the sync client for Windows or Mac.

You can view instructions for syncing files from your desktop to Box and from Box to your desktop. Use the following method.

Can I sync files to a Linux computer?

No. There is no sync client available for Linux computers at this time.

Can every type of file be synced?

No. The following files will not sync: Temporary (.tmp) files, system and hidden files, Windows shortcuts or aliases on a Mac, Box Webdocs, Outlook PSTs (Personal Files), Google Docs documents, or Quickbooks files.

Can I use the sync client with files stored on a file server?

No. The sync client cannot be used on a file server.


Can I use FTP to transfer files to Box?
Yes. You can view our instructions for establishing a secure connection to Box via FTP here.