OneDrive - Synchronisation issues SharePoint document libraries

Copper Contributor

I have spoken with Microsoft Support about a couple of issues with Windows 10 and the OneDrive Next Generation Synchronisation client. However, they were unable to assist as they could not figure out what the issue is.


I have two customers both running Windows 10 exclusively with version 1709 build 16299.192. Both are using the latest OneDrive client 17.3.7131.1115 (though as I write this some are updating to 17.3.7294.0108) with the files on-demand feature enabled. They are synchronising OneDrive from Office 365 and SharePoint document libraries.


The first issue we are having is that intermittently the SharePoint document libraries will remove themselves from the OneDrive client. I have seen this happen and looks automated as a Windows 10 notification will appear in the action centre to say that the document library has been deleted. As this happens without warning it is causing issues as the orphaned folder structure is still accessible through File Explorer along with any files that have been worked on by the person on that PC. If it is spotted quickly it can be resolved fairly easily as re-synchronising the library adds it straight back into OneDrive and the synchronisation then works OK.


It is not always the same SharePoint library that disconnects and it can be from any of the people in the business at any time. I even added the libraries to my PC (I use a document library from a separate Office 365 tenant without issue) and replicated the issue.


The second issue is that on a PC that is fully synchronised if it is shutdown for a couple of weeks (as can happen for annual leave etc) and folders / files are deleted from SharePoint online, when the device reconnects OneDrive assumes that the PC is the correct source and synchronises the deleted folders and files back to SharePoint. This has caused a few head scratching moments for the customer as to where previously removed data is appearing from.


I am posting here in the hope that someone from the OneDrive dev team may see the post and confirm if these issues are known about or if there may be a fix on the horizon.

7 Replies

@StephenRice and @Stephen Rose might help here. I have not encountered myself the problems you are reporting here

@Juan Carlos González Martín, thanks for taking the time to respond. Hopefully @StephenRice or @Stephen Rose may have heard of these issues or if not be able to point me in the right direction to get these issues resolved for our customers.

As an update; the customer that was having issues with SharePoint and OneDrive have decided to scale back how they use the service as it was causing too many issues. The data that they had in the cloud has now been moved back to a local file server with only a single document library now being used.


I have performed some additional tests and believe that the issue is due to file path lengths. When OneDrive is setup for the SharePoint sites, the default path for creation is 'C:\Users\%USERNAME%\Office 365 Company Name\SharePoint Site Name - SharePoint Document Library Name'. We abbreviated this down as far as possible, but, before adding any data to SharePoint via the OneDrive client we were finding that on average 20 - 30 characters were being taken by this portion of the file path. Before any data was moved processes were run to make sure that the data fell within limits, but I believe that data was copied or uploaded by the customer that exceeded the amount of characters that can be used. This was 218 for Excel and 250 for file Explorer.


I have run a test myself today and if, through File Explorer or Word, Excel etc a path is used that is long and a file is created that would exceed the 250 character limit you are blocked from either creating or saving the file. However, if you copy the file to this location it will create the file (breaking the limit) and synchronise to SharePoint. This will in turn then try to synchronise to the other clients and cause an issue.


Due to the naming requirements for this customer they had quite deep folder structures on a file server. This was not a problem when on a file server as they started with a drive letter, M:\FOLDER etc.


We did try running the Office diagnostic tools and each time the OneDrive client passed all checks.


Hopefully for future versions of the client the fact that files can be copied in and break the file path limits may be resolved as I think that this will resolve the issues that I have seen.




I haven't been able to find anything on this problem but this post is identical to the issue we are currently having.


It started a couple of months ago and to start with it was fairly easy to deal with. However the finance department are finding it a bit of nightmare as twice now they have had their finance library disconnect and haven't notice. This has caused chaos as they will have both worked in the OneDrive folders on their machines making a resync a very messy task. This has caused them to lose a lot of faith in the system as they feel they are always looking over their shoulder with it to check its syncing. 


This has been pretty sporadic for other users too with a spate about a month ago.


However there doesn't seem to be any obvious solution. The users are currently using Windows 10 1703 so haven't got the latest OneDrive version with files on demand.


I am having a hard time convincing people that sticking with Office 365 and SharePoint is the right thing to do. Starting to wonder myself!


Did you ever find a solution or acknowledgement to this problem?


Thanks in advance!



Thanks @Steven Wicks and @Ryan Cracknell sharing your experiencies of sync issues with Sharepoint document libraries.


Our Finance department (~40 users) has already SPO site in use and now they were thinking syncing some of the document libraries to their laptops, but now reading your experiences I am little worried about the strange sporadic issues we might face.


With the old sync client we had some very nasty cases of sync errors/problems and it took long hours to fix the issues and recover the important files. Since then we have advised our users in our company that SPO document libraries should not be synced ("For online use only"), but syncing private ODfB library is ok.

@Teemu Strand I understand your hesitation. We have had it a lot recently and the sync client isn't the fastest at resyncing a lot of files which is rather frustrating.


We only have 2 users who are currently having the biggest issue with OneDrive. However they probably do the most in terms of sharing a single SPO library. The problem is if a sync drops out on one of their machines and they don't notice, it becomes a very messy and time consuming process trying to match up the most recent files from each.


We have tried to push the 'Online only use' but they really don't get on well with accessing everything via a web browser. Only today I have just had one of them call with an issue where a handful of new files they have created on their machine are just sat there in the 'Processing' stage and have been since 08:00 this morning. I can understand their frustration but I have no answer for them other than 'Just leave it running and it will update . . . eventually' But I have no reason to give them of why this is the case.


Generally OneDrive for Business drives have been ok. They have dropped out but due to the fact that really only one user is using them the chances of files mismatching are small. However shared SharePoint libraries are a mine field of problems when synced to multiple machines and users.


My next step was to start using Windows 10 1709 which allows the use of 'Files on demand' in OneDrive rather than having to sync everything straight off. At least with this users are only downloading files they use so if a sync problem occurs it will only effect a small amount of files, in theory. (fingers crossed)

Apologies for not replying sooner.


From my findings with the OneDrive client, I am convinced that the issues that our customer was experiencing was due to the file and folder paths exceeding limits. I have no proof of this from log files etc as nothing gets reported, but hope this helps.


Even though I explained the finite limit of the file and folder path could not exceed 250 characters or 218 for Excel files, they would regularly name folders and files in such a way that this limit would be exceeded. I ran some tests myself and it is surprisingly easy to do.


When running the Microsoft Office 365 analyzer tools on the data once it synchronised, it showed no errors. However, I could run a script against the data and review as a CSV in Excel to show that data broke the limits. I think that intermittently the client would realise this and just stop working rather than flag an error when trying to synchronise the data to say that a rule had been broken.


We have another customer (both are in the building trade so use similar naming conventions) and they intermittently have the same issue. They are happy to workaround this by using the OneDrive app from the Microsoft Store which works well, minus being able to integrate into File Explorer.


On a personal note; I have synchronised my own OneDrive data and a SPO library that is in use at our business on several PCs and to this day have never had this issue. Side loading the customers OneDrive on the same PC I experienced the drop in synchronisation (and co-incidentally so did several of the staff at the customer site at exactly the same time, though not all).


One of our customers grew too frustrated by the issue and decided to move back to hosting the data on their server and using VPN connectivity to access remotely. Our other customer is persevering with OneDrive and for the moment is happy to work with us to resolve. I am going down the data route to fix, but due to Microsoft not being able to find anything, is best guess on my-part.


Hopefully my experience may help you.