9 tips to fix OneDrive synchronization problems on Windows 10

Microsoft claims that OneDrive is the best cloud storage available for Windows 10 to save your documents and settings for all synced devices. But there is no service without flaws, and OneDrive is not an exception – sometimes it just cannot sync as intended. 

Despite numerous updates of the service, it seems that the situation with bad syncing has become even worse over time. Many users left negative comments about the service as they couldn’t even do a simple photo uploading, not mentioning failing to connect with the desktop sync app. Some also reported synchronization problems after upgrading from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.

Microsoft knows about bug and problems and continues to create patches for their cloud storage with every major update. However, it still takes time. So, in this guide, we will cover useful tips and solutions to deal with OneDrive sync issues while you’re waiting for the next update.

Before we proceed to fixing OneDrive sync issues

You must be sure that you have installed the latest available update for your Windows 10 and OneDrive as well. In order to check your update status, go to Settings, click on Update & Security, and select Windows Update.

Also, you must know that currently there is a file size limit for the service – files you sync cannot be larger than 10GB. Now, let’s begin.

1. Restart the OneDrive on your PC

If OneDrive fails to sync a file/folder, it is possible that it is a minor malfunction that can be solved with a simple app reset. Find the OneDrive icon in the notification area and right-click it. If there is no icon, you need to click the “Show hidden icons” arrow – OneDrive will be there. 

Select Exit from the right-click menu.

Next, click Close OneDrive.

Now go the Start menu and use search to find OneDrive among installed apps and programs.

Run OneDrive (the app’s folder will be opened confirming that the app is active).

2. Make sure your OneDrive is connected to Windows 10

OneDrive cannot sync when your account is not connected to Windows 10. Plus, be sure to use the correct Microsoft Account.

Press Win+I on your keyboard to launch the Windows Settings app.

In the Settings menu, click Accounts, and go to Your email and accounts.

Here you can check whether your account is connected or not. If it is not, select Sign in with a Microsoft account instead.

3. Double-check that you have selected OneDrive folders to sync

Those who were using OneDrive from the start cannot help but notice how this service has changed lately. No more placeholders, no automatic syncing. For whatever reason Microsoft decided to use selective syncing instead. It means that users must select files/folders for syncing manually before they can proceed to download or upload.  

If you are one of those who upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, read the instructions below to choose files (folders) you need to sync.

Find the OneDrive icon in the notification area and right-click it. If there is no icon, you need to click the “Show hidden icons” arrow – OneDrive will be there. 

Open the Settings option.

Go to the Account tab.

Click Choose folders.

Now you can either select individual files and folder for syncing or just go with the “Sync all files and folders in my OneDrive” option.

Click OK to save changes made.

Important: if you decide not to go with the “sync all files and folders” option when someone adds new folders (or files), their contents won’t sync with your computer automatically. You will have to select them manually.

4. Complete the OneDrive configuration

It is a common issue on brand new devices. OneDrive cannot sync your files because the app is not configured correctly yet. So you must complete the setup process.

Press Win+E on your keyboard to launch File Explorer.

Look for the OneDrive icon on the left sidebar and click it.

Now pick all the folders and individual files you need to sync.

Wait for the setup to complete.

5. Use short paths in your OneDrive

The significant length of the path might also cause OneDrive sync failure. Microsoft has path recommendations for this matter – with the file name the number of characters must be 255 or less. But even file paths with one hundred characters are considered to be long enough. Here is a perfect example: C:\Users\My_Nickname\Photos\December\Holiday\Family\HappyNewYear\Home\A_picture_of_me_with_my_family_long_name.jpg

The path above contains 114 characters. Avoid using too many subfolders and long names for files. We recommend moving folders closer to the root before syncing.

6. Check available space on your PC

Placeholders used by OneDrive to indicate files and folders that are only available online are now gone. It means that right now you must have at least the same amount of free space on your computer as you have used in OneDrive. If you don’t have enough space on your disks, OneDrive won’t be able to sync your files. You can get additional space on the hard drive by deleting junk files, duplicate content, and or just move some files on an external storage device.

Also, you need to know how much space you are using on OneDrive (to be able to compare it with free space on your hard drives):

  • Open the Start menu and use the search bar to find OneDrive and launch it.
  • Follow the instructions on-screen and select the files to sync. Also, choose the location for syncing your personal files.

7. Scan for file conflicts in the same location

If you changed something with a folder that contains files you are trying to sync, chances are it will result in a conflict. Uploading multiple files via the OneDrive web experience may also cause syncing errors. To avoid this, you should check for conflicting content and rename items when needed. It is also possible that you have experienced a minor malfunction during the process – try to restart the procedure first.

8. Unlink OneDrive

Sometimes particular settings on the computer you are using block OneDrive syncing. To fix this, unlink your account. When it is done, rerun the setup wizard. 

Find the OneDrive icon in the notification area and right-click it. If there is no icon, you need to click the “Show hidden icons” arrow – OneDrive will be there. 

Open the Settings menu.

Select Unlink OneDrive.

The app will launch, and you just need to follow the instructions and select the files you need to be synced to your computer. Also, choose the location for syncing your personal files. 

9. Ultimate solution: reset OneDrive

This should be your last resort when all other methods couldn’t fix the issue. Resetting your OneDrive client helps in most cases. Here is what you need to do:

Press Win+X and click on the Command Prompt (Admin) option.

In the window to appear use this command – %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset – and press Enter.

Check that the OneDrive icon has disappeared from the notification area on your taskbar. It means that the command was executed successfully.

The icon will be back in two minutes or so after the reset. If it didn’t, then open the Start menu and search for OneDrive. Run the app normally.