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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 did not sync when it says it is:

  • OneDrive not sync 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 does not sync after upgrading to Windows 10. 

No matter which situation you are in, you will find a solution below.

How to Fix Microsoft OneDrive Not Syncing Properly on Windows/Mac/Mobile

Before trying the following solutions, first of all, make sure you can access the OneDrive home page online, and check the status of Microsoft Office Online Services at the Service Health portal.

28 free and feasible ways will be introduced in the following parts. If you just want to stop the sync process, please refer to how to stop OneDrive from syncing.

Solution 1. Pause, Restart, Relink, Reinstall

The easiest and most frequently tries when OneDrive not syncing on a computer is to pause the program for a certain time and resume it. You can restart the program or restart the computer, or 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 whether your Microsoft is connected to the operating system or not.

Step 1. Open Windows Settings from Start or by the “Windows + I” keys.
Step 2. Click “Accounts”.
Step 3. In the next window, check out whether the current account is what you planned 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

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

Solution 3. Update OneDrive

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

Update OneDrive
Update OneDrive

You can also update your system to the newest version. While updating 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 should select the files or folders that you want to sync manually. At least, you should first set up sync tasks by yourselves.

To back up from local to cloud, on the one hand, you can directly drag files to the local OneDrive folder. On the other hand, you can set it to automatically save items on the desktop, and Documents or Pictures to OneDrive. Or, 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 upload photos 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 all data be synced, just tick “Make all files available”. 

OneDrive Choose Folders
OneDrive Choose Folders

Note: 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 is stuck for a long time without any progress, it may be that the current load of OneDrive is large. You may consider releasing its burden by moving some files out of its sync folder temporarily.

Step 1. Pause OneDrive syncing.
Step 2. Move some files out of sync folder.
Step 3. Resume OneDrive syncing.
Step 4. When the sync finishes, move those files back to the sync folder and they will be automatically synced to the cloud.

OneDrive Pause Syncing
OneDrive Pause Syncing

Solution 6. Shorten File Path

Limited by Microsoft, the file path (including file name) should not be exceeded 400 characters. Otherwise, such file will either be backed up or synced by OneDrive nor be recognized by OS. Even, sometimes, files with long file paths 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 avoiding 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. Click here to know the complete restrictions and limitations of syncing files/folders.

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

Solution 8. Reduce File Size

OneDrive for Business can’t sync a file that is larger than 2 GB (renew to 10GB now). So, if one of your target file larger than 10 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

Notes:

  • If the file is a picture, you should give up its high quality if you insist on syncing it.
  • If the file is a video, you can split it into several smaller ones.

Solution 9. Keep Enough Local Storage Space

There are no longer placeholders to indicate files that are only available with an 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 the cloud drive to a local machine.

To get more free unlimited cloud storage 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 are 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, you can 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 upload a large or bundles 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 the “Don’t limit” in the "Network" settings tab of your OneDrive.

OneDrive Unlimited Network
OneDrive Unlimited Network

Solution 12. Turn on Metered Internet Connection

Step 1. Open Windows Settings.
Step 2. Choose Network & Internet.
Step 3. Click on “Change connection properties” in the right area.
Step 4. In the next window, switch on the metered connection.

Turn on Metered Internet Connection
Turn on Metered Internet Connection

Solution 13. Turn Off Proxy Settings

If you have a proxy on when the 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 a 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 the 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 “StartSettings Update & Security Windows Security” and switch off real-time protection.

Turn off Windows Defender
Turn off Windows Defender

Solution 15. Turn Off Firewall

Sometimes, turning off the Windows firewall can solve OneDrive not automatically syncing problem. You should go to the 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, you should 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 that describes the error and offers the solution. You can just carry out the solution and the problem will be solved.

Solution 17. Turn off Office Upload

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

Turn Off Office Sync
Turn Off Office Sync

Solution 18. Find Missing Files

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

Note: "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 show whether a file/folder is synchronized successfully or not. If you don’t see the little icons next to each file/folder, follow these steps to enable OneDrive icons:

OneDrive Sync Icons
OneDrive Sync Icons

Step 1. Run CMD as administrator.
Step 2. Type “%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\SkyDrive.exe /permachineupdate” and press "Enter".
Step 3. Restart the computer.

Solution 20. Make Sure Windows Search is Running

Step 1. Open "Task Manager".
Step 2. Move to "Services" tab.
Step 3. Find "WSearch" to check for its status. If it is running, leave it alone. 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

Step 1. Got to "Details" tab of "Task Manager".
Step 2. Find "SkyDrive.exe" to see whether it is running or not. If not, to run SkyDrive, click “File” on top of the Task Manager window and select “Run new task” in the drop-down menu. In the pop-up window, enter “skydrive.exe” 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.

