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All 28 Solutions Fix OneDrive Not Syncing Windows/Mac/Mobile

This article will analyze why OneDrive not syncing files or folders and give you fixes to deal with the problem caused by different matters.

Author Helen

Posted by @Helen

Aug 17, 2018 | 12 mins read

Author Helen

Helen Dai

Senior Editor at multcloud.com, also charge in SEO affairs. Movies, sports & poetry.

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Why Is My OneDrive Not Syncing?

Why is OneDrive not syncing? This is a question that troubles thousands of OneDrive users. Sometimes, Microsoft OneDrive not syncing when it says it is; OneDrive not syncing all files; OneDrive documents not syncing; OneDrive syncing folders but not files; OneDrive not syncing initial files; OneDrive not syncing between computers or across devices; sometimes, OneDrive not syncing and missing; sometimes, OneDrive just not sync after upgrading to Windows 10. No matter which situation you are in, you will find a solution below. This article is somehow long, please take your patience or just find what you need through the quick guidance:

Fix Microsoft OneDrive Not Syncing Properly On Windows 10/8/7

Before try the following solutions, first of all, make sure you can access onedrive.com online. Check the status of Microsoft Office Online Services at the Service Health portal.

Solution 1. Pause, Restart, Relink, Reinstall

The easiest and most frequently tries after OneDrive on computer not syncing is to pause the program for certain time and resume it; restart the program or restart computer; unlink this PC from OneDrive and relink it back as well as reinstall OneDrive.


Unlink This PC from OneDrive
Unlink This PC from OneDrive

Solution 2. Check Account connection

If you are suffering OneDrive app not syncing after system update, you may need to check for whether your Microsoft is connected to operating system or not.

Tips: This solution is for users whose OneDrive shares account with Windows system. If your OneDrive account is not the same one of system account, skip this solution.

1. Open Windows Settings from Start or by “Windows + I” keys.

2. Click “Accounts”.

3. In the next window, check out whether the current account is what you planed or not. If not, just click “Sign in with a Microsoft account instead” and follow the guidance to switch your account.


Switch Microsoft Account
Switch Microsoft Account

Solution 3. Update OneDrive

Sometimes, update OneDrive to its very latest version will solve some problems that caused by its old versions.


Update OneDrive
Update OneDrive

You can also update your system to the newest version. While update system, OneDrive will be updated.

Solution 4. Manually Select Source Folders

Through many changes recently, placeholders and automatic sync utilities have been removed. Especially, in Windows 10, you have to select the files or folders that you want to sync manually. At least, you have to first of all set up sync tasks by yourselves.

To back up from local to cloud, on the one hand, you can directly drag files to local OneDrive folder. On the other hand, you can set to automatically save items in Desktop, Documents or Pictures to OneDrive, you can go to Auto Save tab in OneDrive settings and select “OneDrive” in each drop-down menu next to each folder. You can also choose to automatically save photos and videos to OneDrive whenever you connect a camera, phone, or other devices to your PC; or, automatically save screenshots you capture to OneDrive there.


OneDrive Auto Save
OneDrive Auto Save

To sync from cloud to local, go to Account tab and click “Choose folders”. In the pop-up window, select the folders you want to sync back to computer. If you want them all be synced, just tick “Make all files available”.


OneDrive Choose Folders
OneDrive Choose Folders

Tips: If you don’t select all items, when someone share a file to you online, it won’t be synced to local device until you choose it manually.

Solution 5. Reduce the Load of OneDrive

If OneDrive stuck for a long time without any progress, it maybe the current load of OneDrive is large. You may consider to release its burden by moving some files out of its sync folder temporarily.

1. Pause OneDrive syncing;

2. Move some files out of sync folder;

3. Resume OneDrive syncing.

4. When the sync finishes, move those files back to sync folder and they will be automatically synced to cloud.


OneDrive Pause Syncing
OneDrive Pause Syncing

Solution 6. Shorten File Path

Limited by Microsoft, the file path (including file name) shouldn’t exceed 400 characters. Otherwise, such file will either be backed up or synced by OneDrive, nor been recognized by OS. Even, sometimes, files with long file path won’t be synchronized successfully.


