Microsoft OneDrive help – your problems solved

Fix Microsoft OneDrive in Windows and get it working again

OneDrive is Microsoft’s online storage, a drive in the cloud where you can put your files for safe keeping or to enable them to be accessed from other computers and devices. Here are some solutions to common problems.

Although OneDrive is a remote online facility, it has a local offline component too. The OneDrive folder on the disk drive in Windows 8 and 10, is a mirror image of everything stored online. Windows 7 users can join in the fun by installing the OneDrive app from the website too.

It works perfectly well for most people, but a small number of people have problems with it and some of those problems are addressed here. Hopefully, they will enable you to get OneDrive up and running again.

Won’t or can’t sign in

OneDrive on the computer has to sign in with OneDrive online so that the two can be kept in sync. This sometimes causes problems. The OneDrive app might be running on the computer, but it cannot log in. To see the status of OneDrive go to the right side of the taskbar, click the little up arrow to show the tray of notification icons, and let the mouse hover over the OneDrive cloud icon.

It should say “OneDrive up to date”, although if you have just made changes or just switched on the computer, it might not yet have finished syncing. It should not say that you are not signed in.

If it fails to sign in and there is nothing wrong with your internet connection, here’s a solution that has worked for many people:

  1. Right click the OneDrive icon and click Exit to close it down.
  2. Click or right click the Start button and select Control Panel.
  3. In small icons view, click User Accounts.
  4. Click Manage your credentials on the left.
  5. Select Windows Credentials at the top.
  6. Click OneDrive cached credential to expand the section.
  7. Click Remove.
  8. Run OneDrive (press Windows+S and search for OneDrive, then click it).

 Windows credentials

Reset OneDrive

If you are having problems with OneDrive, such as files that won’t sync, error messages that won’t go away and other miscellaneous issues, try resetting it. It can sometimes clear the problem.

  1. Right click the OneDrive icon and click Exit to close it down.
  2. Press Windows+R to open the Run box.
  3. Enter %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset
  4. Wait a minute or two, then run OneDrive (press Windows+S and search for OneDrive, then click it, or press Windows+R and enter %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe)

 Windows Run box

This can take a long time because everything on OneDrive must be synced again and that could mean several gigabytes of files. Do it when you have the time and when you have a fast internet connection.

Problems with files

Filenames must not be too long, so keep them short. The path and filename together must be shorter than 255 characters. So C:\Users\YourName\OneDrive\filename or any file you are trying to upload to OneDrive from elsewhere like the Documents or Pictures folders, should be less than 255 characters.

Big files, such as video clips, can cause problems. The size limit is about 10GB, but handling files this big in online storage is very slow. You are best avoiding putting any files larger than a couple of gigabytes on OneDrive anyway, just for the sake of speed.

Some old web browsers cannot upload files larger than 300MB if you are accessing OneDrive in a browser. Putting the file in the OneDrive folder and letting it sync gets around this problem. If you are on someone else’s computer, such as work PC or friend’s PC you can’t do that of course, so keep files small(ish).

Avoid these characters in filenames: / \ < > : * " ? | because they have special meanings – slashes are used in paths for example, like c:.

Avoid these names for files or folders: AUX, PRN, NUL, CON, COM0, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4, COM5, COM6, COM7, COM8, COM9, LPT0, LPT1, LPT2, LPT3, LPT4, LPT5, LPT6, LPT7, LPT8, LPT9. They date back to the days of DOS and are reserved for printer and other ports.

Disable OneDrive

It is hard to imagine why someone would not want OneDrive, but apparently there are a few. The OneDrive app can be prevented from running if you don’t need it.

  1. Right click the OneDrive icon in the tray of icons at the right side of the taskbar and select Settings.
  2. Select the Settings tab in the window that appears.
  3. Clear the tick against Start OneDrive automatically when I sign into Windows.
  4. Restart Windows.

OneDrive won’t run and it won’t sync the folder. It won’t delete any files and it won’t add any that you create on the OneDrive website.

 OneDrive settings

Reinstall OneDrive

Some errors might be resolved by reinstalling OneDrive. It’s worth trying.

  1. Right click the OneDrive icon and click Exit to close it down.
  2. Press Windows+R to open the Run box.
  3. Enter %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive to open an Explorer window
  4. Open the Update folder.
  5. Double click OneDriveSetup.exe

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1 Comment on Microsoft OneDrive help – your problems solved

  1. Antti Kalliomäki // 2017/10/01 at 19:25 // Reply

    No help! There is continuously a message on the screen “You must update OneDrive”. There is no active One Drive icon on the screen (not even in hidden icons) and when you load One Drive set up it wont start. It is very annoying to get useless message again and again and again on the screen.

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