SharePoint and OneDrive for Business libraries stop syncing after upgrade to Office 2016 and/or Windows 10

Posted: October 28, 2015 in Office 2016, Office 365, OneDrive for Business, windows 10
Tags: , ,

OneDrive for Business and/or SharePoint Libraries Synced

If you had your OneDrive for Business library and/or other SharePoint libraries synced and then you upgraded from Office 2010/2013 to Office 2016, there is an excellent chance that syncing will stop.  It may be coincidence that this showed up along with an upgrade to Windows 10, but the primary issues seem to be with Office 2013.

Try This First

Open task manager and see if OneDrive for Business is running, or look in systray for the blue clooud icon indicating it is trying to sync.  If it is not running, go to the start menu (Windows 7 or 10) or look in Applications (Windows 8/8.1) and open OneDrive for Business.  You won’t see anything unless you look in systray again.

If it is running, either because you started it or it was already running, right-click on the systray icon and see if it brings up the context menu.  Hopefully it will, and you should choose repair. Let it run to see if that fixes your problem by then seeing if things start to sync.

I was not so lucky.  I got no context menu when I right-clicked.  More than that, I should 13,000+ files syncing (size of all my synced libraries) and it never changed.

What Worked for Me

I tried several things, none of which actually did any good towards fixing the sync problem, but for your information, and in hopes maybe they would work for you, here they are:\

  • Started OneDrive for Business, restarted the computer and tried again.  Nope.
  • Ran quick repair on Office (installed from Office 365 BTW).  Nope
  • Ran full repair on Office.  Nope.
  • Opened Office 365 and went to each library and tried sync icon.  Nope.

If you too got none of those to work what you should do next is uninstall Office 2016.  Don’t panic about settings like Outlook profiles, signatures, etc.  They won’t disappear on you.

For the next step, rename the synced folders on my local drive.  In my case, the local copies were all on Drive C:, so navigated toC:\Users\<myprofile>.  If you synced ShareSharePoint  libraries you will see a folder Named SharePoint.  DO NOT DELETE THESE FOLDERS OR FILES!!  Rename it to have an extension of .old (you can do anything you want to get rid of the original name, but I would just add some sort of extension and will explain why later).  Doing this AFTER removing Office 2016 doesn’t give you an error that the files are in use.

Now rename the OneDrive for Business folder.  It, too, in in your user profile, with a file name of One Drive – <domain> where domain is your Office 365 user domain.  Add .old to it as well, for example.

Now re-install Office 2016.  If your source is Office 365, open the portal, click on the gear wheel, and choose Office 365 Settings, then either Software (if your site has not been recently upgraded) or Installs (if it has).  Click to download and install Office 2016.  If you didn’t change your computer name, then it already knows you are authenticated on that computer.

When the install is finished, start OneDrive for Business.  You may get error messages that it can’t find the libraries to sync.  If you do, then right click on the systray icon and choose Stop Syncing a Folder, then select the folder(s) and stop synching all of them.

Now, start with the SharePoint libraries you want to sync.  Open the Office 365 portal, navigate to the sites, then to each library and choose sync.  When all have finished, you can now turn your attention to OneDrive.

Here is what I had to do to avoid getting an error on sync that the file could not be opened.

  1. Stop OneDrive for Business.  You can do this in task manager, or right-click on the icon in systray and choose Exit.
  2. Open the Office 365 portal and navigate to your OneDrive for Business.
  3. Click on the sync icon, then allow it to sync.

It took a bit for my files to come across as I had a large amount in OneDrive for Business, but it finally caught up.

But Then…

I started seeing that horrible red circle with the white X appear on the folder and file names in the local folder.  I thought that very strange since all the files were synced before and there should have been no errors.  So I looked at sync errors – right-click on the icon in systray and choose that option – and saw that file after file was asking for credentials.

This is what Microsoft support describes as a known issue.  There is an update to fix it, and if you open an Office 2016 product, click on File then select Account, you will see an update button.  Click to apply the update, then reboot your computer.

While you are there, however, make sure that your Office 2016 is connected to

  • Office 365 SharePoint
  • Office 365 OneDrive for Business
  • OneDrive if you have a personal account that you also use.

I also had to do a bit of tweaking to finally get sync going again for OneDrive for Business.  I stopped the sync, did a repair, then started it again.  It did not seem to get things moving.  So I removed OneDrive for Business from the sync sites, went back to Office 365 and synced it again.  Finally, when it started reporting “need credentials,” I went off to do something else.  When I came back several hours later everything had synced and no errors were reported.

