How to Disable Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 8.1

Christian Cawley 01-05-2015

Having an automatic cloud syncing 4 Free File Sync & Backup Tricks Available In Windows You've heard it a million times: backing up your files is important. Using cloud storage services like Dropbox or OneDrive, you can make a backup for free, without needing to purchase new hardware. Read More solution with your desktop computer or Windows tablet is a great idea. But does it have to be OneDrive? Of course not! If you prefer a different cloud solution and want to reclaim space from OneDrive, this is how to disable it.


Why Remove OneDrive from Your PC?

Microsoft’s cloud stores your photos, videos and documents, usually without any problems. It offers various upgrades to storage limits (sometimes free) and can be accessed from any device. So why do you feel the urge to get rid of it?


Perhaps you’re a fan of a different system, such as Dropbox or Box, or Google Drive, and have invested plenty of time into those services over the years to feel reluctant about switching to Microsoft’s offering (although OneDrive benefits are considerable Is There a Good Reason To Use Microsoft SkyDrive In Addition To Dropbox & Google Drive? Read More ). On the other hand, you might have spent enough time with OneDrive (formerly known as SkyDrive) to know that even with the changes that have been made, it just doesn’t work for you. You might not even have realized that you were using One Drive How To Keep Your Files Synced With SkyDrive In Windows 8.1 Storing data remotely and syncing them across devices has never been so easy, especially if you're using Windows 8.1. SkyDrive received a significant update, improving its integration with Windows and adding interesting new features. Read More , having forgotten about any notifications that were displayed when you first logged into Windows 8.

And then there are the errors; from ridiculously long syncing times to the program crashing. Here are some fixes for OneDrive syncing problems with Windows Syncing Problems With OneDrive on Windows 10? Here Are 10 Easy Fixes Are you facing syncing problems between OneDrive and Windows 10? These easy fixes will just take a few seconds and resolve them. Read More .

Whichever the case, it is possible to disable OneDrive on your computer, providing you don’t have Office 2013 or Office 365 installed. However, we wouldn’t advise disabling it until you have at least spent some time trying it out and familiarizing yourself with how OneDrive works.


Disabling OneDrive in Windows 8.1: The Simple Way

This is the first option for removal of OneDrive in Windows 8.1. Although it is possible to disable the cloud drive, it cannot be uninstalled anymore because it is integrated with the operating system.


We begin by disabling the syncing feature. Open the Charms bar (WINDOWS + I), click Change PC Settings, then find OneDrive and select Sync Settings. Disable Sync your settings on this PC, and in the File Storage settings on this PC deselect Save documents to OneDrive by default to prevent automatic saving to OneDrive.

Remember also not to drop any files in the OneDrive folder, as the folder will still sync to OneDrive.



OneDrive is currently still working. To complete the process of disabling it, you need to unlink your Microsoft account from Windows. In the Charms bar again, select Change PC Settings, then Accounts > Your Account. Find your account name and select Disconnect to split your Microsoft and Windows accounts. Our guide to local accounts on Windows 8.1 Going Private - How To Switch To A Local Account On Windows 8.1 You have a choice! Microsoft didn't make it easy, but in Windows 8.1 it's possible to set up or switch to a regular -- local and offline -- Windows account. And it's easy! Read More explains what this means.

Of course, that’s 15 GB of storage you’ve just lost How To Best Use Your 15GB Of Free OneDrive Storage OneDrive gives you a healthy dose of cloud storage for free. Let's take a look at what you can do with that. Read More , not to mention the ability of logging into any Windows 8 computer and seeing your own Start screen How to Use Your Windows 8 PC Anywhere - Without Taking It With You! Imagine your files, settings, and apps followed you everywhere. In Windows 8 that's possible and we will show you how it works. Read More and desktop.

Using Group Policy to Disable OneDrive

For Windows 8.1 Pro users, there is also the option to disable OneDrive using the Group Policy Editor. Now, the steps above should be enough for you, but if you’re managing multiple computers, as part of a home or corporate network and need to abandon OneDrive on all of them (perhaps to avoid the app being abused with unauthorized document sharing), then managing this from a single device in a single process is the best option.


