How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10

Mark O'Neill 28-09-2015

One of the things that really bugs people about Microsoft is their penchant for installing software on their PCs that not everybody wants. OneDrive in Windows 10 and 8 is a good example.


If you were to ask Microsoft, they would say that removing OneDrive is impossible. It’s seemingly attached to Windows 10 like a pair of over-protective Siamese twins, but many people have since proven that to be totally untrue. You CAN remove it if you want to, and a lot of people do want to, as bugs have been found which stop them from accessing their folders, as well as the whole smart files saga How to Substitute OneDrive Smart Files in Windows 10 Microsoft broke OneDrive on Windows 10 for power users. The removal of placeholders, also known as smart files, has disappointed many users who upgraded from Windows 8.1. We have compiled several workarounds. Read More . You can also remove it if you have chosen to remain with Windows 8.1 How to Disable Microsoft OneDrive in Windows 8.1 You should be free to choose where your data is being stored. While having an automatic cloud syncing solution is a great idea, maybe you don't like OneDrive. Here's how to disable it. Read More for the moment.


The method varies slightly, depending on which version of Windows 10 you have. So we’ll be nice and cover them all for you. If you have any OneDrive haters in your family or circle of friends, be sure to forward this article on to them.

Windows 10 Home Users

Unlink OneDrive

First, locate the OneDrive cloud icon in your Notification Area (the area at the bottom of the screen, next to your clock). It should look like this:



Right-click and select the Settings option.


Untick Start OneDrive automatically when I sign into Windows and that will stop the sync program from booting up whenever you start Windows. Now press Unlink OneDrive and this will disconnect the sync program from the folder in File Explorer. The blue OneDrive cloud that would normally sit next to the yellow File Explorer folder will now disappear, making it a normal folder.

Now go ahead and disable the OneDrive sync program from your computer. Best use something like CCleaner Help CCleaner Remove All Your Excess Files With CCEnhancer Add 450 extra programs to the already extensive CCleaner. An unofficial program makes Piriform's famous system maintenance tool even more useful, by vastly increasing the amount of software it supports. CCEnhancer makes CCleaner even better... Read More or Revo Uninstaller Revo Uninstaller Will Hunt Down Your Bloatware Read More to make sure you get all traces of it.


Removing the Folder from Your Computer

OK, removing the actual folder from File Explorer involves getting your hands dirty a bit, and delving into the Windows Registry What Is the Windows Registry and How Do I Edit It? If you need to edit the Windows registry, making a few quick changes is easy. Let's learn how to work with the registry. Read More . Don’t panic though, because it is very easy. I’ll even hold your trembling hand for you.

First, on your keyboard, press Windows key + R to bring up the Run menu. When the box pops up, type in



You will get a warning, asking if you are sure. Click Yes, and the Registry box will open up.



The fastest way to find what you are looking for, is to use the keyboard shortcut CTRL + F. This will open up a search box inside the Registry Editor. In that box, type the following:


That will immediately take you to the correct box.



Double-click on System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree and you will get this box:


In the Value data box, change that 1 to a 0, click OK, and close the Registry Editor. Now restart your computer. OneDrive folder gone. Adios.

There is also a method floating about Reddit, which recommends to uninstall OneDrive. You should not try this, if there is a chance that you’ll ever want OneDrive back, because we don’t know whether that’s possible without resetting Windows 10 How to Factory Reset Windows 10 or Use System Restore Learn how System Restore and Factory Reset can help you survive any Windows 10 disasters and recover your system. Read More .

Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, & Education Users

Now you guys have a sweet deal because it is extremely easy for you to ditch and completely disable OneDrive system-wide. Go ahead and shut down/uninstall OneDrive as detailed above, then do the following.

In the Start menu, type:


This will open the Group Policy Editor. When that is open, navigate to:

Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\OneDrive

Once there, double-click the option which says Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage change it to Enabled, and click OK.

