OneDrive doesn't sync: You can do that

OneDrive doesn't sync: You can do that

If OneDrive doesn't sync the way you want, don't despair. Our tips will show you how to solve such difficulties quickly and easily.

By Sven Wernicke

Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage has been an integral part of Windows for many years. But the service has long been found in many other places: as a backup solution in current Samsung smartphones, as free storage for Microsoft 365 subscribers or simply as an alternative to Google Drive, Apple iCloud or Dropbox. But what use are all the options if OneDrive doesn't even synchronize some data between the computer and the cloud? Often it is only the little things that are problematic. And you can fix these problems quickly without professional knowledge.

OneDrive does not sync – memory full?

It sounds banal, but before you start looking for clues, check whether you still have enough free space on OneDrive. You can access 5 GB free of charge – for more you pay between 2 euros a month (100 GB) and 69 euros or 99 euros a year (1 to 5 TB, Microsoft 365 subscription).

If you have already exhausted the free memory, OneDrive can no longer synchronize properly. What to do? Opt for a paid OneDrive upgrade or delete unnecessary files on OneDrive.

This is how you can find out how much memory you have

  1. In Windows 10/11, right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray.
  2. Click on "Settings".
  3. OneDrive shows you how much memory is used.
  4. If you want to delete content, click on "Manage storage".
  5. Log in to OneDrive with your Microsoft account and remove unnecessary files. Alternatively, delete content in the folder to be synchronized on your hard drive.

The synchronization between Windows and OneDrive should now work again.

Quit and restart OneDrive

"Switch off the computer, then start it up again" – this is a classic among IT tips. But in a way that can help too. In the case of OneDrive, it is usually sufficient to manually end OneDrive and restart it:

  1. In Windows 10/11, right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray.
  2. Select "Quit OneDrive".
  3. Confirm the question whether you really want to close OneDrive.
  4. Restart OneDrive.

Now you can see that OneDrive tries to bring itself up to date after the restart.

If OneDrive does not restart after exiting, which happens occasionally, the task will still run in the background and block synchronization. Then proceed as follows:

  1. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL and start the Task Manager.
  2. Select "OneDrive" under Processes and click on "End Task".
  3. After quitting, restart OneDrive regularly.

Alternatively and intended for experts:

  1. Start the command prompt by entering "cmd" in the search.
  2. Type in: " cd% LOCALAPPDATA% MicrosoftOneDrive"
  3. Now enter "OneDrive.exe / shutdown".
  4. Start the software again by typing "OneDrive.exe".

OneDrive syncing paused (accidentally)

Mouse slipped !? And oneDrive no longer syncs. If you accidentally pause the data synchronization, you can quickly undo this.

  1. In Windows 10/11, right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray.
  2. Select "Continue Syncing".

If you would like to consciously pause this again later, you can choose at the same point whether nothing should happen for two, 8 or 24 hours.

(De) install updates for OneDrive and Windows

If there are problems for some inexplicable reason, for example after a (major) Windows update, it may be due to a faulty update that OneDrive does not synchronize. Then installing new updates or uninstalling the latest updates can help:

  1. Click "Settings> Windows Update".
  2. Select "Update History" to see which updates were last installed.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of this overview page and click on "Uninstall updates".
  4. Select the update to be uninstalled and remove it.
  5. Restart the computer and check whether the synchronization works again.

In the update area of Windows 10/11 you can also search for updates for the operating system. Since OneDrive is a component of Windows, updates can also bring improvements and bug fixes for the cloud offering.

Reconnect to OneDrive

Upgrades, for example from Windows 10 to Windows 11, often result in OneDrive no longer synchronizing. The reason for this is that you are no longer properly connected to the cloud storage with your Microsoft account. You change it like this:

  1. Click "Settings> Accounts"
  2. Check under "Accounts used by other apps" whether your Microsoft account connected to OneDrive has not been set up there.
  3. If this is not (any longer) the case, select "Add accounts" and enter the details of the Microsoft account there.
  4. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray and click "Settings".
  5. Check under "Account" whether the connection between PC and OneDrive exists.

From now on, the synchronization should run as usual again. If not, you can also select "Unlink this PC" and recreate it.

Other settings that prevent OneDrive from synchronizing

In any case, the linchpin of many potential difficulties is the OneDrive app itself. In the settings (system tray right mouse button on the OneDrive symbol) you should check other aspects:

  • In the "Account" tab under "Select folder", folders should actually be selected, otherwise synchronization cannot take place.
  • In the "Network" tab, it is advisable not to define any limits. So: click on "do not limit".
  • In the "Settings" tab, under "General" you can define whether synchronization should take place when your computer is in power-saving mode or on a clocked network.

Also important to know: If the directory or file names are too long, the synchronization can abort or not run completely. You shouldn't use more than 255 characters. Special characters could also cause difficulties.

If nothing helps: reset OneDrive

Unsuccessful and OneDrive still not syncing? It might work with a hard reset, i.e. resetting the program.

  1. Start the command prompt by entering "cmd" in the search.
  2. Type in "% localappdata% MicrosoftOneDriveonedrive.exe / reset"
  3. Restart OneDrive with "% localappdata% MicrosoftOneDriveonedrive.exe".

OneDrive begins the setup process and you can re-establish the connection.


  • Before making extensive changes, check whether you still have free OneDrive storage.
  • Sometimes quitting and restarting the program helps.
  • Most of the options to get OneDrive to sync again can be found in the settings of the OneDrive app.
  • The connection between the operating system and OneDrive is often broken. You can restore this by pairing it with the Microsoft account.
  • Windows updates rarely cause problems. If in doubt, you can uninstall these or install new updates.
  • If nothing helps, try a OneDrive reset.

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