Disable OneDrive in Windows: Easy step by step guide

How to unlink and uninstall OneDrive, stop syncing

Microsoft OneDrive has been bundled with Windows for many years and while some people find it useful, others do not. If you want to remove this app from Windows, here is an easy guide.

OneDrive is a special folder on the disk of a Windows computer (it can be installed on an Apple Mac too), that is kept in sync with free or paid online storage provided my Microsoft. Files and folders created in the OneDrive folder on the computer are mirrored in your OneDrive storage online.

It can be used in many ways, such as for storing files, storing photos, sharing files and photos, saving email attachments, working online in Microsoft Office apps, syncing files and folders between different computers and so on. Many people find it very useful.

Do you really need OneDrive? No, you do not need it and you can live without it if you really don’t want it. There are many alternatives to OneDrive online storage, like Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, Mega and others. Google Drive provides 15 GB of online storage for free and Mega provides more than 30 GB, whereas Microsoft only provides 5 GB, so it is tempting to use an alternative if money is limited.

How do you disable OneDrive in Windows? How do you uninstall OneDrive in Windows? What happens if you turn off OneDrive? Let’s take a look at the answers to these common questions people have about OneDrive.

Stop OneDrive syncing

  1. Click the OneDrive cloud icon at the right side of the taskbar. It may be hidden in the popup panel.
  2. When the window appears, click the gear icon in the top right corner.
  3. Expand the Pause syncing section and choose from 2 hours, 8 hours or 24 hours.
  4. Alternatively, click Close OneDrive to shut it down and stop all activity.
Pause or close Microsoft OneDrive app in Windows
Pause or stop OneDrive syncing

The effects of this menu, pausing or closing, are only temporary and syncing will resume after the selected time period or when the computer is restarted. It can be useful on occasions though.

Stop OneDrive syncing a folder

  1. Click the OneDrive cloud icon at the right side of the taskbar.
  2. When the window appears, click the gear icon in the top right corner.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Select the Account tab.
  5. Click the Choose folders button.
  6. In the Choose folders window, clear the ticks against any folder that you do not want to sync.
Choose the folders to sync in OneDrive on a Windows PC
Choose which folders sync in OneDrive

You can choose the folders that OneDrive syncs, so if there are one or more folders you don’t want to sync, perhaps because they contain private files or files too big for your storage plan, they can be ignored.

Choose the folders to sync in OneDrive on a Windows PC
Choose which folders sync in OneDrive

Any folder that has a > symbol next to it contains subfolders. Click it to see them and they also have blue ticks against them. You can choose whether the subfolders are synced.

Unlike pausing OneDrive or quitting it, the folders you choose to sync or not sync are remembered between restarts. You could even deselect all of the folders to stop syncing altogether. It will not stop OneDrive running on startup, but it will not sync anything if no folders are set.

When you stop syncing a folder does, it not delete anything on the computer. It just stops new changes being synced, so if you add, rename or delete files, the changes will not be reflected online. What is on the computer stays on the computer.

Stopping syncing does not delete anything online, so the folder and its files remain online in your OneDrive account. Log into the onedrive.com website and delete the folder and files there to remove them.

Disable OneDrive and stop syncing

  1. Click the OneDrive cloud icon at the right side of the taskbar.
  2. When the window appears, click the gear icon in the top right corner.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Select the Account tab.
  5. Click Unlink this PC and then Unlink account.
Unlink OneDrive on a Windows PC to stop it syncing with OneDrive online
Unlink OneDrive to disconnect it from online storage

Unlinking the OneDrive app on the computer with your OneDrive account online completely stops the syncing of files and folders. Nothing is deleted on the computer and the OneDrive folder on the PC’s disk becomes like any other folder. What happens on the PC stays on the PC. Nothing is deleted online in your OneDrive online storage. If files and folders are stored online, log into the onedrive.com website in a web browser and delete anything you don’t want to be there.

Uninstall OneDrive

  1. Press Windows+I to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Apps to open Apps & Features
  3. Scroll down the list of apps and find Microsoft OneDrive.
  4. Click it and then click the Uninstall button.
Uninstall OneDrive on a Windows PC
Uninstall OneDrive to remove it from Windows

Uninstalling the app completely stops it working and it will prevent OneDrive running on startup. If it is not there, it cannot run, obviously! Uninstalling OneDrive does not delete anything on your computer or online. The contents of the OneDrive folder on the PC will still be there afterwards, although nothing you do in the folder will be synced or stored online.

The files and folders already online at the onedrive.com website will still be there after uninstalling the app on the computer. Go to the website in a browser and delete the files online if you don’t want them.

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