Stopping SharePoint Sync

Starting a SharePoint site or folder takes one click, but how do you stop it when its no longer needed? This articles goes over the steps to un-sync SharePoint to a local computer.

Syncing a SharePoint folder to your computer can provide a convenient and familiar way to access your cloud data. However, what happens if you no longer need that site or folder synced? Perhaps your project is over, or your job responsibilities have changed. The most common reason that has led people to ask me how to stop sync is they have too many sites synced and want to better organize and prioritize their synced data. No matter the reason, stopping SharePoint sync is simple.

Prerequisites: Sync a SharePoint folder and understanding how OneDrive works with SharePoint

You can’t unsync what’s not yet been synced. You will need to have at least one folder or site synced to your computer. If you want to learn how to do that instead check out our Syncing SharePoint article.

SharePoint uses the OneDrive client to facilitate the sync feature. Many people find this confusing as OneDrive is also a user’s individual files (often used to back up their desktop, or just for personal work files that have the ability to be shared). This article will use “SharePoint” to describe the storage site (that houses any synced folders) and “OneDrive application” when talking about the client.

Navigate to the OneDrive application options

There are two ways to reach these options. The first is from the file explorer. Navigate to any OneDrive or SharePoint folder and right-click it. Within the drop-down menu will be a OneDrive cloud icon with a few options. Click “settings” just below the cloud icon.

Settings is between View online and Always keep on this device.

The other wayto access options is located in your Windows taskbar. On the right end of your taskbar there is an arrow up symbol which when clicked brings up active applications. Right click the OneDrive cloud icon, then click “settings”.

Using the task manager method is a 3 click process to get to OneDrive application settings.

Stop a sync by entire location or by folder

Under the accounts tab in the settings window, you will be able to see the libraries you are syncing. This includes both OneDrive and SharePoint libraries and may be across multiple accounts if applicable. Next to each library you will see the options to choose folders or stop sync.

This will list the folders and sites (called locations here) that are currently syncing.

Clicking “choose folders” will open a list of the folders in the selected library with a check box next to each one. If you uncheck a folder or subfolder, you can stop those specific files from syncing.

Check and uncheck folders ans subfolders to limit what is and isn’t synced.

Clicking “stop sync” will sever the connection to the cloud repository. Your folder will still be on the desktop and any locally stored files will still be accessible and editable. However, these files will no longer receive updates if changes are made, and any changes you make will not be pushed to the SharePoint folder.

After you click stop sync a pop up will ask if you are sure. you can click stop sync again to continue.

Removing the folder from your computer

If you wish to delete this folder/site from your computer, you can do so now. Right-click and press delete or left-click to select the folder and press the delete button on your keyboard.

Note: Only delete a folder or file from your computer if you have stopped sync first. This will prevent errors and accidental deletions of wanted files. Alternatively, it is recommended you use the “free up space” function and/or remove the “always keep on this device” option.

Make your workflow more efficient

Syncing only the folders you interact with regularly is a great way to increase your efficiency. The organization will simplify your workflow and OneDrive will be more efficient with less to sync. You can always sync a folder to access from the file browser again. Try it yourself and feel the weight of a hundred SharePoint sites off your shoulders.  

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