Tech Tip: Rebuilding SkyDrive/OneDrive Cache to Fix Sync Issues

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I’m a fan of Microsoft OneDrive. I have a corporate account, associated with Weston’s Office 365 account, as well as a personal account at home. I use it to keep files in sync between a variety of computers. Occasionally, it will decide it just wants to stop syncing all your files properly. This trick helped me, hope it will help you, too. 

First off, many of the sync errors I’ve run into in the past have been because of improper file naming. OneDrive, like its cousin SharePoint, have a more restrictive list of what characters can be used in the filename. You can see the list here. The list is more restrictive than what Windows 7 allows. If you make sure you avoid those characters, that will help your troubleshooting immensely. 

But there are some times where you’ll have a computer in your sync group that will decide it just does not want to play nice while the others do. When it comes to that, you’ll need to completely obliterate the locally stored cache and let OneDrive rebuild it. Note that this will completely kill your settings and files on your local computer for OneDrive, so I’d recommend copying the files out out of the OneDrive folder to somewhere else on your hard drive just to be safe. 

First off, close down all MS Office Applications (while this isn’t required from what I’ve seen, better safe than sorry). Then run task manager (right click on your taskbar and select “Start Task Manager”) and end the groove.exe, msouc.ece, and msosync.exe processes. Look in your system tray (the area by the clock) and make sure the Office Uploader and/or the OneDrive icons are no longer listed there (the orange circle with the arrow and the blue cloud, respectively).

Now remember, before doing the next steps, make sure you have copied out anything in your OneDrive folder that still needed to upload to the server, just to be safe.

Hit Windows-Key-R to bring up the Windows run dialog and paste in “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\Spw” . That should open up a folder. Delete everything in that folder. Close that window out.

Hit Windows-Key-R again, and this time you want to go to “C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office\15.0\OfficeFileCache”. Delete all the files in that folder as well.

After you’ve deleted everything, you can then restart OneDrive (though I’ve found it sometimes works better if you just reboot your computer to make sure all the required services and programs are loaded). When you reboot your computer and open up OneDrive again, it will run you through the setup process again, and you should be syncing again in no time.

Hat Tip to Alexander Vanwynsberghe for the tip.

Update on 10/28/14: Speaking of OneDrive, it now comes with unlimited storage. Weston Technlogy Solutions is an Office 365 partner. Sign up for a free trial today.

Comments : 5
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    5 comments
    • Mike Gallagher
      April 14, 2015 at 3:51 PM

      I was having crashing and syncing problems and this solution didn’t work for me. I just uninstalled/re-installed the onedrive application (on Windows 7) and my problems have gone away (for now)

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      • My Name
        May 6, 2015 at 8:42 AM

        All that hassle, and you’re still a fan? OneDrive has one job–sync files–and it can’t do that reliably for more than a few weeks in a row before you’re risking data loss and down in the command line to starting over. It’s a UX like pulling teeth. Thanks for the info though! 🙂

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        • Craig
          May 17, 2015 at 9:55 AM

          A much simpler way is to is to right click the Onedrive icon and select settings. If you then Unlink Onedrive it will keep your files and open a new Onedrive by running the setup routine again (all automatically) and it then downloads everything to the new Onedrive. You need enough filestore for this or you delete the old drive as it downloads.

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          • Rick
            December 30, 2015 at 1:09 AM

            We are SUPER BASIC users. We share 4 spreadsheets between 2 people located in 2 locations. Generally it works ok….but it is FREE so hard to complain.

            Having said that, I would NEVER EVER give up my good ole hardrive version of Excel circa Office 2000 Pro. The online version is finicky, slow at times and often down.

            There is NO WAY I would pay for a subscription based on what we encounter. If they ever get this down where there are rarely problems then we can talk, but not right now.

            Lately it seems to be much worse. After entering a line it says “lost communications need to refresh” and when we do, the data entered is no longer there and you must reenter. Often you just cant log in and load up the sheet…..loads for 10 15 seconds and then times out. NOT my end….because the other person has the same problem at their location when we have these problems.

            If MS wants us to move to the web, then they better be more reliable, otherwise its going to be ole school for a long time to come.

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            • Alex
              January 27, 2016 at 9:41 PM

              I completely agree. We are about to jump ship and find a different solution because of all the hassles with keeping our onedrive for business properly synced.

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