OneDrive Cannot Sync File with Long File Path
OneDrive Cannot Sync File with Long File Path

Therefore, if OneDrive some files not syncing, go to check for their file paths. If their file paths are comparatively long, try to make them shorter and resync. They should be synced normally.

Anyhow, make sure not to create long path files by making their file or folder name shorter and avoid too many subfolders.

Solution 7. Adjust File/Folder Name or Content

Make sure your files’ or folders’ names don’t contain invalid characters, such as “<, >, :, ", |, ?, *, /, \”, and folders don’t contain unsupported file types.


OneDrive Cannot Sync File with Invalid Characters in Filename
OneDrive Cannot Sync File with Invalid Characters in Filename

Complete restrictions and limitations of files/folders sync >>

Solution 8. Reduce File Size

OneDrive can’t sync a file that is larger than 20 GB. So, if one of your target file larger than 20 GB, it won’t be synced while showing error message like “This files is too big to upload” or “Reduce the size of this file to upload to …”. To solve such problems, just reduce the size of the file by zipping it.


OneDrive This Files Is Too Big to Upload
OneDrive This Files Is Too Big to Upload

Tips:

  • If it’s a picture, you have to give up its high quality if you insist on syncing it.
  • If it’s a video, you can split it into several smaller ones.

Solution 9. Keep Enough Local Storage Space

There is no longer placeholders to indicate files which are only available with Internet connection. Thus, the local device must provide storage space that is no less than the used space of your online OneDrive. Otherwise, OneDrive won’t sync files from cloud drive to local machine.

To create more free space locally, delete the items that you don’t want to keep, clear trash, or save files you don’t use frequently to other devices like external hard drives. You can also increase the space of the partition where OneDrive online files is set to sync to by free space from other partitions.

Solution 10. Dealing with Conflicting Files/Folders

Conflicts may occur when you are editing files that are under syncing, uploading multiple files on the OneDrive website at the same time, or if you made changes in your OneDrive folder on another PC that is syncing at the same time. Once conflicting items exist, rename them and try to sync once more.


OneDrive Cannot Upload Conflict File
OneDrive Cannot Upload Conflict File

Solution 11. Check Internet Connection Speed

OneDrive sync performance can be affected by your internet connection speed. You’d better to upload large or bundle of files in a better internet connection situation such as home Wi-Fi. At the same time, you’d better make sure you have chosen “Don’t limit” in Network settings tab of your OneDrive.


OneDrive Unlimited Network
OneDrive Unlimited Network

Solution 12. Turn on Metered Internet Connection

1. Open Windows Settings.

2. Choose Network & Internet.

3. Click on “Change connection properties” in the right area.

4. In the next window, switch on metered connection.


Turn on Metered Internet Connection
Turn on Metered Internet Connection

Solution 13. Turn off Proxy Settings

If you have proxy on when OneDrive folder not syncing, try to turn off proxy settings and try again.

Solution 14. Turn off Antivirus Software

Sometimes, antivirus programs will treat OneDrive as dangerous program though it’s not and stop OneDrive App from working properly. If this is your situation or if you have no other idea about Microsoft OneDrive desktop not syncing, you can try to turn off your antivirus software.

For OneDrive not syncing Windows 10, you should first turn off the built-in Windows Defender. Go through “Start – Settings – Update & Security – Windows Security” and switch off real-time protection.


Turn off Windows Defender
Turn off Windows Defender

Solution 15. Turn off Firewall

Sometimes, turn off Windows firewall can solve OneDrive not automatically syncing problem. Go to Windows Security window like above, click “Firewall & network protection” and choose a network (domain network, private network or public network) in the popup window. Finally switch off Windows Defender Firewall in the pop-up window.


