How to stop syncing libraries or folders in OneDrive

In this post we will detail how to stop syncing libraries or folders from SharePoint or Teams and then how to remove remaining contents from your OneDrive.

In this post:


Syncing libraries/ folders or files from SharePoint or Microsoft Teams lets you his lets you work directly in file explorer in Windows, access files even when you’re offline and sync any changes made to files automatically when you’re back online. From time to time you may not want to sync these files or folders any longer. Here’s how you stop syncing and remove the contents from your OneDrive app.

You can sync libraries, files or folders from SharePoint & Teams in your OneDrive app.

NOTE: If you are unsure how to start syncing files/ folders in OneDrive, there is an article by Microsoft here (although a little out of date). Let me know in the comments if this is something you’d like me to add!

How to stop syncing in OneDrive

  • Click on the OneDrive app icon > Press Help & Settings > Press Settings
Click on the OneDrive app icon > under Help & Settings > Press Settings.
  • A new window will open > Press the Account tab
  • You will see all the locations which are currently syncing > find the one you wish to stop and press stop sync
Choose the location you wish to stop and press stop sync.
  • A message will appear that says “the file/folder will stop syncing. Locally available files will remain on this device while online files will be removed”
  • Press Stop Sync. The location will now disappear from this view. Press OK

How to remove the synced contents from the OneDrive app

Once you have stopped the files/ folders from syncing via OneDrive settings, you now need to remove the remaining location from your OneDrive app:

  • Open OneDrive in file explorer > Select the previously synced location
  • Right-click on the location > Press Delete

NOTE: This will not delete the contents of the location from its source (e.g. SharePoint or Teams). It only deletes the folder from your local machine, even if the files aren’t online only.

Issues & workarounds

#1 I’ve not been able to successfully sync from Teams

It seems I am not alone either! There is a long thread here on the Teams community blog that talks about the same issue I’ve ran into, for lots of other folks. I’m currently running Teams (64 bit) and no matter what Team or channel I try if I press the sync button it just does nothing…the initial syncing window opens but that is it.

The way I’ve gotten around this is to open the files tab in Teams with SharePoint. The sync feature in SharePoint works every time for me so I would suggest that as an alternative until Microsoft can sort out syncing from Teams.

#2 Trying to delete synced folders without pressing stop sync

In the interest of a full end-end test I decided to try to delete the synced files/ folders without actually stopping the sync in OneDrive settings – just to see what happens. Well, if you do this you kind of get stuck in a loop. At first when you press delete you will see this message:

If you then press yes to this, windows explorer won’t actually let you delete the files/ folder. As it begins to delete it just continually tells you the file or folder is in use:

The way to fix this may be pretty obvious at this point – stop syncing from OneDrive!