Turn off sync in Windows 11, turn off sync in Microsoft Edge

Syncing computers and phones is right up there with tabs in browsers and other apps in my opinion, but some people don’t want to sync. Here is how to turn off sync in Windows and Edge

I would find using computers and devices much harder without being able to sync everything I do. I can switch computers and everything I need is there. However, syncing does not suit everyone and perhaps you don’t want it.

Maybe you want to keep one computer isolated from another, like work and home PCs, or a test PC and your main PC. It can be useful to test software and settings on a second PC before putting them on your main computer. I keep my old PC after upgrading to a new one just for testing things.

Windows can sync your documents, pictures and desktop, certain settings, apps, preferences, accessibility settings, passwords and more. Edge can sync your web browsing history, open tabs, extensions, settings, personal info and other things. If you want them to, but what if you don’t?

Disabling syncing in Windows and Edge is easy and it is just a matter of knowing where to look for the settings. Let’s take a look. I will be using Windows 11, but I will also give a few tips for Windows 10 users too.

Turn off sync in Windows

All the Windows sync settings are in the Settings app, but they are not obvious anywhere and the easiest way to find them is to search. Press Windows+I to open Settings and then enter sync into the search box. Click Sync your settings in the search suggestions that are displayed. It works for both Windows 11 and 10.

Windows 11 places sync settings in Accounts > Windows backup. It kind of makes sense because it is a sort of backup, but I am not sure it is an obvious place to look for sync settings. At the top of this page in Settings is the computer name and below is what is currently being synced.

Turn off sync settings in the Windows Settings app.
Windows sync settings

In the OneDrive folder syncing section, click Manage sync settings and you can choose which folders on the disk are synced or not synced as you prefer. You don’t have to sync anything if you don’t want to.

Remember my apps is a simple On/Off switch and this makes it easier to have the same apps on multiple computers, but turn it off if you want computers to have different sets of apps.

Remember my preferences has a master On/Off switch, but if you want to choose what is synced, click the little arrow button to the right of the switch to expand the section and set the checkboxes as you prefer.

Turn off sync in Edge

Microsoft Edge browser has its own syncing system that is separate from the sync settings in the Windows Settings app. It also has a lot of settings that can be customized.

Open Edge, click the three dots in the top right corner to open the menu and then select Settings. Profiles is usually automatically selected on the left and all you need to do is click Sync to see all the options.

Sync settings in Microsoft Edge browser.
Microsoft Edge sync settings

There are currently nine switches, although this number may change over time. Turn them all off to completely stop syncing or choose just the items that you want to sync, like passwords or favorites (your bookmarks).

Right down at the bottom of this settings page is Re-sync now. If you turn off sync and later change your mind, or if there is a problem syncing your selected items, click the Re-sync button. It may fix the problem.

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