Cannot delete folders or files on my PC in OneDrive folders

Hi,

I have never experienced a problem like this.  It started in the last few weeks. I run Windows 10; fully up to date (incl. October 2018 update). 

Problem: I am unable to delete any files or folders on my PC in the OneDrive folder (and sub-folders).

I can rename and move them on the PC; but I cannot delete them.  When I delete them in Explorer, nothing happens. 

I am logged in with Administrator permissions. Files on Demand is OFF. If I go to OneDrive online then I can delete the files and folders no problem.  It is just the PC (i.e. client) that I have an issue with. 

If I un-link the PC then I can delete the files or folders; when I then re-link OneDrive never stops processing changes and I am again unable to delete files / folders. I left it for a week and OneDrive just reported processing 4 changes - it never finishes.  I ensured all files on all platforms were closed so nothing on OneDrive was open - I even turned off my iPhone to be sure. 

I have paused the sync and re-started; no joy. I have to un-link. I have un-installed OneDrive and re-installed several times. 

I have also reset OneDrive with the Run command %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset.  This resulted in it re-synchronising and approximately 170,000 changes being processed (I have about 320Gb in OneDrive) and it took many hours.  Afterwards; OneDrive was in sync and I could delete files / folders on the PC; however, within a few minutes I could not.  I have done this five times now - it has spanned several days - and on only two of these occasions could I delete the files / folders afterwards. 

I am open to any fresh ideas you may have out there.  Is anyone aware of any known / recent issues with OneDrive client? Perhaps, is there an application that causes havoc with OneDrive?

Here's hoping.

Thanks in advance.

Ed

Hi Ed. I'm Greg, an installation specialist and 9 year Windows MVP, here to help you.

Go to Settings > Apps > Apps & Features > OneDrive > Advanced Options to try the Reset first. Restart PC to check.

If that fails from same location try Uninstall, restart PC, reinstall with latest version of Onedrive from here: https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-US/download/.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask back any questions and let us know how it goes. I will keep working with you until it's resolved.
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Hi Greg,

There was no reset option available; only uninstall.

I have reset OneDrive previously using the Run CMD.  This takes many hours and has only provided temporary respite until the delete functionality stopped working again after a short while.

I have re-installed (from that link - the AU one as I am in Australia) OneDrive several times now and it does not resolve the issue.

I am thinking there must be a conflict somewhere but other than October 2018 Windows 10 upgrade occurring last week (the issue started September) nothing has changed.

I will have to the re-install (again, again, etc) but for now am wondering about something different to just trying that over and over again.

Thx

Ed

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Ed, since you've reinstalled OneDrive so many times, and had the Version Upgrade which reinstalls Windows while keeping your files and apps in place, we need to look into the possibility something is conflicting.

Go over this checklist to make sure the install is set up correctly, optimized for best performance, and any needed repairs get done: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wiki...

Start with Step 4 to turn off Startup freeloaders which can conflict and cause issues, then Step 7 to check for infection the most thorough way, then step 10 to check for damaged System Files. Then continue with the other steps to go over your install most thoroughly.

While you're at it update your drivers from the PC maker's Support Downloads web page, using the full model number, Serial Number or Dell Service tag from sticker on PC. Compare the latest drivers with the ones presently installed in Device Manager reached by right clicking the Start Menu. Make sure you have the latest BIOS, Chipset, Display (Video), Sound, USB3, Bluetooth, Network and all other drivers, or else download and install the latest now.


--------------------------------------------

But remember that in Windows 10 everything depends upon the quality of the install, and Factory or Upgrade installs are inferior installs which most enthusiasts won't even run because they'd expect endless issues. Consider now or later doing the Clean Install in this link which compiles the best possible install that will stay that way as long as you stick with the tools and methods given: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/wiki...

There is also an automated Fresh Start that reinstalls WIndows while shedding corrupting factory bloatware, saves your files, but doesn't clear the drive to get it cleanest: https://www.howtogeek.com/265054/how-to-easily-...

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask back any questions and let us know how it goes. I will keep working with you until it's resolved.

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Over 100,000 helped in forums in 10 years
I do not quit for those who are polite and cooperative.
I will walk you through any steps and will not let you fail.

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Hi Greg,

 

Thank you for your feedback so far.

 

I followed your guidance; however, sadly it did not have any effect.

 

That said, I believe that I have now tracked it back to 25 August; the date when the issue started.  This coincides with a windows update; from that point onward my OneDrive was dis-functional.