We previously looked at OneDrive removal How to Disable OneDrive with Just a Few Clicks Microsoft OneDrive is baked into Windows 10 and it can be a drag on your system resources. Fortunately, it's easy to disable or remove. Here are several methods for removing OneDrive from your computer. Read More  using just a few clicks on Windows 8.1 Professional, so check that tutorial to see how quick and easy it is.

Disable OneDrive on Windows 8 and Older Devices

If you would like to disable OneDrive, but have and older version of Windows, this is also possible, and arguably a lot simpler.


On Windows 8 and before, find the OneDrive icon in the notification area, right click and select Settings. Click the Unlink OneDrive option on the Settings tab, click OK and close the OneDrive window when it prompts you to reconnect.


To complete removal, go to Control Panel > Programs and uninstall OneDrive.

You may need to restart your PC for the removal of OneDrive to be completed.

You Got Rid of OneDrive: What Next?

With OneDrive’s presence on your computer now dealt with thanks to deactivation or removal, you might be forgiven for thinking that it’s “job done” – not quite. If you have a mobile device with OneDrive installed or integrated, you have a few more things to think about.

If you’re an Android or iOS user, the task is simple. If you no longer plan to use OneDrive, uninstall it from your smartphone or tablet in the usual way. For Android, switch to the app drawer, tap and drag the OneDrive icon to the Uninstall area on the display. IPhone and iPad users, meanwhile, should long tap on the app icon until the X appears in the corner and tap this to remove the app.


For Windows Phone owners, however, the situation is far less flexible. While you can open Settings > Backup to disable app data and profile settings and Settings > Photos & camera to disable photo and video uploading, there will still be some data synced to OneDrive as long as you’re using the phone. Like iOS and iCloud, it is very difficult to use Windows Phone (and increasingly, Windows) without OneDrive integration.

And don’t forget, you don’t actually have to remove Microsoft’s cloud storage from your computer. Perhaps you didn’t have OneDrive configured correctly 5 Smart Ways to Customize & Improve OneDrive in Windows 8.1 OneDrive can be a blessing or a curse. It's deeply integrated into Windows 8.1. You'll either want to get the most of it or disable it completely. We can help with both. Read More ?

Have you given up with OneDrive? Perhaps you’ve switched to a more established cloud solution, or abandoned cloud storage altogether? Tell us more in the comments, where you can also ask questions about what we’ve shown you.

Image Credits: Hand with pliers Via Shutterstock

Explore more about: Cloud Storage, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Windows 8, Windows 8.1.

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  1. Christopher Johns
    August 15, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    i've always used the onedrive (skydrive) with no problems really.
    recently (3 to 6 months) it has been acting just plain stupid. large batch deletes, loading/sync times just keep rolling, until i shut my pc off.
    just overall glitchy/broken.
    thank you for the by-pass information. and the fact that i cannot remove a data sharing* program from MY pc. is wrong. i paid for the pc, i paid for the OS licence, not to be told that file sharing* is not able to be removed. my choice might of been different.
    thanks again for the information !
    * file/data sharing is my take on the cloud,

  2. Chris Elliott-Cannon
    February 14, 2018 at 3:30 pm

    Christian Cawley article - REMOVING ONE DRIVE
    I found the article by Christian helpful but irritating. Irritating for two reasons: Firstly the lack of recognition that users are very concerned about the vulnerability of THEIR info in 'The Cloud'. We know that it is subject to hacking. Secondly the ignoring of customer preferences. Many of us want to CHOOSE where our information is held and definitely prefer our own SAFE and convenient storage whether on external hard-drive, disc or whatever. It is particularly annoying that Microsoft BUILD-IN things like One Drive and One Note and make it almost impossible for the CUSTOMER to make his own decisions on these matters.