Turn off Windows Firewall
Turn off Windows Firewall

Solution 16. View Sync Problems

If there is a white cross in a red circle icon on your OneDrive taskbar icon, saying something like “An item couldn’t be uploaded”, click on the icon and select “View sync problems.” Then, a window will pop up describes the error and offers solution. Just carry out the solution and the problem will be solved.


Files Cannot Be Synced with OneDrive
Files Cannot Be Synced with OneDrive

Solution 17. Turn off Office Upload

If you encounter problems during office file syncing, the office upload cache system may interfering with OneDrive. Just turn it off by unchecking “Use Office 2016 to sync Office files that I open” in Office tab of OneDrive settings window.


Turn off Office Sync
Turn off Office Sync

Solution 18. Find Missing Files

Sometimes, missing files can cause OneDrive is not syncing problem. To find the missing file, you can search on onedrive.com, check for recycle bin, search on another Microsoft account, etc. view details >>

Tips: "We’re checking all your files to make sure they are up to date on this PC. This might take a while if you have a lot of files." If you receive this message, you don’t need to do anything.

Solution 19. Make Sure OneDrive Sync Icons Are Enabled

OneDrive sync icons shows that whether a file/folder is synchronized successfully or not.


OneDrive Sync Icons
OneDrive Sync Icons

If you don’t see the little icons next to each file/folder, follow these steps to enable OneDrive icons:

1. Run CMD as administrator.

2. Type “%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\SkyDrive.exe /permachineupdate” and press Enter.

3. Restart computer.

Solution 20. Make Sure Windows Search Is Running

1. Open Task Manager.

2. Move to Services tab.

3. Find WSearch to check for its status. If it is running, leave it along. If not, right-click on Wsearch and select “Restart”.


Keep Windows Search Running
Keep Windows Search Running

Solution 21. Make Sure SkyDrive.exe Is Running

1. Got to Details tab of Task Manager.

2. Find SkyDrive.exe to see whether it is running or not. If not, to run SkyDrive, click “File” on top of Task Manager window and select “Run new task” in the drop-down menu. In the pop-up window, enter “skydrive.ext” and click “OK”.


Run SkyDrive
Run SkyDrive

Solution 22. Make Other Programs Compatible with OneDrive

There may be some programs on your computer that is not compatible with OneDrive. So, you can use their compatible mode to solve OneDrive not automatically sync issue.

1. Find the executable file of target program in Windows Explorer (e.g. iexplorer.exe).

2. Right-click on the program and select “Properties”.

3. Click Compatibility tab and check “Enable this program to work with OneDrive files”.

Solution 23. Reset OneDrive

This should be your last resolution for this one will erase all settings you made to your OneDrive software.

1. Run command prompt as administrator.

2. Input “%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset” and press Enter.

Ensure OneDrive taskbar icon is invisible in the bottom right to verify the command order worked. Don’t forget to click the “Show hidden icons” up-arrow to check.

According to Microsoft, OneDrive taskbar icon should reappear two minutes later. If not, manually start it from Start.

Solution 24. OneDrive for Business Not Syncing

For users who have an Office 365 work or school account and refers to the latest version of OneDrive for Business, besides the OneDrive personal not syncing solutions above, you can also try the following solutions. If you're not sure which version of OneDrive for Business you need, contact your Network Administrator.

1. Use the Support and Recovery Assistant for Office 365

Support and Recovery Assistant app is able to identify and fix several issues of OneDrive for business, just download, install and use it to analyze your OneDrive.

2. Make Sure You Have Permissions to the File or Folder

1. Sign in Office 365 with your work or school account.

2. Try to open the file/folder and make sure you can save a copy of it. If you can’t open it, contact your network administrator.

3. Repair, reinstall or update Office

Office repairing, reinstallation or update can sometimes fix sync conflicts between Office and OneDrive.

For users who don’t have Office 365 account and old version OneDrive for Business, except for above all solutions, you can try to repair a OneDrive for Business sync connection.

Solution 25. Fix OneDrive Not Syncing Mac

Before start solving OneDrive iPad not syncing etc. problem, make sure you can access OneDrive online. For OneDrive for Business, make sure you have permissions to the file or folder you tried to sync.

