Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How Do I Get Rid of OneDrive?

When you’re just done with the intrusiveness and confusion.

Some people just want it GONE. I'll show you how to get rid of OneDrive.
The main feature is a large, central OneDrive icon with a striking red 'X' across it, symbolizing the goal of removal. Surrounding this icon are smaller images of frustrated users at their computers, overwhelmed by OneDrive notifications and pop-ups. Each user's face shows clear annoyance and confusion, representing the intrusiveness of OneDrive. The background includes a concise list of steps for uninstalling OneDrive, like 'Unlink account', 'Uninstall OneDrive app', and 'Organize files'. The design should be bold and straightforward, making it very clear that the tutorial is about removing OneDrive from a Windows computer, appealing to viewers who are looking for a solution to this specific issue.
(Image: DALL-E 3,

It’s unfortunate, really, because OneDrive is a powerful program and has some convenient tools.

However, it’s become intrusive and downright dangerous in some situations. This has led many people to just want it gone.

Let’s do that.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!


Getting rid of OneDrive

  • Unlink your account in OneDrive Settings.
  • Uninstall the OneDrive app from the Windows installed apps list.
  • Leave the OneDrive folder alone, but organize your files however you like.

Your files

While it’s always good to start with a backup, the processes I’ll outline below should not delete any data.

  • Your online account at will not be affected. Any files uploaded there will remain uploaded.
  • Other machines signed into the same OneDrive account will not be affected. Any files they have there will remain.
  • Even on the machine on which you uninstall OneDrive, the files will remain on your PC in a folder named OneDrive. (Files that were already online only will not.)

This process affects OneDrive running on a single PC and nothing else.


This is a great place to start and might be all you need.

Right-click on the OneDrive icon in the taskbar notification area and then click on Settings.

OneDrive notification area menu.
OneDrive notification area menu. (Screenshot:

In Settings, make sure the Account section is selected.

OneDrive Settings Account page.
Unlinking your PC from OneDrive. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

Click on Unlink this PC.

In the resulting confirmation dialog, click on Unlink account.

OneDrive unlink confirmation.
OneDrive unlink confirmation. (Screenshot:

That’s it.

While technically OneDrive is still installed and running, it has nothing to do. The association between your machine and your account has been broken. OneDrive will no longer affect, synchronize, or otherwise operate on the files on your machine.

I recommend this as a first step. Do nothing more for “a while”. If you later discover that there was something about OneDrive that you miss or need, you can simply set up OneDrive again with the same account, and you’ll be back in business.

Something else to consider: This may be all you need. Again, while OneDrive is still installed and running, it’s doing nothing. Any problems you were having with it should no longer exist.

OK, ok. You want to get rid of it for real?

Uninstall the app

In the Windows Settings app, open the list of installed apps. Scroll down until you find Microsoft OneDrive.

OneDrive in the installed apps list.
Uninstalling OneDrive in the installed apps list. Click for larger image. (Screenshot:

Click on the ellipsis (“…”) at the right end of the OneDrive entry and then click on Uninstall.

That’s it.1 OneDrive is no longer installed or running on this machine.

And your files are where you left them.

That OneDrive folder

When all of this is done, a folder named OneDrive will remain. This does not mean OneDrive is present or running; it’s just a folder that happens to be named OneDrive. You’ll find it in:


All the files you used to have in OneDrive on your PC will be there. It’s just a folder, nothing more, and you can store the files in it if you like or move them elsewhere on your PC.

I recommend you leave the folder itself alone, simply because the OneDrive backup “feature” (not to be confused with using OneDrive for backup; this is a specific feature within OneDrive) can damage a few things that uninstalling won’t fix. Removing the OneDrive folder (or potentially even renaming it) could still cause errors.

OneDrive is gone, but the memory lingers.

Do this

My recommendation is that you learn to live with, if not love, OneDrive. It’s a very powerful tool, despite its flaws, and it (along with some cloud storage) is yours for free.

However, if you just can’t take it anymore, I get it, and now you know how to get rid of OneDrive.

Don’t get rid of this: Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

Podcast audio


Footnotes & References

1: For a more aggressive removal, uninstall using a tool like Revo Uninstaller. The free version will run the OneDrive uninstall for you and then clean up afterward. The Pro version should perform the cleanup even if you’ve already uninstalled OneDrive. In my opinion, neither is required, but I know some people have developed strong opinions about OneDrive.

23 comments on “How Do I Get Rid of OneDrive?”

  1. How can I be certain I have not left important files on one drive once I disconnect? Is it possible to download all the files on one drive to my hard drive before I disconnect? Will the downloaded files go to the places where they belong? Will I (sad) be burdened down with a gigantic number of duplicate files?

  2. I’d move my files from the OneDrive folder to Documents. That is unnecessary, but I’m a belt and suspenders guy and just feel more comfortable doing that. I’d still leave the OneDrive folder on the drive. In that case, it may not even be necessary to unlink the drive as I might want to use it to send links to large files.

  3. I have had no end of trouble with onedrive over the years, mainly due to Microsoft re-enabling it when I install updates. I partition my system with C and D drives, reserving C for Windows and applications, and D for user files. I found the most Microsoft-proof way to prevent my files from ending up on C was to open a command shell, locate to the onedrive folder on C, then run the following commands:

    ren Documents Documents.old
    ren Pictures Pictures.old

    junction Documents “D:\My Documents”
    junction Pictures “D:\My Pictures”

    Note that this requires the program junction.exe which is part of the excellent free Sysinternals suite availble from Microsoft.