Go figure.

Files Updated Locally but Never Synced to Office 365

You may have a  situation similar to mine in that I had opened and updated files locally as well as created new ones, but they never got synced to the cloud.  So the final step is to “sync locally” with those changes.  That is why it was important to keep the old local copies because those copies hold the updated files and folders.

To “sync” them, I used xcopy.exe from a command prompt.  Add the parameters “/e /s /i /d” to copy only newer files (/d with no additional parameters) and add any missing files and folders.  Assuming that your files are synced on Drive C:, the default location, try these steps:

  1.   Open cmd prompt window.
  2.   Navigate to C:\users\<profilename>.
  3.   Look for the folder SharePoint and the one you renamed to SharePoint.old.
  4.   Enter the command xcopy sharepoint sharepoint.old /e /s /d /i
  5.   This should copy the files that are newer to the local syced folders and then in turn up to Office 365.
  6.   Repeat the command for OneDrive for Business new folder and the old, renamed one.  Be sure and use ” around the directory name, as in xcopy “onedrive for business.old” “onedrive for business” /e /s /d /i.  Replace the directory names in this example with the actual directory names on your drive.

When everything has synced to Office 365 and you are comfortable with the files that are local and in the cloud, you can safely delete the old, renamed folders from your drive.

  1. Audrey Chambers says:

    Hi Larry,

    I tried using the instructions in this post. However, I ran into a problem.

    I have a school account that provides me with Office 365 ProPlus with 2013 apps. The IT department here doesn’t provide a lot of information and getting to the Office 365 portal is difficult. For the first two semesters I was here, they couldn’t fix a lot of my issues and ignored many of my requests for help. So I stopped going to them for help.

    I also have a Microsoft Account associated with my personal e-mail. Under this account, I have an Office 365 University subscription that I purchased before I became aware of the Office 365 ProPlus with 2013 apps available to me through the school. When Office 2016 was released, this was my source for the install. One Drive for Business is not included in this version, along with a few other handy apps. When I installed Office 2016, I was forced to remove all of the 2013 versions, including OneDrive for Business. As you might have guessed, my OneDrive for Business with all of my school folders and files stopped syncing.

    So after a lot of reading and headaches, I figured a few things out (or at least I think so). There doesn’t seem to be a way for me to download a stand-alone version of OneDrive for Business 2016. It would appear that Office 2016 Professional Plus is not due to release until February 2016. It is possible to get it sooner if your school/organization signs up for first release, but I am reasonably certain that my IT department is not that proactive.

    So basically, I have two choices. Option one is to to wait until my school deploys Office 365 ProPlus with 2016 apps in February and uninstall Office 365 University so that I can install Office 365 ProPlus with 2016 apps and get everything working again. Option two is to completely uninstall Office 365 University with 2016 apps and go back to Office 365 ProPlus with 2013 apps until February 2016 (not a fan of this option). I might just move all my school folders and files to my personal OneDrive account that syncs flawlessly with Office 365 University so that I may continue to use Office 2016 until my school deploys the new software.

    I suppose a third option would be to continue to search for a way to download the OneDrive for Business sync client separately from the Office 365 ProPlus with 2016 apps. However, I haven’t had any luck finding a way to do that.

    This is probably an Audrey-created problem that will not be very relevant to others experiencing OneDrive for Business sync issues, but I thought I would share that with you anyway.

    Thanks for blogging this. During my quest for answers, I never found anything even remotely as helpful as this.




  2. Audrey

    You are correct on everything you say. OneDrive for Business is available at only as 2013, and OD4B is included in Office Pro Plus and not in other versions. Why they are doing it this way I am not certain. And why OD4B 2013 can’t run side by side with Office 2016 is another thing I am not certain about. But both seem to hold.

    While Option 2 is not your favorite, it is the viable one if you want to continue to sync locally. You could also add a fourth option, change schools. Still, it would not seem to override option 2 as the top choice. You might also find someone who could “loan” you enterprise credentials and download Office 2016 under that account, option 5.


  3. Audrey Chambers says:


    I broke down and went back to Office 365 with 2013 apps. But at least now everything works again!



  4. xtgjl says:

    I gave up trying to fix and used

    Going well so far


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