OneDrive Group Policy Editor

And that is it. Ciao UnoDrive. Yep, I told you it was easy for you guys.

Note that you won’t be able to see or access OneDrive anywhere, including from the OneDrive app and file picker, File Explorer, Windows Store apps, and you won’t be able to automatically sync files using the Camera Roll.

Alternatives to OneDrive

You should never be forced to use something against your will. And you should never have to see it on your system either, giving you the malevolent “I’m still here sucker!” stare. So that is why, if you have a serious grudge against OneDrive, you should be able to remove it. Also, in the future, if you suddenly fall back in love with OneDrive again, everything is completely reversible. Just do the exact opposite of what I told you to do above.


The Internet offers LOTS of alternatives to OneDrive 5 Fileshare Options That Work From the Windows Desktop Share your files directly from where you use and store them - your computer. Desktop apps offer advanced sharing features and can be used to keep files backed up in the Cloud. Read More , and they are all trying to outdo one another every day with special deals. The best service by far is Dropbox, which arguably has the highest name recognition and the best power tools 5 Tools For The Dropbox Power User The popularity of Dropbox makes it difficult to start using any other kind of cloud storage. Here are 5 add-on tools for you if Dropbox is an essential part of your web workflow. Read More . But they sink themselves by charging far too much money.

The other main contender is of course Google Drive, which is dirt cheap Google Starts Encrypting Search, Slashes Storage Prices For Google Drive There's big news coming out of Mountain View as Google gears up to take on the governments as well as rival online storage companies like Dropbox. Read More . But you may also have issues with Google, especially if you value your privacy How To Clear Your Data From Google & Attempt To Regain Some Of Your Privacy Wiping all trace of you from the web is not easy, but after reading Dragnet Nation by Julia Angwin you might just want to try. It's time to stop willingly throwing away your privacy. Read More . But Google Docs is worth using Google Docs vs. Microsoft Word: The Death Match for Research Writing Online solutions are becoming the norm. We decided to see how Microsoft Word stacks up against Google Docs. Which one will do the better research paper? Read More , so you may want to maintain a Drive account just for that. You get 15GB free 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive Google Drive is a great service, but installing the Google Drive application and synchronizing some files is just the first step. These tricks will help you take advantage of Google Drive, both on the desktop... Read More , compared to Dropbox’s measly 2GB.

Other options? Well, there’s Box, Mega, SpiderOak, iCloud, and Sugarsync, to name just a few. In fact, this market is completely saturated, as this page shows. Only yesterday I was hearing really good things about SpiderOak SpiderOak - An Online Data Backup & Sharing Solution [Cross-Platform] Read More , which encrypts your files, and claims they have no way to unlock those files if compelled to do so. Of course, you could just encrypt your files with VeraCrypt (the successor to Truecrypt TrueCrypt Is Dead: 4 Disk Encryption Alternatives For Windows TrueCrypt is no more, but fortunately there are other useful encryption programs. While they may not be exact replacements, they should suit your needs. Read More ), if you wanted to use another service.

OneDrive or Not to OneDrive, that Is the Question

So at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference. If you are a Windows fanboy (or girl), then you go OneDriving and have a good time. But if not, don’t let Redmond tell you what you should or should not have on your PC. It’s your choice.

What is your choice and why? Let us know in the comments.

Attribution-Free Images Provided Free Of Charge By Pixabay

Related topics: Cloud Storage, Microsoft OneDrive, Windows 10.

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  1. Anita
    May 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    I unlinked OneDrive from my PC and all my pictures are gone from my pictures folders - both My PC and Quick Access. Can't see them anywhere. I know from trying this in the past that if I link it back up, I'll get my photos back. How do I get them to stay on PC and keep One Drive unlinked?

  2. Professor
    August 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I just wrote a comment. Where is it???

    • Professor
      August 3, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      There is definitely something wrong here! I just replied to this comment, but my reply is not here either!

