Sync Problems, again, and again, and again

New Contributor

Is there any such thing as a stable sync client? We have to resync from at least one users PC every week, often more.


Even on brand new PCs we are getting continuous sync problems requiring repair and resync. Whilst this works, it scares me how unstable this is. 


As one user said - "365 Group Files Sync - like Dropbox but sh*t"


Is this a common problem and are MS trying to make it better - it is totally unreliable currently.


12 Replies

Are you deploying the next-gen sync client to users? This is much more reliable, and supports both OneDrive for Business and Team Sites / Office 365 Groups.


Instructions for IT admins to deploy, are here:



Yes we are. One group we are using only has three members. If one person makes changes, we can almost guarantee that we will encounter sync problems within a day on the other PCs. Not having a formal notification that it has not synced does not help either - you have to go into your systray to check if it looks OK every day.


The repair works, but just leaves us with many folders in the "Sync Problems" area which requries us to go and evaluate what has gone wrong. Spent almost a whole day with MS support a few weeks back - ended up replacing all three PC's.


I am actually amazed at how shocking the whole process is - Dropbox has not failed - once. And Sharepoint/One drive for business appears to be failing almost daily. Business grade file sharing this is not.


It is quite possibly the worst piece of software I have ever seen. We actually press save and pray that it will not crash. 


I would be very keen to know if this is a common experience - MS cannot find any reason having almost rebuilt our dll's in the process of trying to bottom it out. 


We now take daily backups to Dropbox of the Sharepoint folders - just in case - it really is that flaky.

I would agree that if you were to deploy OneDrive for Business as part of Office 2013 or even 2016, this could be your experience. It's fair to say that someone using the MSI version of Office 2013 or the standalone, unpatched old OneDrive for Business application would have an experience like this.

I'd rather confidently say that with the new, next gen sync client - No, it is *not* that unreliable. It's the same engine as consumer OneDrive sync, and our experience has been it is very solid.

If you say it's " the worst piece of software I have ever seen" then I'd agree that that might have been the sentiment of many with the old OneDrive for Business client, unpatched - but I would not agree with that for the next gen one; so much so that I would encourage you to double check which version you are running; especially as unless you enable Site sync in the next gen client, it will use the old engine for SharePoint sites.

I am not defending Microsoft here - it's pretty darn confusing to have TWO clients, one that ships as part of Office and is not very good, and one that is a standalone update to Windows that is good - but needs to be separately enabled to sync things like team sites. It makes sense from a enterprise change management perspective that there is control and process - but none from a user experience point of view.

As an example - I used to have exactly the kind of problems you face and gave up syncing team sites at work. They would, even with the latest updates break every week with the OLD sync client, and files I worked on would sometimes appear days later as machine-prefixed updates that I thought I had saved.

I've been running the next gen sync client on team sites since preview (and bear in mind, it's only GA over the last few weeks for team sites) and I don't have those problems.

I use Office 365 E3 at home as well - and the next gen sync client is the first version that I've been confident to use for sync of the amount of data I used to sync to other services. For example, I synced 220GB of photos to OneDrive for Business - and had no sync errors.

So I really would encourage you to check exactly which version is to blame here.

OK I think I see the issue here - we all do use the new sync client - but groups seem to insist on using the old Groove one to do the sync, which is probably why we see so much trouble.


It does not seem to be that obvious how to disable the sync using Groove, and force it use the One Drive - company name client. 


the online guides indicate it will automatically work it out but not seemign to work. Could I ask if there is a known working guide as to how to force the old client to stop working - or is it safe to try to uninstall the Groove client that 2013/2016 presumably is bundled with?



Yes you can uninstall the groove bundled client using the office deployment tool. 


Look for the section titled Remove programs from computers that already have Office 365 ProPlus installed


After doing this for our org our problems went away, except for one user, but hes a special snowflake so...


Groups still firing the groove.exe sync client is indicative that your SharePoint admin has not yet configured SharePoint to use the next gen sync client for library syncing. This is not turned on by default.


You need to have your SharePoint/Office 365 Admin follow the instructions in this article:


Specifically, this section:


Set SharePoint to sync with the new OneDrive sync client

  1. Open the SharePoint admin center.

  2. In the left pane, click settings.

  3. Make sure "OneDrive Sync Button" is set to "Start the new client." To sync SharePoint files with the new client, you must also sync OneDrive files with the new client.

  4. For "Sync Client for SharePoint," select Start the new client.

  5. Click OK

    These changes take several hours to propagate. To check that they've propagated, go to a SharePoint Online site and click Sync. In the browser dialog box that confirms the request to open a program, the "Program" should appear as "Microsoft OneDrive" and the "Address" should start with "odopen://"

Thanks - a combination of forcing the use of new client and forcibly reinstalling the new client, and uninstalling the old one has fixed this.


Not a particularly intuitive or easy user process, and I can see why it causes the staff so much trouble.


If I am honest I thin kMS have a responsibility to make this easier and more reliable. Even the MS support techs were struggling to move folders around to make it all work. 4 reboots, and an hour on the phone with tech does not sound like a "new sync client" experience that is seamless.


I am grateful for all your help guys - got there in the end. Many thanks

Yea. If you run the RegFix to sync the SharePoint sites, you should not have any issues with Group sync.

Does setting the "OneDrive Sync Button" to "Start the new client" instead of "Start the old client" have any effect on users still running the old client? I want to make sure we don't cause any issues for systems that still have the old client installed as we test the new client. Will users notice when we change this setting?

I would think your users that are still using the old client should already be syncing, so they should not have to hit the "Sync" button. So, no, it should not affect those


I can tell you that you should update ASAP to the new client. You will save a lot of headach and troubleshooting.

I have been running the new client for over 6 months and have had 0 issues. We have also been installing it on all of our cusotmers that have submitted tickets with issues over the last few months and it has fixed 100% of the issues. Any of our customesr that call in or submit tickets to us now, we just install the new client and it fixes everything.


And we have over 40,000 customers

I would echo and agree fully with @davidpetree1 - the new client is far superior.


By flipping that setting your users will automatically trigger a takeover process as well the next time they press that Sync button on a SharePoint library. Any supported libraries they are currently syncing with groove.exe will transition to the next gen sync client and become much less susceptible to errors and conflicts as a result.


You can find a ton of detail in this article:

Is this thread still live? We've installed the new OneDrive for Business client across our organisation (about 5000 users), and are using SharePoint Online. OneDrive sharing has taken off and is working very well.
We're only now starting to roll out SharePoint Online, and are finding library/folder sync problems, with between 3-5% of files reporting sync problems.