How To: Disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer in Windows 10

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OneDrive Folder

One of the most annoying things in today’s tech world is that features and tools are regularly forced upon users. Some of them have good causes, like the built-in antimalware system of Windows Defender but others are far more redundant. OneDrive is somewhat of a mystery to me because I am not sure where it falls in. On one hand, it is a simple and efficient way to get more people into cloud storage services, especially since most Microsoft products now communicate greatly with each other. On the other hand, however, it is yet another feature that managed to squeeze itself in Windows 10 and if you do not plan on using it, disabling it is the only real way to deal with it.

Disable OneDrive and stop it from starting it with Windows

The first step in our OneDrive-banishing adventure takes us to the application itself. Microsoft has decided to integrate the cloud storage service with several of its products so the process may be a bit more complicated than initially expected. To start with, right click on the OneDrive icon in your system tray (bottom right corner) and click on the Settings option. This should take you directly to the main Settings interface where two options are of great interest to us. The first step is to uncheck the box that reads Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows.

OneDrive Settings

The other item that you should consider is the “Unlink OneDrive” button. If you are not planning on using the cloud storage service any time soon, it may be a good idea to tell Microsoft that you are simply not interested in syncing your files with its cloud service. Clicking that button will sign you out of your account while letting you set up OneDrive with another account. When you reach that point, simply close the sign-in process and your own account will be unlinked.

If the Unlink OneDrive button is greyed out, the cloud storage service may be in use by an Office product. To amend that, open any Office document and go to File > Options > Save and change the Default File Location to a folder of your choice. Apply the changes and check if the problem is fixed. If it is not, try ending the OneDrive process via Task Manager and trying again.

Remove OneDrive from File Explorer

Honestly, this was my biggest pet peeve with Windows 10. I am not sure if I would use OneDrive anyway but placing the service in File Explorer with no options to remove it whatsoever was incredibly frustrating and I was not going to have any more of it. To remove OneDrive from File Explorer, you are going to have to mess around with the Registry for a bit.

1. Open the Registry Editor by typing regedit.exe in your Start Menu and pressing Enter.

2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}\ShellFolder. You can always press Ctrl + F and paste the location in order to find it easier.

OneDrive File Explorer Registry

3. Once you are in the ShellFolder, open the Attributes DWORD and change the value from f080004d to f090004d. Click on OK and close the Registry Editor.

4. To force the change before your next restart, open Task Manager, right click on Windows Explorer and select the Restart option. Note that this will close any open folders.

Disable OneDrive completely via a Group Policy

This is, by far, the easiest method available but you will need to have a Pro or higher version installed in your PC as the Group Policy Editor is not available in the Home edition.

1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor by typing gpedit.msc in your Start menu and pressing the Enter key.

2. Go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive.

3. The only policy there is the one that reads Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage so double click on it to continue.

OneDrive Group Policy

4. On the top left corner, change the status from “Not configured” to “Enabled”, click on OK to save the setting and feel free to close the Policy Editor whenever you want.

5. The changes will only be applied after you have restarted your system so either sign out and then back in again or restart your computer.