 

I did some trial and error and now have the files able to be deleted.  Here is what I did.  I closed OneDrive and disabled the OneDrive service. Then I devised a command script to do the following;

  1. copy every existing file in the OneDrive tree to the same folder and add the suffix " - copy"
  2. move every existing file (excluding the newly copied files) to a non-OneDrive folder
  3. rename every newly copied file (from 1 above) to remove the suffix " - copy"
  4. delete every moved file from the non-OneDrive folder

 

There were close on 29,000 files to process totalling over 315Gb.

 

I then enabled OneDrive service and restarted OneDrive.  The OneDrive client processed changes but saw the files as being the same; albeit that now the permissions were such that I can delete the files. The attributes of the files were the same; I even ran FC command to ensure that the two versions of the same file were identical.  It is just one would not allow me to delete it when in the OneDrive folder.

 

Greg, this seems very weird but there it is.  I have no idea what the issue was; however, I am very thankful that it is now working.

 

Thank you again for your assistance.

 

Regards,

Ed

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I have the exact same problem with Ed.

In my case, I sync the same OneDrive account on several clients, including several Win10 clients, several Mac clients and IOS clients. However, only on one of my Win10 clients has this problem. It's a latest Dell 7040 PC with i7 core, Q170 mainboard, and Win10 x64. 

The Symptom is the onedrive icon always shows: OneDrive is updating files...

and shows: 2 changes are processing ... 

(Non-English version of Win10, so I translated them above)

I found 2 files in one of the OneDrive folders are not deleted, while on other clients they are deleted successfully. So I tried to delete them manually, but failed. And I tried to deleted other files that are synced successfully, but I realized they couldn't be deleted either.

My temporary solution:

Logout the onedrive account and assign a folder other than the original folder, let onedrive rebuild the folder. But it takes time, and worse, after some time, maybe hours or days, the problem reappears.

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fwiw

Had a recent snafu here with deleting files in the onedrive/pictures folder.  They would not delete - I could cut and paste them elsewhere, and they would be gone.

 

After messing around awhile trying to solve it I remembered that I had recently in the onedrive settings, on the Settings Tab, unchecked the 'Files on Demand' option.   

Once I added that check mark back, things deleted again like normal.

~
Microsoft Bob came back after a 20 year makeover, and with a new name. Cortana!

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fwiw

Had a recent snafu here with deleting files in the onedrive/pictures folder.  They would not delete - I could cut and paste them elsewhere, and they would be gone.

After messing around awhile trying to solve it I remembered that I had recently in the onedrive settings, on the Settings Tab, unchecked the 'Files on Demand' option.   

Once I added that check mark back, things deleted again like normal.

Thanks 'Mike P, it works for me in spite that the option was originally checked. I'm enlightened by this to uncheck it, then the files can be operated again although it took times to download all the files.

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I have the same problem Ed is experiencing. If you try to delete a file that's in OneDrive through file explorer, nothing happens, Delete key or right-click and Delete or even dragging the file to the Recycle Bin does nothing. The only way I can delete files in OneDrive is to move them to the Desktop or else where and then delete them OR open OneDrive online and delete them from there. 

I first started experiencing this after the October 2018 update and I was also experiencing the never-ending "Processing Changes" bs...would let it go until I can't stand looking at the icon anymore then I un-link and relink the PC...

I also have Files on Demand turned off. I tried relinking with FoD turned on and sometimes then it would let me delete files as it warns that I would be permanently deleting the files and not sending them to local recycle bin but, that was a short lived solution as many files still would just refuse to delete and I went back to full local copies since I would rather have the open speed.

I use OneDrive on 2 other PCs but, I have FoD turned on for those systems because of the headache that it is to have full local copies on multiple systems, if you leave one system off for a long time and delete some files from the cloud, once that system finally comes back online, surprise! all those files you deleted are re-synced to OneDrive.

I think OneDrive is a great idea but, it's generally causes me nothing but grief. I'd say about 25% of the time I spend on my PC is troubleshooting and grieving about OneDrive errors and nuances, another 25% spent just troubleshooting general Windows 10 nuances and annoyances (this/that was removed or depreciated or no longer works, "surprise we stopped supporting Backup so now it fails", "everyone knew how to do this so, we moved the controls" etc etc) and therefore about 50% of time actually spend enjoying the computing experience.  

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Hi Nick

Thanks for your post...I had a good chuckle at just how much I could relate.  

I did finally fix the sodding issue but it was a monumental task and my luck there is a vastly simpler solution but for the life of me I could not find it.

I have various thoughts as to what was driving it but will leave those conspiracy theories for another day.  Interestingly, the issue affected only files and folders that existed under OneDrive at the time of the Windows 10 October update. Any new files or folders added after that time did not have this issue. 

