Syncing and Unsyncing files and folders in OneDrive and Teams

Oct 20, 2022 | Microsoft 365 Hints and Tips

OneDrive and Microsoft Teams are part of the Microsoft 365 suite of appsBoth allow for file storage in the cloud (Teams is much more than just this)This is great when you are on the move, allowing access from any computer or even your tablet or mobile phone but it does require you to have internet accessThat is until you syncThen the whole OneDrive or Team channel, or selected folders in these, can be accessed even when you are not onlineThis can be really useful if there is a power cut or the internet goes down but also if you are working in a location where there is a poor connection or no internet is available. 


  1. From either the Teams channel or OneDrive do not select any files or folders. 
  2. Click on the Sync icon. 
Sync icon in Teams and OneDrive

3. The syncing process will start.  This may take seconds or hours depending how many files are needing to be synced and the size of these files 

4. If the syncing gets interrupted at any time, for example you turn off your computer, the process will resume from where it left off next time the internet connection is available. 

5. The files will now be able to be accessed without an internet connection from various locations including File Explorer and the desktop apps of Word, Excel etc. 

6. Syncing should continue automatically while connected to the internet.  If the internet is not available the syncing will restart as soon as it is. 

NOTE: you may not choose to sync all files.  For example, pictures and video files take up a lot of memory and if they are not used very often you may decide to keep them to be accessed from the cloud only.  In this case you may need to unsync certain folders as described below. 


If you have synced a folder and no longer require the syncing to take place so the folders contents are only available online the syncing can be stopped.  This can be done for the whole drive or selected folders in the drive. 

  1. Click on the Cloud icon in the Notification section at the bottom right of the screen. 
Cloud icon in Microsoft Teams and OneDrive

2. Click on the Cog (Help and Settings) and choose Settings 

Settings Cog in Teams and OneDrive

3. From here a list of locations that are already synced can be viewed.  This could be One Drive or Teams and their associated Channels. 

4. Syncing can be stopped for the location as a whole by click on Stop Sync 

Stop Sync in Account on OneDrive and Teams

5. Syncing can be stopped for certain folders within the location by clicking on Choose Folders and ticking and unticking appropriate folders 

NOTE: When syncing is up to date the cloud symbol in the notifications is a blue cloud.  If it is in the process of syncing then it will show recurring arrows.  This is not a problem, these will disappear as soon as the syncing is complete.  If it shows a red cross then there is a problem with the sync.  Clicking on the cloud symbol will show the problem and how to solve it.  This may occur if a shared file is being worked on by 2 people, one of whom is connected to the internet, the other whom isn’t.  In reality this does not happen very often. 

Further Reading

If you’ve enjoyed reading how to Sync and Unsync files and folders in OneDrive and Teams, there’s some other blogs below that you might find useful:

Want to learn more about Microsoft Teams and OneDrive? Then email to discuss how I can help or have a look at the Microsoft 365 Courses I run.