fix oneDrive Sync issues

Fix OneDrive for Business/SharePoint Syncing Issues


Syncing problems with Office 365 SharePoint sites – sometimes they’re easy to resolve and sometimes they are very difficult, tedious and nearly impossible to resolve (unless you are very well acquainted withcomputer_keyboard SharePoint-speak and have some pretty deep networking/IT/Microsoft knowledge). This is the story of how I resolved a tough (for me), syncing issue with O365 SharePoint sites.

The problem: client said some of their SharePoint sites would not finish syncing. They noticed their blue icons had the syncing notification going constantly and it would never finish. They tried using the repair OneDrive function. One user reported their SharePoint site names were changed to a generic (Site1…., Site2……) and so on. The other user did not get that, but it didn’t fix the problem either.



That’s when they called me to see what I could do. There are some things to check initially before getting deeper into troubleshooting. These are:

steps from the link above:

Step 1: Make sure that the OneDrive for Business sync app is up-to-date

OneDrive for Business is frequently updated. Make sure that you have the most current version of OneDrive for Business installed.

Step 2: Make sure that your file and folder names don’t contain unsupported characters or invalid file types

If a file or folder name contains certain characters or file types, you won’t be able to sync those files. Review the list of invalid characters and file types, and change any file or folder names, or remove the file types that aren’t supported.

Step 3: Make sure that your file sizes, items counts, and file path lengths are within the limits

If a file you’re trying to sync is too large, or if you’re trying to sync too many items, OneDrive for Business sync might not work. Review the limits for the size and number of files that can be synced, and make sure the files you’re trying to sync don’t fall within the listed restrictions or limitations.

Step 4: Repair a OneDrive for Business sync connection

Follow these quick steps to repair a sync connection with OneDrive for Business, and see if that fixes your sync problem.

Step 5: Stop and restart syncing for a OneDrive for Business library

If you’re having problems with a synced library folder, it’s sometimes simplest to just stop syncing the library, and then start syncing the library again, as if for the first time.

Step 6: Use the OneDrive for Business Sync Issues Troubleshooting Guide

If you’re still experiencing sync problems, try the OneDrive for Business Sync Issues Troubleshooting Guide. This tool can help guide you through diagnosing and resolving issues with libraries you’re currently syncing.

Still having sync issues?

If you’re still having sync issues, try posting a question in the Office 365 community forums. They’re a great resource, and they’re monitored by Microsoft support agents who can help if you’ve tried the steps here and are still stuck. You can also contact Office 365 for business support.

OneDrive For Business/SharePoint Sites Trouble shooting

Here’s how I went through the above steps and my results:

Step 1 – clicking the link takes you to pages where there are all types of things to check. If you use Office Click to Run, if you have Office installed, or if you have the OneDrive for Business installer there are different things to check on. This was a tedious process.

Step 2 – Since these users had been syncing their sites previously and other users in the office weren’t having problems, I knew this was not the issue here.

Step 3 – Same as above.

Step 4 – The users had both tried the Repair option with no success.

Step 5 – this is what I did with these users. Here are the steps for doing this:

1) We stopped syncing the libraries.

2) We right clicked on the OneDrive for business folder and renamed it as OneDrive for business_backup.

3) Then we opened Windows Explorer and went to C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office and deleted the Spw folder.

4) Then we went to 15.0 and deleted the OfficeFileCache folder (after opening task manager and ending “Groove.exe” and “MSOSync.exe” processes).

5) Following this, we restarted the computer and confirmed that no libraries were currently  in sync.

6) Then we opened OneDrive for business library in Internet Explorer and clicked on Sync > Sync Now.

7) The sync started successfully on this computer without giving any sync errors.

Actually step #7 didn’t happen. The syncing issues persisted. In a perfect world, of course, it would work.

OneDrive for Business/SharePoint Syncing Issues

Going through these steps did not resolve the syncing issue. I consulted with  Microsoft O365 help and was assigned someone who was actually very knowledgeable and was diligent about checking in with me afer we went through some troubleshooting. He seemed to think the best thing to do to resolve this was to map drives to the SharePoint sites and have the users access their files from there. We did go through this process, and initially it worked, but issues came up with that. Mapping drives will be the topic of next week’s article.

desk, plant and file folders for SharePointThe Microsoft engineer I was speaking with didn’t seem to think there would be any other solution we could try to get the syncing started. This seemed rather unbelievable to me. Why would this product not work in the way it was intended? I thanked him for his time and for the documentation he sent me via email (some I’m using in this series).

Then I talked to an IT expert friend of mine. Sometimes it’s good to get a fresh set of eyes/ears on a problem and a whole new perspective. He said why not try setting up a new profile for the users. What a great idea – holy moly!

A new profile is like a fresh start without having to reformat a computer. I’ll be doing a video on this in the next couple of weeks. Here are instructions to accomplish this. Something you’ll want to do that is NOT mentioned in the link is to be sure to copy the person’s Documents, Favorites, etc. because you’ll need to transfer those to the new profile.

Creating a New Profile Solved OneDrive for Business/SharePoint Sync Issues

I created the first profile, moved the documents, favorites, music, etc. over and then I signed into the account on the web and starting the syncing process as if I was doing it for the first time (and I was).


I clicked the Sync now and then got the next pop-up and everything started syncing! I repeated the same process for all the SharePoint sites (I did have to send a share/sync request from the admin’s account), and the Sites started and finished syncing – success!


Summary of OneDrive for Business Syncing

There are many, many types of syncing issues and it seems each time I look into a problem, it’s always a different one. Although some of the error messages are common, solutions to fix them may work for one user but not for another. There are so many variables and configurations that one or two fixes won’t apply to everything and each situation.

If you, like me, don’t have the time and resources to spend on tracking down persistent issues you can’t resolve, you might try the new profile solution. If I would have done this first, it would have saved several hours of time.

Where do you go for solutions to your OneDrive/SharePoint syncing issues? Please leave a comment or email me at lynn(at)

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