Having issues with your OneDrive not syncing files on your Surface?
Do you see errors like the one above when you go into your OneDrive settings? If so, this post is for you. I’ve come up with a list of things you can do to troubleshoot (and hopefully fix) OneDrive sync issues.
In this post I’ll cover how to do the following:
- Fixing OneDrive sync problems for only one or two files
- Using the OneDrive Troubleshooter Tool
- Checking Time and Date Settings
- Checking OneDrive Related Settings
- Checking Available disk space
- Checking the Offline Access Option
- Switch to a Local Account and Back
Following the procedures outlined in this article will fix around 95% of OneDrive sync issues.
OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: Just One or a Couple Files
If it’s only one file (or maybe just a couple) then it’s possible you simply have a corrupted file problem. It happens occasionally, so don’t freak out too much about it unless it starts happening a lot. If you’re seeing errors from OneDrive or of it’s not syncing anything at all, you can skip this step and go to the one titled OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: Check your Time.
To check and correct single file issues:
- Go to the OneDrive webpage
- Download a copy of the file from the OneDrive webpage to your desktop
- Open it to see if it works (i.e. make sure it’s not corrupted)
- If it is not corrupt, delete the version(s) in your local Onedrive folder and replace it with the good version(s)
- If it is corrupt, check to see if the file in your local OneDrive folder is good. If it is, make a copy of it on your desktop then delete the file in the cloud using the web interface and the version in your OneDrive folder. Give it 10 minutes to sync up and then move the good version(s) back into your local sync folder.
- If both versions are corrupt, delete the file in both places, since it won’t do you a lot of good anyway, then make sure the remaining files in your OneDrive continue to sync properly
This process should fix the issue most of the time if it’s just a single file (or small group of files) that won’t sync. It’s not perfect and the steps could be done in a slightly different order but it’s a good starting point.
So, what if it’s not just one file that’s giving you a problem? What if your OneDrive won’t sync at all or gives you errors? Well, I have a few things to try to fix that too. These steps work on Windows 8.1, Windows RT, and the Windows 10 Technical Preview. How do I know it works on the Technical Preview you might ask? Well, it’s because OneDrive was busted on my SP2 (with the preview) and I went through the steps below to get it working again. Cool? Let’s get started then…
OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: OneDrive Troubleshooter
Microsoft provides a troubleshooter that tries to automatically diagnose and fix OneDrive issues. You can get it from the link below. Microsoft OneDrive Troubleshooter It’s pretty simple, just download it then run it and follow the instructions. Be aware that you will need admin rights to run it successfully.If the troubleshooter doesn’t help, you’ll have to go looking for the cause of the problem manually. Let’s cover some things to look at and try next..
OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: Check your Time and Date
It turns out that a lot of OneDrive issues are simply a matter of the time/date on your Surface being incorrect. This is because of the way OneDrive securely syncs your files. (for the tech-savvy folks: WebDAV over port 443). So, a good thing to check is your time/date and make sure they’re right. Don’t forget to check your timezone too.
CHECK TIME/DATE SETTINGS:
- Bring up the Search Charm and search for Date and Time Settings
- Check that the settings are correct. If they aren’t change them as needed
Check Metered Connections Setting
- From the Charms Menu, go to Settings
- Select Change PC Settings
- Select OneDrive
- Select Metered Connections
- Make sure the Upload and download files over metered connections option is On. If it’s not then turn it on and check to see if your OneDrive is now syncing before proceeding
Allowing OneDrive to sync over metered connections is usually only something you want to turn off if you are using a Surface 2 LTE and are not connected to WiFi. Otherwise, you’ll probably want it on since it can cause sync issues if your Surface decides your WiFi connection is metered.
Verify Identity if NECESSARY
- Next, back out of the OneDrive area under PC settings and go into the Accounts section
- Check to see if there’s a message that reads “You need to verify your identity“
- If there is, tap on the Verify link and follow the prompts starting with your Microsoft account password
- When you complete the required steps, the “You need to verify your identity” message should vanish. Check to see if your OneDrive is now syncing before proceeding
OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: Check your Available Disk Space
Obviously, if you are out of disk space, OneDrive won’t be able to sync. It’s pretty uncommon for OneDrive not being able to sync to be the first indication that you’re out of disk space but it is possible.
TO CHECK YOUR AVAILABLE DISK SPACE
- From the desktop, open File Explorer
- Tap and hold (right-click) on Windows (C:) then select Properties
- Make sure you have sufficient disk space. If you don’t you might want to see what can be deleted.
Ironically, you might also want to look into making some of the items (rarely accessed stuff usually) in OneDrive only available online so that they don’t eat up all of your local disk, thereby preventing OneDrive from syncing. I told you it was ironic…
OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: Make Sure Offline Access is On
It’s also possible that the cause of your files not syncing is that OneDrive has been accidentally set to online-only access. You can find instructions to correct that at this Microsoft link. You probably only need to check this if the sync problems only happen when you’re not connected to WiFi. If that’s not the case, you probably don’t need to worry about it and can try the next procedure.
OneDrive Not Syncing on Surface: Switch to Local Account and Back
OK, assuming none of the above items panned out, you can try switching your Microsoft account to a local account then back. It has the effect of “refreshing” the account on your Surface.
To switch from a Microsoft account to a local account:
- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings and then tap Change PC settings
- Tap or click Accounts, and then tap Your account.
- Tap or click Disconnect, and then follow the instructions
To switch back to Microsoft account:
- Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap Settings and then tap Change PC settings.
- Tap or click Accounts, tap or click Your account.
- Tap or click Connect to a Microsoft account. You might be asked to verify your current password.
- Enter the email address and password you use to sign in to Microsoft services, tap or click Next, and follow the instructions.
This method tends to fix most problems when everything else fails but is a bit drastic so I don’t like to lead with it. For the record; this was what finally fixed it for my SP2 on Windows 10 Technical Preview.
Hopefully, one of these procedures fixes your OneDrive problems. If not, you’re probably going to need to take a really drastic step like deleting your account on the machine or completely reloading your Surface.
If you have any additional things folks could try that I missed, please feel free to share them in the comments.
Tim Rolston is a professional geek with over 23 years of experience working in Information Technology and dealing with everything from large-scale storage to remote systems management and automation for organizations such as Texas Instruments, Mobil Oil, and the University of Michigan (where he was an Academic IT Director).
He co-founded JTRTech along with Joanna to realize his long-time dream of working for himself.