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Fixing OneDrive for Business Sync Errors (Groove)

Editor’s Note – this article is updated on 3-23-2017 because new tools and processes have come out to help you fix your OneDrive For Business and SharePoint syncing errors. The updated section follows first:

If you need help with sync errors for your business, I have a service to help business owners or individuals fix their sync problems. Check out my services page  for more information.

Updated March 23, 2017 with new information

This has been a popular article and if your company is still using the Groove client because of whatever reason I highly suggest you get the Next Gen Sync Client.

Since last September, Microsoft has stepped up their ways to help us fix Groove sync problems. The steps I’m going to cover are all in this great OneDrive support article. Most of what I wrote last year is still applicable. I’ll go into detail only for the new steps.

If you are having problems with OneDrive personal or the OneDrive for Business Next Gen Sync Client, the link above will direct you to fixing those problems!

Repair Your OneDrive for Business (Groove) Sync Client

First, you’ll need to be sure that you have the Groove sync client. Look at this graphic to determine for sure. You can also do a ctrl+alt+del and click on the running processes tab and scroll down and look for groove.exe in the list.

which onedrive client do you have

Check These In order

  1. Make sure that the OneDrive for Business sync app is up-to-dateOneDrive for Business is frequently updated. Make sure you have the most recent updates.
  2. Make sure that your file and folder names don’t contain unsupported characters or invalid file types (covered below).
  3. Make sure that your file sizes, items counts, and file path lengths are within the limits (covered below).
  4. Repair a OneDrive for Business sync connection (covered below).
  5. If you stop syncing the library, and then start syncing the library again, as if for the first time, sometimes this helps. (covered below).
  6. Try using the Microsoft OneDrive for Business Troubleshooting Guide to fix your sync issues. (NEW)

This troubleshooting guide is not automated. Instead, it uses your yes or no responses to logically guide you to the solution it thinks is right for you.

Here are a few of the solutions/fixes they recommend:

  • Open the file to resolve a sync error. Here are the instructions from the troubleshooting guide. I’ve not used this particular tool as I got off of Groove as soon as I could. It does look pretty good because it will highlight the new content so you can decide if you want to keep it or not.

resolve a file conflict messge with onedrive

  • Sometimes the OneDrive for Business cache needs to be removed and rebuilt in order to sync. Use this EasyFix tool to remove the OneDrive for Business cache using an automated tool.

They have a big warning there that this can mean a potential loss of data and to read through what the tool does. You can click on the tool link and read all the implications of this. If you are a small business with not a lot of users continually working on the same documents, it sounds like it could be a bit safer because of the unsynced changes warning.

This Method Will Always Work

That’s pretty strong to say this will always work, but I’m pretty confident it will.

It is to go to the Office 365 Admin Center and request a phone call from them. I’ve done this a number of times. It’s been my experience that I get a call within ten minutes and they will usually ask you to do a screenshare with them. You have to be the Admin of your account to do this.

They can only view your screen, they are not able to click and do anything to your system. You will do everything under their direction. This is a great learning experience. Ask them related questions -they are happy to help and send you links to other pertinent information you might need.

When you log in, click on the Admin Tab, then look over at the lower right side for the ‘Need Help?’ tab.

request help for onedrive in admin center

You can get deeper into various fixes by clicking on the Troubleshooting guide and just answering ‘no’ to all of the questions. You’ll go deeper into other possible fixes.

Their ultimate and last resort troubleshooting option is to uninstall and reinstall OneDrive. If you choose to do that, click through on the OneDrive troubleshooting guide for instructions.

I hope this additional and updated information has been helpful. If you have questions, please leave a comment or contact me directly.

Original article published September 29, 2016

If you are using the OneDrive For Business Groove sync engine, you may experience syncing problems – a lot of problems.  Opening up your windows explorer folder and not seeing the green sync marks is like having a bucket of water in your face (unpleasant). We’ll look at ways to resolve OneDrive for Business sync errors.

The Groove sync engine is the older, less reliable sync client. Many of us depend on this client to keep our SharePoint libraries in sync. A new OneDrive for Business sync client is coming – there was an announcement at MS Ignite 2016 about this.

First Things to Check to Fix OneDrive For Business Errors

  1. Is your OneDrive For Business sync app up to date?  You can check here.
  2. Have you checked your file names? Sometimes you’ll find someone used an ‘invalid character’ and that will produce a red check mark and put things out of sync. Renaming the file should fix this problem.
  3. There are file number limitations per library (20,000 is limit right now in OneDrive For Business). The limit for SharePoint libraries is 5,000 items per library.
  4. There are character limits for files and folders. The limits are here and they vary among different combinations (what a pain). However, if you keep in mind to keep your file and folder names as short as possible (around 100 characters), you should be OK. Also keep in mind that files nested in several folders all count as 1 string. For example, a folder in a folder and a file inside all counts as 1 character string, not 3 separate character strings.
  5. When you have sync problems, you will be able to see the ‘Run Repair’ option when you right-click on your ODFB icon. Running this disconnects all your libraries, saves a copy on your computer (it tells you where), and then attempts to resync everything back. Sometimes this works and sometimes it will really NOT work and not be able to resync everything.

Stop the sync and restart

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. When you do this, all your file date modified is reset to the current date. This is rather off-putting for many. I was doing some experimenting with my SharePoint just yesterday, and you can see the modified date has changed. It won’t change the date you modified files inside the folders, just the date you made changes to your SharePoint sites.

SharePoint file history

Sometimes you’ll get an error message and you won’t be able to stop syncing a folder because there is a corrupted file that is preventing this. This file is often located in an obscure, but important folder on your hard drive.

sharepoint sync picture

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.

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.


Sync errors are irritating and can be a time suck. Hopefully, these tips will help you resolve your errors. Let me know what you have found that works or leave a comment if you have a tough sync error you haven’t been able to resolve.

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