7 Ways: How to Fix OneDrive File Cannot be Deleted

If you're encountering an issue where your OneDrive file cannot be deleted, you can follow the 7 recommended solutions on this page to address the problem effectively.


by Jonna Lasted Updated April 28, 2024

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Why can't I delete files from OneDrive?


I'm having a major headache with OneDrive. The OneDrive file cannot be deleted. Do any of you guys know why it's acting up? I'm using Windows 10, and I am going to run out of my free OneDrive storage. Any help is appreciated!

- User case from Microsoft Community

OneDrive File Cannot be Deleted

OneDrive stands as a free cloud storage service, offering file protection, backup, and synchronization services. Despite its advantages, the storage capacity of OneDrive is constrained. With the limited 5 GB of free cloud storage space, users have to regularly delete or remove unnecessary OneDrive documents.

However, during this process, you might encounter that Microsoft OneDrive cannot delete files. One common reason is the files are currently in use or locked by another application. Additionally, reasons like, the lack of necessary permissions and OneDrive system issues may also be possible points. To address this issue and delete OneDrive folders or files that are seemingly undeletable, continue reading for the solution.

7 solutions to OneDrive file cannot be deleted in Windows

Within the following comprehensive guide, you'll discover 7 practical solutions aimed at resolving the issue of OneDrive files cannot be deleted. For further assistance, please follow the step-by-step instructions outlined in the following part.

Way 1. Make sure the OneDrive file is closed

To avoid encountering the issue of OneDrive cannot delete a file, you should ensure it is not currently in use before attempting to delete it. Verify whether the file or folder is open elsewhere, particularly if it has been shared with others. Confirm that no collaborators are actively using the file or folder you intend to delete. Then try to delete the file again.

Way 2. Check file permissions

People can easily share documents with OneDrive. But if you lack the necessary permissions for the shared OneDrive files, the issue of OneDrive not letting me delete files may appear. To successfully delete the OneDrive file, it is imperative to request permission from the file administrator.

Way 3. Move or rename the OneDrive file

If you are facing challenges that OneDrive file cannot be removed, consider an unconventional approach. That is, attempt altering the file's name by selecting it and right-click to choose the Rename option from the drop-down menu. Then, try deleting the file with its newly assigned name.

Rename OneDrive File

If this proves ineffective, you can try to move the file. Cut the file that you are struggling to delete, paste it outside of the OneDrive folder, and then attempt to delete it once more.

Way 4. Pausing syncing

In scenarios where a file is currently in the process of syncing, deletion might not be possible. To address this, consider pausing the syncing process temporarily by following the steps outlined below:

1. Locate and click the OneDrive icon in the taskbar, then select the Help & Settings button positioned in the upper right corner.

2. Choose the option to Pause syncing and select the desired time duration during which you wish to suspend the syncing process.

Pause Syncing

Way 5. Relink OneDrive account

Unlinking and relinking your OneDrive account can also resolve certain OneDrive errors, such as cannot delete files from OneDrive, or OneDrive - Sorry, there was a problem displaying this folder. It's important to note that this process won't delete your OneDrive files; it only temporarily stops the synchronization process to the cloud. You can attempt the steps below to relink your OneDrive account:

1. Click on the OneDrive cloud icon located in your taskbar.

2. Select the gear-shaped icon positioned in the top right corner, then choose Settings.

3. Navigate to the Account >Unlink this PC > Unlink account.

Unlink This PC OneDrive Account

After you have successfully unlinked OneDrive from your PC, perform a system restart. Then access your OneDrive, enter your Microsoft account details, and reconfigure OneDrive on your system. Check to see if the issue has been resolved.

Way 6. Reset OneDrive

If an internal OneDrive issue is causing problems leading to the issue - OneDrive file cannot be deleted, resetting the OneDrive application can be an effective solution. The steps for resetting OneDrive are straightforward and can efficiently resolve the issue at hand.

1. Press the Windows + R keys simultaneously to open the Run window.

2. In the provided input box, type the following text and then press Enter:

%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /reset

Reset Command

3. Finally, go to the Start menu, find OneDrive, and restart it by clicking it.

☁ Tip: Resetting OneDrive will not result in the deletion of any files or folders from your account.

Way 7. Reinstall OneDrive

If none of the previously mentioned solutions prove effective, consider reinstalling OneDrive to resolve the issue: can't delete a file from OneDrive. Follow the steps outlined below:

1. Open Apps & features by searching for it in the Search box.

2. Locate Microsoft OneDrive, click on it, choose Uninstall, and allow the system to remove it from your PC.

Microsoft OneDrive Uninstall

3. Visit the OneDrive website to download the latest OneDrive app, and follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall it. After reinstalling, attempt to delete the files and verify if the issue has been resolved.

Further Reading: How to increase your OneDrive storage free

Considering the limitations of OneDrive's 5 GB free storage space, you can opt to upgrade your account or utilize CBackup to increase your OneDrive storage space at no additional cost. It facilitates the seamless combination of multiple cloud accounts to get more OneDrive storage.

Here are some additional features of CBackup:

  • It is a professional yet free cloud backup service that enables you to back up files from PC to OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. Additionally, it offers 10GB of free CBackup Cloud storage, allowing you to back up files securely.
  • It offers sync function that enables one-way sync files from your PC to cloud, which can help you save local space without syncing locally.
  • Moreover, it offers several useful features such as Email Notification, File Filter, and Scheduler. The last feature can help you create auto sync to OneDrive.

Just follow the easy instructions to increase your OneDrive storage free:

1. Download the CBackup desktop app and create a new account. Sign in to the CBackup client.

Download CBackupWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Navigate to the Storage tab on the left-hand side and select OneDrive. Click on Authorize Now to grant CBackup access to your OneDrive storage.

Select OneDrive

3. Click +Add Cloud, select OneDrive, and click Add. Repeat the step to add all the OneDrive accounts or other cloud accounts you have.

My Storage Add OneDrive

4. Subsequently, click on the + Add Combined Cloud option.

My Storage New Combined Cloud.

5. Rename the newly combined cloud. Select all the cloud drive accounts you added and click Next > Combine.

Add Combined Cloud

Then, you can choose Backup > Backup PC to Combined Cloud to select the Combined Cloud as the backup task destination, allowing for the easy backup of any folder to OneDrive error-free.

Backup PC to Combined Cloud


If you're encountering difficulties with OneDrive file cannot be deleted, you can explore the 7 solutions outlined in the post. Moreover, you might consider using CBackup's Combine Cloud function, enabling you to benefit from increased OneDrive storage space free of charge. You can also manage multiple cloud storage accounts with ease using this tool.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna becomes a professional in the areas of cloud backup and restoration, data protection, etc. after years of learning and researching. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.

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