Can't delete OneDrive folder, 9 solutions

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Aina Prat Blasi
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Can't delete folders inside OneDrive in Windows 10? Here are all the ways you can fix this and continue with managing files and folders on Windows 10. Most Windows users often rely on OneDrive as it comes preloaded. OneDrive keeps all your folders in sync between devices and lets you share them with others. However, many users often complain that it is impossible to delete a folder from OneDrive.

Can't delete OneDrive folder, 9 solutions

Deleting files and folders is a great way to keep the OneDrive folder tidy. Another reason could be to free up storage space. Either way, OneDrive doesn't allow you to delete a file or folder. Don't worry, as we have a couple of solutions that will help you solve this problem.

1. File opened elsewhere

One of the files inside the folder you are trying to delete may be open somewhere else. For example, it could be your computer or one of the computers on your network. Also, check if you have shared the folder with anyone and if they are using it right now. Then, check again if you can delete the folder now.

2. Delete the folder on another device

OneDrive is also available on the web and on mobile platforms such as Android and iOS. Since all the folders and files inside stay in sync anytime, anywhere, deleting a folder on one device should delete it on other devices as well. So if you delete a folder within OneDrive on Android, it will be deleted on Windows as well.

3. Delete the folder locally, on OneDrive or anywhere

While the steps to delete files and folders in Windows are as easy as eating cake, Microsoft has written a detailed guide on deleting files and folders in OneDrive on Windows. It also explains how you can choose to delete a file / folder on your hard drive but not in the cloud and vice versa or delete it everywhere. This feature is called File On Demand which can help you save valuable HDD / SSD space.

To begin with, check if the folder shows a cloud icon or not on your HDD / SSD.

Deleting a folder inside the OneDrive folder on your computer will delete it everywhere, including cloud storage. OneDrive will display a pop-up message to inform you of the same.

Enable File On Demand (more info below) to delete a folder on your hard drive but not in the cloud. And finally, move the folder outside the OneDrive folder on your computer to delete it in the cloud but not on your hard drive.

So it's up to you where you want to remove the folder.

4. Folder permissions

Has the folder you want to delete from OneDrive been shared by someone else? If so, it might be impossible to delete that folder from OneDrive. If you are on a network, you may need to contact your administrator / user and ask them to delete the folder for you or give you the necessary permissions to do so. In any case, administrator rights are required to be able to delete a folder from OneDrive.

5. Cut and paste outside OneDrive

Here's a weird trick that might work. Cut and paste the folder to a different drive or even the same drive but outside the OneDrive folder, then delete it.

6. Can't delete OneDrive folder? Rename the folder before deleting

An old trick, but it might work. Select the folder you want to delete in OneDrive but you can't press F2 on your keyboard. You can also right-click the folder to select the Rename option from the context menu.

Give the folder another name, then try deleting it again.

7. Enable / disable files on demand

The Files on Demand feature allows you to store files in the cloud and access all the data on your computer without downloading them. This saves valuable space on your HDD / SSD. However, enabling / disabling the feature once can also help you delete files or folders from OneDrive.

  1. Right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray and select Settings in Help and settings.
  2. In the Settings tab, uncheck the “Save space and download files as you use them” option.

You can always select it again later after you have successfully deleted the folder. If the option is already disabled, enable it once and then disable it again.

8. Pause the sync and delete the folder

Is the folder still syncing? Maybe that's why you can't delete the folder because it's being processed.

Right-click the OneDrive icon in the system tray and select the Pause Syncing option. Then select a time frame for which you want to stop OneDrive syncing.

Wait a few moments, then try to delete the folder. You can then go back to the same menu to easily re-enable OneDrive sync.

9. Reset OneDrive

OneDrive reset will not delete any of the existing files or folders. It would simply disconnect the sync connection and you will have to choose which folders to sync again.

1. Press Windows key + R to open the Run prompt and type the following command.

% localappdata% MicrosoftOneDriveonedrive.exe / reset

2. If you are greeted with a “Cannot find…” error message, type the following command instead.

C: Program FilesMicrosoft OneDriveonedrive.exe / reset

If the error persists, try this command.

C: Program Files (x86) Microsoft OneDriveonedrive.exe / reset

3. OneDrive will close. You will have to start it again. Search for OneDrive from the Start menu and click on it to run it.

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Were you able to resolve the error "Cannot delete folder from OneDrive"

Deleting a folder or two from OneDrive can be easy if you're careful about which folder you're deleting and from where. The above mentioned solutions can mainly help you to solve the problem of when it is impossible to delete a folder from OneDrive. Let us know if you have found another method to fix this problem on your Windows 10 computer.

Further Reading:

  • 4 ways to stop Windows 10 from saving files to OneDrive
  • A guide to setting up and using OneDrive on Mac
  • Top 8 solutions for OneDrive sync problems on Mac
  • 8 solutions for when it's impossible to empty the recycle bin in Windows 10
  • 2 methods to uninstall OneDrive from Windows

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