      • Professor
        August 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm

        OK. Here it is again:

        None of your suggestions for disabling OneDrive work on my new Windows 10 Home. (1) I cannot "Unlink OneDrive", since the icon does not appear in my "Notification Area". It appears on my desktop, but it has no "Settings" option. (2) I tried changing the Registry setting, but it didn't do anything. (3) I even tried the uninstaller at . This does NOT remove the icon from my desktop, but it DOES make it useless ( clicking it gives an error ). I would REALLY like to get rid of the schtupid icon - any suggestions?

      • Professor
        August 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        All right. I give up. I don't know what's going on here, but when you get it straightened out, please let me know, so I can post my comment. This is a "helluvaway" to run a website!

        • Professor
          August 4, 2016 at 3:40 pm

          I see above that you finally posted my comment ( but not the original one ). It certainly would have been nice for you to have mentioned somewhere that comments are not posted until ... ( whenever ). I see also that there is no way for me to delete a comment! I repeat: this is a "helluvaway" to run a website!

    July 19, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    This is a great site.

    For some reason, I only recently started getting 'pressured' with the intrusive startup popup to sign up for Microsoft OneDrive. I had no idea what it was but I couldn't get rid of it except by deleting it - which I have been doing ever since it started.

    This is a much larger issue which I'm hoping this site can address.

    I used to be in tech support at WRQ but left there many years ago. The accelerated 'improvements' since then have outstripped my ability to 'keep up' and my grand-kids know more about computerdom than I will ever again know - and I really don't want to be constantly 'upgraded' except to keep my operating and security systems functioning so that I can communicate within my interests and limits.

    Since leaving WRQ, I've also been 'forced' to figure out how to fend off all sorts of stuff I never wanted to get in the first place. It has become increasingly distracting and irritating -
    and since my grand-kids (whom I adore) find it amusing when I can't solve dilemmas they consider to be second nature to then and like to talk about it (of course) which erodes my reputation as an authority in their eyes and in the eyes of friends and relatives ... need I say more.

    So, if this site can help me overcome these sorts of ego problems, that would be very much appreciated.

    This concept applies also to emails and scams and hacking problems - but I'm sure I'm asking for much too much. But thanks for enabling me to get rid of the Microsoft OneDrive pop-up on start. If ever my grandkids try to 'one-up' me on this topic, I'll be ready for them - I hope.

    You have put a band-aid on my tortured ego. (^_^)


    Joe Murphy

    BTW, I have upgraded to Windows 10 Pro which is why you made it so easy for me to get rid of the Microsoft OneDrive pop-up on start.

  4. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Yes you have. Thanks again.

  5. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 11:29 am

    So let me get this straight: you need to be a fanboy or fangirl to use or not mind having Onedrive? Seriously?

    I'm waiting for your "don't let Cupertino tell you what you should or should not have on your PC" article. That ought to be good. Same for Mountain View re: Chromebooks.

    • Mark O'Neill
      September 29, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      I think you need to calm down and stop taking things so literally :-)

      I merely meant that if you like Windows, then go ahead and use OneDrive as Windows 10 intended. But if you are not so keen on the company, but you still need to use Windows (say for work), then there are alternatives out there.

  6. Anonymous
    September 28, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for this information. In fact I am a user of Onedrive but I lost all connection to Onedrive since my computer was updated to Windows 10. That happened the second day windows 10 was rolled out on July 30.
    Immediately after the update Onedrive was gone. I have another laptop that was updated too but Onedrive remained.
    I did not know how to restore onedrive until I read this page. I found out that the setting was put to "enabled" probably during the update, so I changed to "disabled" and onedrive is back.
    Thanks again you solved my problem although that was not the moral of the report presented.

    • Mark O'Neill
      September 28, 2015 at 5:26 pm

      Doesn't matter. If the article helped you in some way, then I have succeeded in my job. :-)