3 fun ways to (ab)use your school OneDrive storage

📅 2022-08-29  🕑 8min

If you're a student (or a teacher) and your school/university has an Office 365 plan (e.g. for Microsoft Teams), you probably have an Education Office 365 account, which comes with a whopping 1 TB (!) of OneDrive storage and you're probably not even using 1% of that capacity. Kinda wasteful in my opinion.

But before I list a few fun examples of how you can make use of your school OneDrive, I need to address a few - hopefully obvious - things:

With that out of the way, let's begin!


The examples I'll be covering involve the usage of rclone - a commandline application that allows you to easily access remote storages of various kinds.

On Linux it should be available in your distro's package manager and on macOS, Homebrew has it. If you use Windows, follow this guide you can install rclone with scoop, but the commands may be a bit different.

After installation, run rclone config and add your OneDrive storage using the onedrive remote type - rclone should guide you through that. The rest of this post will assume that the name of the remote is sch, so always replace sch with your remote name if it's different.

#1: Storing TV Shows, Movies, Music, etc.

The "default" way of storing media on OneDrive is inconvenient - gently speaking - so we're gonna use rclone to make it easier and faster. Here's a short quickstart:

Create a directory for the media

rclone mkdir 'sch:anime'

Upload media

rclone copy -P rezero 'sch:anime/rezero'

Note: When you tell rclone to copy a directory, it copies the contents of it, not the directory itself, so it's important to always specify the full destination path, as we did here.

By the way, the -P flag adds a nice progress display. If you omit it, rclone will work silently.

Download media

rclone copy -P 'sch:anime/rezero/ep1.mkv' .
rclone link 'sch:anime/rezero/ep1.mkv'

Disclaimer: The generated link likely has your school name in it, so don't share it with people you don't trust!

We can use this command with mpv in order to stream a video or audio file directly without downloading it:

mpv $(rclone link 'sch:anime/rezero/ep1.mkv')

You can find more rclone commands by doing rclone --help.

#2: Image hosting

Let's say you want to make a website or you just want to have your own hosting of images without exposing the end user to 3rd-party services. Why not make a proxy to your school OneDrive with a cheap VPS or a Raspberry Pi?

Note: This method requires small Linux server administration knowledge

In this example I will be using Alpine Linux, but the commands should be easily adaptable to your distribution of choice.

Setup rclone on the remote machine

Just follow the rclone section of this post but on your server, as root/sudo (we're going to mount the remote and that requires root permissions, so the generated rclone config file should be in the root user's home directory)

You'll also want to create a folder for the images:

sudo rclone mkdir sch:imgs

Mount the remote

sudo mkdir /onedrive
sudo rclone mount sch:imgs /onedrive --allow-other -v

You should be able to access /onedrive as root now. If everything is working properly, you can make the rclone mount persistent using your init system. For example, this is what I made for Alpine (OpenRC):


depend() {
    need net
    before nginx
    use logger

start() {
    checkpath -f -m 0644 -o root:root /var/log/onedrive.log
    rclone mount sch:imgs /onedrive --daemon --allow-other -v --log-file=/var/log/onedrive.log

stop() {
    fusermount -uz /onedrive

# vim:ft=sh

Configuring the webserver

Setup your webserver to serve static files from /onedrive. You probably want to enable SSL too.

Assuming you're using Nginx, you can add a server block similar to this:

server {
    listen [::]:443 ssl http2;
    merge_slashes off;

    server_name imgs.lemonsh.moe;
    ssl_certificate /etc/acme/imgs.lemonsh.moe.crt;
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/acme/imgs.lemonsh.moe.key;

    root /onedrive;

Of course, you need to adapt this config according to your needs.

Testing the proxy

The imgs directory on your OneDrive should now be mapped to your domain's root. For example, in my case, sch:imgs/image.png is mapped to https://imgs.lemonsh.moe/image.png.

NAQ (never asked questions)

Now you might ask, why can't we just use rclone link for the images, just like we did with your media before? Well, there are a few reasons:

Another question you might have is, why images specifically? Why not music / videos / etc.?

Well, you can technically host any kind of content with this proxy, but I just felt like image hosting is a good demo usecase. Larger files are going to be problematic because for every request, your server needs to use 2 * filesize of bandwidth (download from OneDrive and then upload to the user) and caching may be unfeasible.

#3: Storing personal data securely

It's well-known that storing sensitive information in the cloud is a very bad idea, especially with non-private services like OneDrive or Google Drive, because these companies can access your data whenever they want - or when the government wants.

But, we can use the crypt remote type to mitigate this:

Rclone crypt remotes encrypt and decrypt other remotes. A remote of type crypt does not access a storage system directly, but instead wraps another remote, which in turn accesses the storage system.

Considering that we're working with sensitive data here, if you have trouble understanding something here, please RTFM. With that in mind, let's begin:

Create an empty folder for the encrypted files

rclone mkdir sch:enc

Create a crypt wrapper

Run rclone config and create a new remote of type crypt (instead of onedrive like we did before). I'll call it esch, but you can pick any other name. There are a few things you should know:

Upload something!

You should be able to use the esch remote just like any other rclone remote now. The only difference is that its root is mapped to the directory you specified before (e.g. sch:enc) and everything going through it is encrypted. So, let's try uploading something now:

rclone copy -P Pictures/miku-smol.png esch:

Let's check if the file was actually uploaded:

$ rclone lsf esch:

It was! But how does it look from OneDrive's perspective?

`enc` folder on my OneDrive
enc folder on my OneDrive
As you can see, the file has been encrypted along with its filename.

Important reminder

Obviously, this doesn't prevent you from uploading sensitive files through the unencrypted sch remote or even the OneDrive web interface, so remember to always handle sensitive data through esch.

Config encryption and backup

Your rclone config contains passwords to all of the cloud remotes, so it's wise to protect it somehow. You can do that in rclone config by choosing the s) Set configuration password option. Upon doing that, you will be asked for a password on every rclone operation. You can always remove the password if you want (e.g. to make manual changes to the config).

In order to backup or migrate all your rclone remotes (including crypt if you set that up), you can just copy the entire config file to - for example - a password manager or a different machine. This will work even when you set a password on the file.

The path to the config is ~/.config/rclone/rclone.conf.

The end.

microsoft please don't arrest me, it's all for educational purposes

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