How to Disable OneDrive in Windows 11

OneDrive

If you don’t want to use OneDrive on Windows 11, you can temporarily or permanently disable it, stop OneDrive on the Windows startup, or completely uninstall it.

OneDrive is a cloud storage service that is developed and managed by Microsoft. It is a built-in file hosting and synchronization service that you get when you set up your Windows 11 operating system. It helps you keep your photos, documents, and other data backed up, synced, and accessible on all your devices connected to your OneDrive account.

But the problem is it may keep popping up from time to time asking you to backup your data or it may slow down your internet and PC. Also, sometimes OneDrive moves your files to the cloud and leaves you with only thumbnails (not actual files) or shortcuts on your local drive and you won’t be able to access them unless you are connected to the internet.

While OneDrive is a really good cloud service, you may be inclined to disable it if you already have another online storage service like Google, Dropbox, Mega, Amazon Drive, or something similar. Fortunately, Windows gives you various options to temporarily disable OneDrive, permanently disable it, prevent OneDrive from running on the startup, or completely remove it. And this guide will show you how to do all of that.

Pause OneDrive Sync in Windows 11 (Temporarily)

Sometimes, you don’t want to fully disable OneDrive but to pause the syncing process for some time. OneDrive lets you pause the background syncing process (including upload and download) for 2, 8, and 24 hours. Follow these steps to do that:

To pause the OneDrive, click the taskbar corner overflow ^ icon (also called System tray) on the right side of the taskbar and click on the ‘OneDrive’ icon (cloud icon) in the Notification/Overflow area.

If you don’t see the OneDrive icon in the overflow area, click on the Windows (Start) icon and search for ‘OneDrive’. Then, click on ‘OneDrive’ in the search results.

This will open up the OneDrive folder. Close that folder and head to the taskbar corner overflow area. Now, you would see the OneDrive icon, click on that icon.

Next, click on the ‘Help & Settings’ in the OneDrive window.

Then, click the ‘Pause syncing’ menu and choose a time frame for which you want to disable sync.

This will stop the synching process of the selected time and it automatically starts the process after that time is over.

Pause OneDrive Sync For Specific/All Folders in Windows 11

Instead of disabling sync for all the files and folders stored on your computer, you can easily stop syncing for only specific folders.

First, click on the OneDrive icon in the Overflow (hidden) icons menu to open OneDrive. Next, click on the ‘Help & Settings’ button and ‘Settings’ from the menu that appears.

In the OneDrive settings window, go to the ‘Account’ tab, and click on the ‘Choose folders’ button.

This will show the list of all the folders that OneDrive is currently backing (syncing) up to the cloud.

Now, uncheck the folders that you don’t want to sync and click ‘OK’. You could all uncheck all the folders to stop sync on all the folders.

However, you cannot unselect some of the default Windows folders such as the ‘Desktop’ folder in Documents and ‘Camera Roll’ and ‘Screenshots’ folder in Pictures.


Disabling OneDrive in Windows 11

If you want to stop using the OneDrive, you don’t need to completely uninstall it. You can just disable the service and leave the application on your computer, so you can use it if you need it later.

You can disable OneDrive by unliking the PC (signing out) from OneDrive, stoping OneDrive during Windows startup, or by fully disabling it through Group Policy Editor or Registry editor. By disabling the OneDrive, you will stop all its services, including the background services, and the sync feature.

1. Disable OneDrive from Automatically Starting

By default, OneDrive automatically starts up every time you turn on your PC and sign in to Windows 11. You can stop OneDrive from automatic startup during Windows 11 startup through OneDrive settings, Startup Apps, or Task Manager.

Stop OneDrive from Starting using OneDrive App Settings

First, click on the ‘OneDrive’ icon from the hidden icons of the Overflow menu.

Then, click on the ‘Help & Settings’ option and select ‘Settings’ from the menu that appears.

In the Microsoft OneDrive window, switch to the ‘Settings’ tab, and uncheck the ‘Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows’ option. Then, click ‘OK’.

Disable OneDrive from Startup Using Windows Settings

You can easily stop the OneDrive from automatically starting up during Windows 11 startup by disabling the app from the list of startup apps in the Windows 11 settings.

To do that, right-click the Start button and select ‘Settings’ or press the Windows+I shortcut.

Next, select ‘Apps’ in the left panel and click the ‘Startup’ settings on the right side.

Then, turn off the toggle next to the ‘Microsoft OneDrive’ option in the list of startup apps.

Disable OneDrive from Startup using Task Manager

Another way you can disable OneDrive from the startup apps is through the Task Manager.

You can launch the task manager by searching and selecting ‘Task Manger’ from the Windows search, by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Esc, or by right-clicking the Start menu and selecting the ‘Task Manager’.

Then, click the ‘Startup’ tab in the Task Manager window. From the list of startup programs, either right-click on ‘Microsoft OneDrive’ and then select ‘Disable’ or select the ‘Microsoft OneDrive’ app and click the ‘Disable’ button at the bottom right corner of the window to stop it from running on Windows startup.

Now, the next time you start up your computer, the OneDrive will not start with it. After that, the OneDrive will only run if you start it manually.

