Fix Your Disappearing OneDrive


Recently, I’ve had my OneDrive seem to uninstall or break itself.  That’s annoying.  The icon in Explorer reverts to a regular folder and nothing syncs because the client program isn’t running in the background.  Fortunately, it’s an easy fix and everything resets itself without a restart.  Here’s the quick and dirty way to get it done…

Check OneDrive’s status

The best place to start is with a general reset of OneDrive.  Don’t worry, you are not going to lose any files or data!  It’ll just ‘refresh’ the install and, worst case, you’ll have to enter your login details again. Go to your Start Menu and type ‘run’ then hit enter to open the Run box (or just press windows-key + r).  In the run box, type the following: %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive. This will open a Windows Explorer window at that location.  From here you may see a few things, so we’ll go choose-your-own-adventure style:

Option 1: I see OneDrive.exe listed

OneDrive is installed but screwed up

Good news!  OneDrive is still installed, it just needs a kick in the butt to reset itself.  Open the run box just as before and this time type:

%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset

You should see OneDrive disappear from your taskbar and reappear.  If it doesn’t reappear after a few minutes, go ahead and restart it manually by opening a run box and typing:


That should do it, everything should be back to normal!  If it’s still not cooperating, we’ve got one more trick… see Option 3.

Option 2: I only see a bunch of numbered folders

OneDrive uninstalled itself

Sometimes updates and stuff can break OneDrive… just like everything else.  In the Windows Explorer window we just opened, you’ll probably see at least one folder with a long version number like 18.065.0328.9567, 18.065.0328.959718.065.0329.0002 and/or 18.065.0329.0002_2 (these aren’t all real version numbers, it’s just an example).  Open the folder with the HIGHEST version number.  In my example, you’ll notice that I have 18.065.0329.0002 and 18.065.0329.0002_2.  In such a case, check for the one that has OneDriveSetup.exe in it and, if they both do, then pick the one with the highest number after the underscore (18.065.0329.0002_2 in my example).

Once you’ve found OneDriveSetup.exe, run it. That should do it, OneDrive should re-install itself using any existing parameters it can find on the system.  If for some reason those parameters are also missing, then you’ll have to supply your username and password again and everything should start syncing almost immediately.  If you don’t see OneDrive in your taskbar after the reinstall, check out Option 3.

If setup pops up an error message complaining about not finding OneDrive or some parameters, you’ll notice that it displays a version number in the error message.  That number will correspond to one of the numbered folders you noted earlier.  Switch to that folder and run OneDriveSetup.exe from that location.  If you don’t see OneDrive in your taskbar after the reinstall, take a look at Option 3.

Option 3: Check the registry

Registry value errors

If you followed Option 1 or 2 above but the icon still isn’t showing up and the program isn’t running, your registry may have settings that disable OneDrive sync.  Let’s check that out.  Go to your Start Menu and type regedit.  Hit enter to open up regedit (the Registry Editor).

Editing your registry is potential very dangerous and could lead to you screwing up your entire system, necessitating a restore from backups or even a full re-install! If you screw something up, you may not be able to start your computer normally. I strongly suggest backing up your registry before making any changes and being familiar with how to restore that backup in case you run into any problems. Only proceed if you understand what you’re doing, the risks involved and if you promise not to hunt me down and hurt me if something goes wrong!

Check to see if your registry has the following entries and if so, change them to match below.

Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\OneDrive]

dword: DisableFileSyncNGSC
value: hex:00000000 OR decimal: 0 OR delete the dword entry entirely

dword: DisableFileSync
value: hex: 00000000 OR decimal: 0 OR delete the dword entry entirely

After you’re done editing the Registry, you might need to restart to load the new settings.  At the very least, you’d need to restart OneDrive.

That’s it!  I hope that helped get you reunited with your OneDrive! 

Thanks for reading my techie-thoughts on this issue. Have any comments or suggestions? Want to add your tips? Things you want me to cover in a future article? Comment below!