Anyway, my solution was I signed out of OneDrive and ran a monster batch script I wrote that did the following;

  1. copy every existing file in the OneDrive tree to the same folder and add the suffix " - copy"
  2. move every existing file (excluding the newly copied files) to a non-OneDrive folder
  3. rename every newly copied file (from 1 above) to remove the suffix " - copy"
  4. delete every moved file from the non-OneDrive folder (I only did this step when I was happy 1 to 3 had worked)

Thereafter, I signed back in to OneDrive.

It took a long time to write the script which essentially was a list of every file in OneDrive with old DOS copy, rename and del commands.  I was desperate. 

I have a suggestion that might help; a possible shortcut :)

Rather than copying all the files; I suggest you sign out then copy the existing root folders within OneDrive into the same location such that they have " - Copy" suffixed (i.e. Ctl+C then Ctl+V). Then move the existing folder out of the OneDrive folder; leaving the " - Copy" suffixed folder which you rename to the original folder name; i.e. it is for all intensive purposes the same folder. PS: The moved folder can be deleted as it is redundant. Now sign back in to OneDrive and it should process changes; there'll be loads but it is just doing a comparison to what's in the cloud which is the same. I hope this works as the file option was a lot of work and even once I'd done that, I had to do the steps above for the folders and later I thought that might have been enough to solve the problem but can't be sure as I can't (and surely won't) replicate the issue.

Insofar as your multiple computer sync issue; I too have multiple computers synchronising (a Mac and another PC) but how I have it set up is that each computer logs in to OneDrive using a unique account ID (I have a 5 user license Office 365 and use three licenses for this purpose) and where files are to be on multiple computers; I share the folder(s) from the parent ID with the other account ID (i.e. account ID is equivalent to computer for this setup); PS: this avoids the need for the dreaded files-on-demand being turned on) and I just "add folder" to that ID when accepting the share.  Conversely I remove a share from the drive if I want to free up space.  It works a treat and as a result get a solid 80% of time actually enjoying the computing experience ;) 

Anyway, good luck and if the shortcut does not work and you get desperate let me know as I might still have the script builder workbook.

PS: just in case you've forgotten what it looks like.....

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I run Windows 10 on a Surface Pro with Carbonite, Dropbox, and OneDrive. I unfortunately actually pay for Office twice - though my GoDaddy account  and through my MS account. I was using Office through my GoDaddy subscription, but I continued to use OneDrive through my MS account.

A couple of days ago, I noticed that I could not delete any file in my Desktop and Documents folders. If I created a new file, I could delete it. It I opened an existing file, I could then delete it. I gave up trying to resolve it yesterday after the MS Windows support tech told me that I would have to talk to a Surface support tech. I started all over today. After three hours with a level 1 tech and then two level 2 techs, I was still not able to delete a file even after having done some type of Windows 10 update/repair.

By this time though, I had been told that any file flagged by Carbonite for backup (a yellow flag) could not be deleted. It was all Carbonite’s fault. I then demonstrated that a file flagged as having been backed up to Carbonite could not be deleted either. I was then told that the problem was that Carbonite was automatically restoring the file upon its deletion. Mind you that the delete confirmation screen would never display, so it was a little difficult to demonstrate that the file had ever been successfully deleted. I also pointed out that Carbonite restores a file only when the user manually requests restoration of one or more files or folders. I asked how they could arrive at this conclusion without having tested their hypothesis. By this time, it was a wee bit difficult to test this supposition since they had disabled Carbonite. Finally, they told me that the OS had been previously corrupted and was clearly corrupted again.

I could neither open the Carbonite control panel to resume it nor uninstall it through the Windows Control Panel Program function. Tonight, I finally followed a manual delete process provided by Carbonite. I still could not delete a file.

Dropbox had also been disabled on my machine. This made no difference either. I uninstalled the Dropbox app, but this made no difference either.

Bonjour had also been disabled (along with the Tivo server).

I then noticed that I no longer had a OneDrive service associated with my MS personal subscription. That was odd, I thought. I tried to start the service for my personal account, but I had trouble.

Finally, I deleted OneDrive. et voila, I could delete a file!

I spent 20 minutes getting Bonjour running. I could still delete a file!

Then I reinstalled Carbonite. Amazingly enough, I could still delete a file. 

Then I reinstalled Dropbox. I could still delete a file.

Then, I installed the new OneDrive Sync Client and signed in with my personal account. I could still delete a file as long as OneDrive had it synced.  For some reason, a few files were not synced. 

Well, I suspect that if I had disabled OneDrive and then reinstalled it yesterday, I would not have spent three unproductive hours with MS support.

it reminds of a provlem a year ago with Office Excel that some support texh also attributed to Carbonite. After the next Office update, the problem was resolved. My Carbonite client had not been updated. 

 


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Last updated September 11, 2020 Views 10,627 Applies to: