How to temporarily stop Microsoft OneDrive from syncing all your files, or certain files only

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  • You can temporarily stop OneDrive from syncing in the “Help & Settings” menu of the OneDrive notification area icon.
  • By default, OneDrive keeps all the files and folders in the OneDrive folder in sync with the cloud.
  • To permanently stop syncing a specific folder (and all of the files within it), open OneDrive’s settings and choose files to sync from the Account tab.
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OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution, and by default it automatically keeps everything in your PC’s OneDrive folder in sync with an online version of that folder. It’s a handy way to keep files accessible from any device, and can serve as a form of data backup as well. But there might be times when you want to stop syncing some or all your files. Here’s how to do that.

How to stop OneDrive from syncing all your files for a short time

You can pause OneDrive’s automatic sync for up to 24 hours at a time, which might be essential if you’re temporarily using a metered internet connection and need to conserve data.

1. Click the OneDrive icon in the notification area at the bottom right of your desktop.

2. In the pop-up, click “Help & Settings.”

3. In the pop-up menu, click “Pause syncing.”

4. Choose how long you want syncing to be stopped — you can choose 2, 8, or 24 hours. When the time is up, syncing will automatically resume.

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You can stop OneDrive from syncing for up to a day at a time. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

How to stop OneDrive from syncing files in a particular folder

Unless you change OneDrive’s settings, OneDrive keeps all the files and folders in the OneDrive folder on your PC synchronised with the cloud. You can customise this setup by choosing which folders to sync.

1. Click the OneDrive icon in the notification area at the bottom right of the desktop.

2. In the pop-up, click “Help & Settings.”

3. In the pop-up menu, click “Settings.”

4. In the OneDrive window, click the “Account” tab and then, in the “Choose folders” section, click “Choose folders.”

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You can customise the way OneDrive syncs from the Account tab in Settings. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

5. Scroll down the list of folders and clear the checkbox for any folders you want to stop syncing. When you’re done, click “OK.” Any unselected folders will stop syncing with OneDrive.

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Pick which folders you want to sync – and not sync – in OneDrive’s Account settings, then click ‘OK.’ Dave Johnson/Business Insider
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