Tips: Some of above solutions for OneDrive on PC not syncing also applies to Mac though the detailed operations aren’t the same.

1. Make Sure OneDrive Process Is Running

1. Open Activity Monitor from Utilities folder in Applications folder. Or, directly find Activity Monitor by Spotlight.

2. Move to CPU tab and find OneDrive in Process Column.

3. If OneDrive isn’t running, use Finder or Spotlight to start it.

2. Update OneDrive

If you installed OneDrive using standalone installer, OneDrive will get updated automatically without using Mac App Store.

If you ever installed OneDrive from Mac App Store, open OneDrive and check if there is an Update button in the app. If there is, click it to update your OneDrive.

3. Restart/Relink/Reinstall OneDrive

4. Keep Enough Space for both Online OneDrive and Local OneDrive Folder

5. Sync Right Folders

During the first setup of OneDrive, just click “Choose folders to sync” to specify source folders on Mac to synchronize to cloud. If you did not set up this, you can do in Preferences later.

If you have other items stored in OneDrive cloud but don’t sync them to Mac, you won’t see them on your machine. If you want to view them on your computer, just select them in OneDrive General settings tab.


OneDrive Mac General Sync
OneDrive Mac General Sync

Tips:

  • If you only sync some folders not all of them, new items you add to OneDrive from the website or other devices won’t be synchronized to your Mac computer unless they are in the folders you pick to sync.
  • You are unable to select individual files and files/folders shared to you to sync.
  • If folder syncing is stopped on Mac, the folders will be deleted from local OneDrive folder, yet, the online version will remain.

6. Check Filenames, File Size & File Path

Make sure the target files you plan to sync don’t carry filenames including illegal characters like:

. " * : < > ? / \ |

Ensure that each of target file size is no larger than 20 GB. If an error message appears and says "This file is too big to upload" or "Reduce the size of this file to upload to...", please compress the file/folder and try to sync again.

Make sure the whole file path, including the final filename, is no longer than 400 characters. If some items failed to sync and bear comparatively long file path, you may consider to shorten their file path and retry syncing.

More restricts on files in OneDrive >>

7. Reset OneDrive

1. Exit OneDrive program.

2. Go to Applications folder to find out OneDrive.

3. Right-click on it and choose “Show packaged contents”.

4. Move to Contents/Resources folder.

5. Double click on ResetOneDriveApp.command or ResetOneDriveStandaloneApp.command to start the command order.

6. Restart OneDrive App and finish setup process.

Tips: When ask you to choose location while setup, please select previous syncing location. Thus, your files won’t be downloaded again if they haven’t changed during reset.

Troubleshoot OneDrive Files Not Syncing on Mobile

Solution 26. OneDrive Not Syncing Android

Before start, make sure your OneDrive App can connect to Internet. Some apps and features may only work with Wi-Fi according to your device settings or mobile data plan.

1. OneDrive Camera Roll Not Syncing

If your camera roll not syncing automatically, or only some images get uploaded, do as follows:

1. Check for Wi-Fi connection. If Wi-Fi is not connected, go to OneDrive settings for camera upload on metered connections and make sure it is turn on.


OneDrive Android Camera Upload on Metered Connections
OneDrive Android Camera Upload on Metered Connections

2. Turn off camera upload in OneDrive app settings. Go to OneDrive website and rename your Camera Roll folder. Then, turn on camera upload.

This will re-upload all your camera pictures to cloud drive; you’d better keep strong Internet connection during uploading.

2. Camera Upload Very Slow

If the camera upload of your OneDrive taking too long to set up and look for photos without any error message, it may due to you have a lot of pictures in camera roll. Just remove some photos to another place and add them back when the uploading of left photos finishes. Then, OneDrive will start uploading the re-added ones.

3. Reinstall OneDrive

4. OneDrive Can’t access this file

If OneDrive not syncing certain files saying cannot access them, then, these files might be opening currently in another application. Save changes of the files and close the program. Then, retry upload.