Step 1. Find the executable file of the target program in Windows Explorer (e.g. iexplorer.exe).
Step 2. Right-click on the program and select “Properties”.
Step 3. Click the "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.

Step 1. Run command prompt as administrator.
Step 2. Input “%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset” and press "Enter".

Please ensure the 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, the 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 refer to the latest version of OneDrive for Business, besides the solutions for "OneDrive personal not syncing" 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 can 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

Step 1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.
Step 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 updating can sometimes fix sync conflicts between Office and OneDrive. For users who don’t have Office 365 account and an 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 on 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.

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

1. Make Sure OneDrive Process is Running

Step 1. Open Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. Or, directly find Activity Monitor by Spotlight.
Step 2. Move to the CPU tab and find OneDrive in Process Column.
Step 3. If OneDrive isn’t running, use Finder or Spotlight to start it.

2. Update OneDrive

If you installed OneDrive using the 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 the cloud. If you did not set up this, you can do it in "Preferences" later.

If you have other items stored in the 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 the OneDrive "General" settings tab.

OneDrive Mac General Sync
OneDrive Mac General Sync

Notes:

  • 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 with you to sync.
  • If folder syncing is stopped on Mac, the folders will be deleted from the 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 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 a comparatively long file path, you may consider shortening their file path and retrying syncing.

If you want know more restricts on files in OneDrive, please click here.

7. Reset OneDrive

Step 1. Exit the OneDrive program.
Step 2. Go to the "Applications" folder to find out OneDrive.
Step 3. Right-click on it and choose “Show packaged contents”.
Step 4. Move to "Contents/Resources" folder.
Step 5. Double click on "ResetOneDriveApp.command" or "ResetOneDriveStandaloneApp.command" to start the command order.
Step 6. Restart OneDrive App and finish the setup process.

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

Solution 26. OneDrive Not Syncing on Android

Before getting started, make sure your OneDrive App can connect to the 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 turned 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 the OneDrive website and rename your Camera Roll folder. Then, turn on the camera upload.

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

2. Camera Upload Very Slow

If the camera upload of your OneDrive takes too long to set up and look for photos without any error message, it may be due to you having a lot of pictures in the 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 is not syncing certain files saying cannot access them, then, these files might be opening currently in another application. Save changes to the files and close the program. Then, retry the upload.

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

This is caused by too long a file path (including file name). The whole file path must count less than 442 characters. Just shortening 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.

Note: This error message may exist if you have moved the file on your computer after 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 a 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 are 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.

Note: 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 the 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:

Step 1. Keep the OneDrive app open and running foreground. iOS sometimes does not allow some apps working the background.
Step 2. If Wi-Fi isn’t connected, check the OneDrive app to keep camera upload on metered connections option is On.
Step 3. Disable camera upload, rename the Camera Roll folder on the OneDrive website and enable camera upload.

OneDrive Camera Upload
OneDrive Camera Upload

Notes:

  • OneDrive can’t sync photos optimized for iCloud. To remove optimization, tap “SettingsiCloud Photos” and uncheck “Optimize Storage”.
  • Switching on the location settings may help with camera upload. Tap “Settings Privacy Location serviceOneDrive Always” to turn on location.

2. Camera Roll Takes Too Long

Step 1. Reduce photo amount in the camera roll.
Step 2. Switch off “Optimize Storage” in iOS photo & picture settings.
Step 3. Let OneDrive run overnight and take its time.

Note: 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 adopts 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 the 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 selecting “Most Compatible” in iOS “Settings Camera Formats”.

4. Reinstall OneDrive

5. OneDrive Can’t Access This File: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

6. OneDrive Can’t Upload This File to This Location: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

7. OneDrive Can’t Find This File/Folder: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

8. You’re out of Storage: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

9. A File with This Name Already Exists: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

10. This File Contains Restricted Characters: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

Solution 28. Windows Phone OneDrive Not Syncing

1. OneDrive Camera Roll Not Syncing: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

2. Camera Upload Very Slow: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

3. Reset OneDrive

4. OneDrive Can’t Access This File: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

5. OneDrive Can’t Upload This File to This Location: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

6. OneDrive Can’t Find This File/Folder: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

7. You’re out of Storage: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

8. A File with This Name Already Exists: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

9. This File Contains Restricted Characters: Please refer to the above “OneDrive not syncing android”.

Conclusion

If all the 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. Here, MultCloud, a cloud storage manager, is recommended. With it, you can not only upload local items to the online cloud, but also download from cloud to local, transfer/sync/backup files from one cloud to another, etc. Just add a cloud account (not only OneDrive, but it also supports more than 30 popular cloud storage services) to its platform, which can help you manage multiple cloud storage accounts easily.

Added Cloud Drives in MultCloud
Added Cloud Drives in MultCloud

MultCloud Supports Clouds

Multcloud Key Features