Unlink OneDrive from Your Windows 11 PC

Unlinking your OneDrive account from your PC will stop your PC from updating and syncing data with the cloud. Unlinking OneDrive will simply sign you out of your OneDrive account on your PC and leave the app behind. By doing so, you will not lose any files or data that are already synced. You can always access your updated and synced files by signing back into the OneDrive app or OneDrive.com. Here’s how you unlink OneDrive from Windows 11:

First, click on the ‘Show hidden icons’ arrow in the taskbar corner and click/tap on the ‘OneDrive’ icon.

Then, click on the ‘Help & Settings’ option and select ‘Settings’ from the menu that appears.

In the Microsoft OneDrive window, go to the ‘Account’ tab, and click the ‘Unlink this PC’ link as shown below.

Further, click the ‘Unlink Account’ button in the confirmation dialog box that pops up.

This will log you out of your OneDrive account on your PC and stop syncing your files with the cloud. After you unlinked your PC, you will still see the OneDrive icon in the taskbar and when you hover over it, it will show you ‘Not signed in’.

OneDrive will still start on Windows startup and run in the background but it will not sync your files or perform any other OneDrive functions until you sign in to OneDrive again.

Disable OneDrive on Windows 11 through Group Policy Editor

You can also disable OneDrive through Group Policy Editor (GPE) which allows users to change many important settings on their computers. But Group Policy Editor is only available in Professional, Workstation, and Enterprise editions of the Windows 11 operating systems. To disable OneDrive through GPE follow these steps:

Click the Start menu and type gpedit or ‘Group Policy Editor’ and launch the ‘Edit Policy Editor’ control panel from the result.

In the Group Policy Editor, navigate to the following location from the left navigation bar.

Computer configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive

Then, double-click on ‘Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage’ from the right pane or right-click on the setting and select ‘Edit’.

Then, select ‘Enabled’ from the top left menu, click ‘Apply’, and then ‘OK’.

This will disable the OneDrive program including its background and syncing processes.

Disable OneDrive on Windows 11 via Registry Editor

Another way you can disable OneDrive on Windows 11 is through the registry editor. Here’s, how:

First, open Registry Editor by searching for ‘Registry editor’ or ‘regedit’ on the Windows search. Alternatively, open the Run command box via Windows+R shortcut keys, type in regedit, and press Enter.

When the Registry Editor launches, navigate to the following location or copy-paste the below location in its address bar and hit Enter:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\OneDrive

Then, look for the DWORD named ‘DisableFileSyncNGSC’ in the right pane and then, double-click on it and change its value to ‘1’.

If you can’t find the ‘DisableFileSyncNGSC’ DWORD or ‘OneDrive’ folder in the above-specified location, then you need to create a new one and change the Value data. Here’s how you do that:

Right-click on the ‘Windows’ folder, select ‘New’ and then click ‘Key’.

Then, rename the folder (Key) into ‘OneDrive’.

Next, right-click the ‘OneDrive’ key, hover over ‘New’, and then select ‘DWORD (32-bit) Value’.

This will generate a new DWORD value named ‘NewValue #1’. Rename that value to ‘DisableFileSyncNGSC’.

After that, double-click on the newly created DWORD ‘DisableFileSyncNGSC’ and change the value to 1 in the ‘Value Data’ field. Then, click ‘OK’.

Once you have done that, restart your system to apply the changes. If you want to re-enable the OneDrive in case your change your mind, then just change the value of ‘DisableFileSyncNGSC’ to 0.

Uninstall OneDrive from Windows 11

If you decided that don’t want the OneDrive app anymore and want to completely uninstall it from your Windows 11, there are two ways to go about it. However, when you uninstall OneDrive, it will only apply to the current user.

Uninstall OneDrive from Windows Settings

To permanently remove OneDrive from your system via settings, follow these steps:

To start with, open Windows 11 settings by pressing Windows+I keyboard shortcuts. Then, go to ‘Apps’ from the left menu bar and then select the ‘Apps & Features’ option from the right-pane.

On the next screen, scroll down to the ‘Microsoft OneDrive’ app and then click on the three vertical dots next to it. Then, click/tap on the ‘Uninstall’ option.

On the confirmation box, click ‘Uninstall’ again to uninstall the program.

This will completely remove the OneDrive app from your PC.

Uninstall OneDrive using Command Prompt

Another way you can uninstall OneDrive in Windows 11 is by executing some simple commands in Command Prompt.

But before you do that, you need to know whether you’re running the 32 or 64-bit version of the Windows 11 operating system. If you don’t know which version you’re using, then follow these steps to know that.

To start with, open Windows ‘Settings’, and select the ‘System’ tab on the left. Then scroll down to the ‘About’ option at the last under the ‘System’ section.

On the About page, you can see the version next to the ‘System type’ as shown below.

After knowing the version of your Windows, go to the Start menu, search for ‘CMD’ or ‘Command Prompt’ and then select ‘Run as administrator’.

In the Command Prompt, type in the following two commands, one at a time, and press Enter:

For 64-bit systems:

taskkill /f /im OneDrive.exe
%SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall

For 32-bit systems: 

taskkill /f /im OneDrive.exe
%SystemRoot%\System32\OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall

The first command stops the OneDrive and the second command uninstalls it.

On the User Account Control prompt box, click – ‘Yes’.

This will permanently remove the OneDrive from your Windows 11 system.

In case you change your mind and you want OneDrive back, you can always search for the ‘OneDrive’ app in the Microsoft Store and install it from there.

That’s it.