  4. Nothing you described in your post about unlinking from onedrive is on my computer. When I right click on the onedrive icon all I get is, Onedrive, Unplug from onedrive, and close window. There is no settings link there. When I open onedrive and click on the three dots next to the ? mark and open the settings link I do not get anything you describe in your article.

  5. I think that the “Backup” feature should be considered ransomware.
    Without permission or notice It moves files from your computer to the cloud, deletes them from your computer, and then attempts to force you to buy more cloud storage space. I am surprised no one has filed suit against Microsoft for this. Attorneys wake up!

  6. Yesterday afternoon I was frantically trying to finish a PowerPoint presentation for 6 PM. I needed to switch from my laptop to my desktop which has 2 screens. Both have Win 10 and Office 2019. But on the Desktop I kept getting messages saying that it could not save because it could not sync. I wondered sync with what?? And then I guessed that it may have something to do with Onedrive which I never use deliberately and know little about. So the timing of this article is perfect for me.

  7. First, happy new year to all.
    But let’s take a step back for a moment. Why is it now that there is suddenly a realization that something like OneDrive can cause problems? Over the years, on these AskLeo pages, I’ve made comments such as (paraphrasing):

    – Backing up is just copying files somewhere else. For home computer users there should be no high tech magic.

    – Depending on some exotic, proprietary tool for backups is eventually going to get you in trouble. Because you have no idea what it’s doing.

    – If you don’t exactly understand what a tool does and how it does it, don’t use it. At least, don’t use it until you thoroughly understand the caveats and risks.

    – Any tool that updates automatically and changes its features automatically is going to surprise you – in a bad way.

    – Never copy any of your personal files into any Microsoft or Windows folders. That includes the innocuously named “documents”, “pictures”, etc.

    – Always keep your personal files on a separate partition, away from the Windows OS.

    Having said that, I just noticed Leo’s other article about “Yes, You Should Give Google Your Mobile Number”. Anxiously waiting for the follow up article on how you recover your phone number from Google.

  8. Hi – I am one of those who doesn’t trust One Drive and has always preferred to save my files to my own (backed-up) hard drive.

    I’ve just followed Leo’s advice to unlink my PC from one-drive, and uninstalled it. I restarted my PC. I’ve checked my Settings to see where my default storage is pointing – and it all says Windows (C:/)

    BUT – when I go to save a Word document, for example, my PC still wants me to save it to One Drive!

    Why is this, when so far as I can see One Drive is no longer on my PC? Help please.

  9. Further to removing Onedrive, I followed the suggestions and tried to go the complete purge route but Microsoft seems to insist on leaving hooks in. For example, I typically relocate the “My” folders to equivalent folders on D. Microsoft has provided a method to do this. You right click a folder (like My Music), select properties, the click on the Location tab. Once you do that you can click the Move button on the new window. This works for most folders, but not for My Documents and My Pictures. When you try you get

    The folder can’t be moved here

    Can’t move the folder because there is a folder in the same location that can’t be redirected.

    Access is denied.

    I have tried redirecting My Documents and My Pictures from the Onedrive folder by replacing them with junction points to D. While this sorta works, when I select, for example, My Pictures in Explorer, even though it shows my the proper file set on D, the address bar still says I am in the Onedrive\My Pictures folder.

    Before you ask, I tried renaming Onedrive to Onedrive.old (rather than outright deleting it) and just got Access Denied ( I was in a terminal window as admin). This was after unlinking Onedrive and uninstalling it.

    • Microsoft is heavy handed. We get so many rants about how an update changed so many settings or dropped an app they were using. I’m typing this on a Linux machine which doesn’t have those problems (they have others ;-) ). Inconveniences are a way of life with computers.

  10. Even if you go to the following section in the registry

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

    and manually modify the entries for My Pictures and Personal (WTF did they call it this instead of My Documents), selecting properties shows that Windows still thinks theae folders are under Onedrive. Just in case, after I made the changes I did a reboot. Still no change.

    Looking further I found the section

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    Modifying the entries for My Pictures and Personal (again, WTF) did in fact make the changes that reflected in the Properties window.

  11. Dear Leo,

    HELP! I am 81 years old, and my grey matter is not what is once was. I am terrified. OneDrive was installed by a “computer expert”. Ever since my files have entered the Twilight Zone. OneDrive has changed the filenames of some of my files and others are left adrift in a sea of confusions. I defy anyone to find the files I work on every day. There are so many locations where the filed could be found, perhaps. I now spend most of my time trying to locate a file instead of working on the file. How do I revert to my original MS Word and Excel files devoid of OneDrive’s renaming. In a perfect world, which I once occupied along with my files, I could look down an alphabetical list in MS Excel or simple choose from the most recent since the files could be ordered accordingly. By the by, the search function seldom results in anything that might interest me. Please help me to regain what little sanity I used to possess. Ever thankful for your help.

  12. Microsoft could have set it up so that when someone exceeded their quota, the file could have been moved to an unlinked overflow folder. It’s incompetent design. People criticized Bill Gates, but it now seems Microsoft isn’t hiring the caliber of engineers and designers they used to.


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.