Having an automatic cloud syncing 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). 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, 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.
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 explains what this means.
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 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?
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.
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