    December 18, 2016 at 1:59 am


  4. Mr H
    August 11, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    one drive deleted all my pics, last couple of days Microsoft is doing my head in, with spying and data collection through windows 10, anniversary upgrade............dont bother useless, buggy, apps wont work, system unstable, then wanted to find pics in one drive...........puff.gone

  5. OneDriveIsAssSDoIsYourSite
    July 26, 2016 at 3:29 am

    "It offers various upgrades to storage limits (sometimes free) and can be accessed from any device. So why do you feel the urge to get rid of it?" Shut up, no one smart need to backup their shit online making it accessible to anyone, seriously what a shit thread

    • Christopher Johns
      August 15, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      thank you, for saying it!

  6. Sheri
    March 7, 2016 at 10:39 am

    Thank you very much for this article :-) I have disabled sync. But I wish I could get rid of OneDrive from my PC completely, without having to change to a local account :-/ I hate the way Microsoft takes over your PC and prevents users from disabling or uninstalling Microsoft features they don't want!

  7. Brenda N.
    January 20, 2016 at 5:11 am

    I have been unable to get OneDrive to stop backing up my entire library of photos, which instantly fills up my storage space and runs the risk of it deleting other files to make room for the photos. Unchecking the box for my photo folders doesn't work - it backs them up anyway. I moved all my photos to the desktop so OneDrive couldn't access them any more. Nope ... it appears not to have saved them, but it still says it's out of storage space so I went to and guess what? It had saved my pictures! All of them! Three times! Without permission!

    Deleting something from OneDrive immediately deletes it from my hard drive. I can't imagine why it thinks I want to do this, and there's no way to get it to stop. I have spent hours of the last two days trying to get my valued documents and photos off of my computer and onto external hard drives so that OneDrive can't delete anything else. It deleted a bunch of stuff I actually wanted to make room for the photos it wasn't supposed to be saving. Right now I am treating OneDrive as a pernicious virus, since it refuses to obey instructions, copies files it's not supposed to copy, and deletes items from my hard drive without permission.

    I am going to disable it as soon as I make sure I've backed up everything it has copied off my computer, and I am seriously considering removing Windows 10 from my computer just to make sure. NOT IMPRESSED.

    • WIJES
      August 11, 2016 at 4:25 am

      Hope you getting wet dear ,

      To stop uploading your stuff make sure always trun off your PC


      One drive team
      Sri lanka Branch

  8. Anonymous
    August 31, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    well back up sources are awesome but i have things i just don't want on back up because people can hack into it and see my personal stuff you know and i had windows 7 before and then got a new windows 8 computer (which my dad got for me and i never wanted a computer other then windows 7 and i got 8 T_T) and then i just updated it to windows 8.1 yesterday and just opened my files today after school and i found a lot of crap i don't want on my file explorer and i know you want to give me apps that i could use but nearly almost every one is useless to me! so onedrive was like how the heak do i get rid of this

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 1, 2015 at 6:40 am

      I hope the article helps you in getting rid of your unwanted OneDrive sync problem, Milelie :)

  9. bob
    May 2, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    Working with different devices and needs, I just use them and use the SanDisk app to link them all. Redundancy is my middle name.

  10. charmingguy
    May 2, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    When I first got my 8.1 device I was dropping the whole MS acc. and One Drive rigmarole quickly.

    I started using Sky Drive a few years ago. I was lucky enough to get 25 gb free and I was pretty happy about it until I discovered Mega ( they give 50 gb free and it is also all encrypted. It is all simple unlike all the complicated MS procedures.
    The syncing I use only for my music folder. Which works brilliantly.

    All in all very happy with Mega

  11. Victor
    May 2, 2015 at 12:36 am

    On the contrary, I've come to love OneDrive. It integrates seamlessly with office online (which I use often to collaborate on excel sheets) and MS Office. Plus, the 1TB+ of space I've for a few years thanks to the student program gives it a huge advantage over all other cloud services!

  12. Fausto
    May 1, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    If you don't, want any Microsoft service, you can login with local account.