5. OneDrive Can’t Upload This File to This Location

This is caused by too long file path (including file name). The whole file path must count less than 442 characters. Just shorten the file path will solve OneDrive not syncing.

6. OneDrive Can’t Find This File/Folder

The target file might have been deleted, moved or renamed before you try to upload it. Try to locate it manually and re-upload.

Tips: This error message may exist if you have moved the file on your computer after an automatic uploading.

7. You’re out of Storage

If your OneDrive is running out of storage and the available space size is less than the size of uploading files, the uploading will get such warning message. To upload new files, you should either buy more cloud space or clean out unwanted items from OneDrive.


Free up OneDrive Storage
Free up OneDrive Storage

8. A File with This Name Already Exists

Just rename the file you are uploading and it will be uploaded.

9. This File Contains Restricted Characters

This means that the target file’s name contains characters that is illegal:

/ \ < > : * " ? |

File or folder names that are not allowed: AUX, PRN, NUL, CON, COM0, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT0, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, LPT9

Tips: File/folder can’t begin or end with a space; end with a period.

Solution 27. OneDrive IPhone App Not Syncing

Still, make sure your OneDrive App can connect to Internet. Some apps and features may only work with Wi-Fi according to your device settings or mobile data plan.

1. OneDrive Pictures Not Syncing

If OneDrive not syncing all photos or some photos on your camera roll, do like these:

1. Keep OneDrive app open and running foreground. iOS sometimes not allow some apps working background.

2. If Wi-Fi isn’t connected, check OneDrive app to keep camera upload on metered connections option is On.

3. Disable camera upload; rename Camera Roll folder in OneDrive website and enable camera upload.


OneDrive Camera Upload
OneDrive Camera Upload

Tips:

  • OneDrive can’t sync photos optimized for iCloud. To remove optimization, tap “Settings – iClod – Photos” and uncheck “Optimize Storage”.
  • Switch on location settings may help with camera upload. Tap “Settings – Privacy – Location service – OneDrive – Always” to turn on location.
  • 2. Camera Roll Takes Too Long

    1. Reduce photos amount in camera roll.

    2. Switch off “Optimize Storage” in iOS photo & picture settings.

    3. Let OneDrive running overnight and take its time.

    Tips: Signing out or reinstallation is not recommended for they will only cause the process to begin again.

    3. Cannot See Video or Image Thumbnails

    Apple adopt new image and video formats in iOS 11 that are not compatible with common devices and services. Thus, to keep up with iOS, please keep OneDrive app up-to-date by enabling Background App Refresh in OneDrive general settings.

    Also, you can on the other hand turn videos back to standard format by select “Most Compatible” in iOS “Settings – Camera – Formats”.

    4. Reinstall OneDrive

    5. OneDrive Can’t Access This File

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    6. OneDrive Can’t Upload This File to This Location

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    7. OneDrive Can’t Find This File/Folder

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    8. You’re out of Storage

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    9. A File with This Name Already Exists

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    10. This File Contains Restricted Characters

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    Solution 28. Windows Phone OneDrive Not Syncing

    1. OneDrive Camera Roll Not Syncing

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    2. Camera Upload Very Slow

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    3. Reset OneDrive

    4. OneDrive Can’t Access This File

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    5. OneDrive Can’t Upload This File to This Location

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    6. OneDrive Can’t Find This File/Folder

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    7. You’re out of Storage

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    8. A File with This Name Already Exists

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    9. This File Contains Restricted Characters

    Please refer to above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

    Conclusion

    If all above solutions fail to solve your problem, you can still try the following ways for help:

    Yet, you can make use of a third party service to upload files to OneDrive cloud. Here, MultCloud, a cloud storage manager, is recommended. With it, you can not only upload local items to online cloud, but also download from cloud to local, transfer/sync/backup files from one cloud to another, etc. Just add cloud account (not only OneDrive, it supports about 30 common cloud brands) to its platform; it will make your cloud management easy.


    Added Cloud Drives in MultCloud
    Added Cloud Drives in MultCloud
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