OneDrive: Choosing the Right Installation Settings for OneDrive for Windows


Potential Issue: Upon login to OneDrive Desktop Client, it prompts you to “back up” your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures to OneDrive. The default has this feature selected and user must unselect this option for each folder.

Users are going quickly through the installation and clicking through this prompt without unselecting this back up, and there is no language on this screen that explains files and folders are moved to OneDrive, not just “backed up.”


What happens when you start this back up?

  • It is not a back up of the Desktop, Documents, and Pictures. It actually moves folders and files from Desktop, Documents, and Pictures from your local machine to OneDrive.  The location of the Quick Access shortcuts is changed from your local machine to OneDrive:

After “back up” your local documents is left empty (because it actually moved the documents):


If the backup completes, it is easier to undo if requested. We have 2 solutions to undoing it:

  • Go to OneDrive settings > Back up > Manage back up > select Stop Back up for each folder

    • The location of your Desktop, Documents, and Pictures return to your local machine but the files remain on OneDrive
    • A shortcut is created to OneDrive on your desktop called “Where are my files” > you can move the files out of this OneDrive folder onto your Desktop and your files are now local
  • Go to your File Explorer, right click your Desktop in the quick access > Properties > Location > click Restore default location
    • This gives 3 messages that your are moving the files and once the files are moved the backup is stopped, Desktop is local again and files are restored to Desktop
    • Repeat for Pictures and Documents


What has been happening when a user realizes this happens:

  • User pauses sync and moves files from OneDrive back to Desktop > realizes files aren’t all there or thinks the problem is fixed, starts the sync again – this creates a loop
  • User stops sync from OneDrive backup settings – partial sync fragments files and some duplicates start showing up or files are sent to the OneDrive recycling bin.
  • User gets prompted that files have been moved to OneDrive recycling bin, can’t find the files and they are not local anymore anyway


    • Copy and archive all files and folders from places that they’ve been located in a safe location in case something gets lost in the process
    • Stop the backup using either the OneDrive settings or User locations (mentioned above)
    • Use Code42 to recover the documents in each location

Other problems noticed:

  • Some folders are not able to be deleted (in use)
    • Even after all syncs were stopped and folders were not in use
    • Restart allowed us to delete the folder
  • OneDrive has files on demand enabled by default.  If users are not prepared for the “OneDrive Backup” feature they may get stuck needing to work in offline mode, and unable to edit files they thought were on their local machine.
  • This message may popup:
  • Even after recovery and OneDrive is not backing up a handful of files/folders don’t return to the Desktop and stayed on OneDrive
    • Recover folder from OneDrive recycling bin (this caused the folder to return to desktop) > Delete from OneDrive and then the folder on the Desktop disappears even though nothing is Backed up or Synced
      • Solution: Recover file from recycling bin (folder returns to Desktop) > Copy folder > Delete from OneDrive (original disappears even though nothing is backed up or synced) and copy remains on desktop


Other Potential Issues:

Problems with shortcuts and sync:

      • On the client with slow internet, it takes days to create a working shortcut in the OneDrive desktop client if there are a lot of files or internet is slow. And it often fails.
      • The first time a shortcut is created is it just called “Documents” in your OneDrive – subsequent ones are named something like “Documents – Collab” or something
        • You can’t rename a shortcut in the web app
        • The issue in the client: If you rename a shortcut in the desktop client you start creating duplicates
      • One user deleted a Synced folder off the desktop client and this deleted the files off the Sharepoint – fixed by recovering the files from the SharePoint recycling bin.
        • The correct way to stop a sync is to go to OneDrive client settings > Account > Stop sync of chosen folder. There is no right click option to stop a sync.



Keywords: "box migration" OneDrive Windows local sync backup backups
Created: 2022-02-11 14:42:58
Updated: 2022-02-11 15:08:08



Article ID: 1310
Thu 5/12/22 1:39 PM
Fri 1/27/23 11:10 PM