I have the OneDrive app on my PC, so I synced everything between the cloud and my computer. Now all my OneDrive files are on my PC and taking up quite some space. How can I remove OneDrive files from PC without deleting them from the cloud?
User case from answers.microsoft.com
Take it easy if you meet OneDrive files taking up all local space on your computer. Follow this complete guide and learn how to delete OneDrive files from PC without deleting them from the cloud and how to remove OneDrive from PC now.
What Happens if I Delete OneDrive Files from My Computer?
If you want to delete OneDrive files from your computer, you can simply right-click the files in the OneDrive folder on your computer and choose Delete (Windows)/Move to Trash (Mac).
One point to take care of is that OneDrive uses a two-way synchronization of files and folders between the OneDrive cloud and your computer. Specifically speaking, when you delete files on OneDrive from your computer, they will be removed from the cloud automatically. Conversely, if you delete files from OneDrive, they will be erased from your computer as well.
How to remove OneDrive files from PC but keep them on the cloud? Go and follow the stepwise guides below to remove OneDrive files from PC only.
How to Remove OneDrive Files from PC but Keep them in OneDrive
In this part, we collect two methods that can help you remove OneDrive files from PC. The methods work on both Windows 10/8/7 and Mac computers. Pick the suitable one and follow to delete OneDrive folders and files from your computer now!
Way 1. Remove OneDrive Files from Computer with Selective Sync
Using OneDrive, files you store online are synced across all your devices by default. However, you don't need to sync everything on OneDrive with your PC, or you could let OneDrive keep all files online only to save local space.
Step 1. Click the OneDrive icon in your notification area, and go to OneDrive Settings (Windows)/OneDrive Preferences (Mac).
Step 2. Go to the Account tab and tap on Choose folders.
Step 3. On the pop-up Choose folders dialog box, uncheck folders you don't want to sync to your computer, and hit OK.
Way 2. Delete OneDrive Files from Computer using Free up Space
If you wish to clear OneDrive files but keep them available on PC, you can choose the “Free up space” option. This is a feature from OneDrive files on-demand which can display placeholder versions of online files in your local OneDrive directory without synchronizing and downloading them.
Step 1. Open OneDrive Settings (Windows)/OneDrive Preferences (Mac).
Step 2. On the Sync and backup page, click on Advanced settings, and turn on the switch next to Files On-Demand on Windows PCs. Or, click on Turn on Files On-Demand to enable it on Mac.
Step 3. Head to the OneDrive folder on your computer, right-click the files or folders you want to save online only, and select Free Up Space.
Tip: When the OneDrive symbol of your files is marked as a blue cloud icon, they are removed from your computer. However, if you open the files, they will take up space on your computer again and you need to manually set them online only again.
How to Remove OneDrive Folder from File Explorer
We have learned that many people want to remove OneDrive from File Explorer to delete OneDrive files from computer. Here are 3 ways available to you.
Way 1. Remove OneDrive Shortcut from File Explorer by Unlinking Account
Step 1. Click OneDrive icon on the taskbar, and select Help & Settings > Settings.
Step 2. On the Account tab, tap on Unlink this PC.
Step 3. Click Unlink account to unlink OneDrive from your computer.
Way 2. Delete OneDrive Folder from File Explorer by Uninstalling OneDrive
How do I remove OneDrive from my computer on Windows 10/11, in which the OneDrive program is pre-installed? You can follow the steps below to do it:
Step 1. Search for “Control Panel” from the Start menu and click it.
Step 2. Click Uninstall a program under Programs.
Step 3. Locate Microsoft OneDrive on the currently installed programs list, right-click it, and hit Uninstall.
Way 3. Remove OneDrive from Explorer with Local Group Policy Editor
If you don’t want to install OneDrive, you could use the Local Group Policy Editor to hide OneDrive from Explorer. Here is how to remove OneDrive from computer using local group policy:
Step 1. Type “gpedit.msc” in the Windows start box and click Enter.
Step 2. In the left pane of Local Group Policy Editor, direct to Local Computer Policy > Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive in turn.
Step 3. Double-click Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage and set it to Enabled. Then, click OK.
Best Free Way to Sync Files to OneDrive without Local Copies
If you want a perfect tool to perform OneDrive sync and backup without taking up local space, CBackup is what you need. This is a free cloud backup and sync service that allows you to upload to OneDrive without having to add OneDrive to File Explorer or save a local copy of your files.
◑ Its Syncfeature can help you keep files on your computer and the cloud the same, while its Backup feature allows you to use OneDrive for backup only and restore files when needed.
◑ It offers four flexible auto backup/sync modes - One time only, Daily, Weekly, and Monthly.
◑ It supports auto file backup and synchronization to OneDrive from local and external hard drives.
◑ Except for OneDrive, it supports syncing and backing up files to Google Drive, Dropbox, and more clouds.
◑ It provides you with 10GB of CBackup Cloud backup space and expandable storage plans.
Step 4. Guide to your sync source and select files and folders. Choose a folder in OneDrive as the sync destination.
Step 5. Click Settings to enable Scheduler and set up OneDrive auto sync (optional). Finally, tap on Start Sync.
On this page, we introduced how to remove OneDrive files from PC and solutions to remove OneDrive from Windows Explorer. For someone who needs to upload to OneDrive without local copies, we present the free backup utility CBackup that allows you to perform OneDrive sync and backup without eating up local space.