How to shut down Windows 10 OneDrive completely

windows-10-file-explorer-favouritesOneDrive and Windows 10 are joined at the hip. So tightly, in fact, that OneDrive gets its own quick access link in File Explorer and its sync client runs automatically when you start up your PC.

Of course you don’t have to use OneDrive’s cloud storage. You may prefer a cloud service from another provider such as Google Drive, or perhaps you just do not like the idea of storing your files in the cloud. No matter what your reason may be, you are completely free to ignore OneDrive in your backup plans.

If you are not currently using OneDrive the sync client may keep asking you to sign in using your Microsoft Account. When the message pops up asking you to sign in, just click Cancel. Cancelling OneDrive still leaves the OneDrive icon in the navigation pane of File Explorer. To make this disappear, you will need to make a simple Registry edit.

In Windows 10 Pro or Enterprise, you can use the Group Policy editor to make this change. Open the Local Group Policy Editor by putting Gpedit.msc in the Windows 10 search box and go to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive. Double-click the policy Prevent The Usage Of OneDrive For File Storage and set it to Enabled.

After you restart your PC, you’ll find that the OneDrive icon is no longer in the navigation pane and the sync client no longer runs.

On devices running Windows 10 Home, where Group Policy isn’t available, you have to edit the registry manually. Open the Registry Editor by typing regedit into the Windows 10 search box, select regedit from the top of the resulting list. In regedit navigate to HKLM\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\OneDrive. (If that key doesn’t exist, you will need to create it). Add a new DWORD value, DisableFileSyncNGSC, and set it to 1. Restart the PC to make the policy setting effective (Note that this change applies to every user of the selected device).

If you previously synced your files to OneDrive, they remain in the local OneDrive folder but are no longer linked to their cloud counterparts.

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