Why am I not able to find my recently created folders in OneDrive or my file Explorer?

Copper Contributor

I recently created a folder on my OneDrive account with Word Documents that i had saved in the folder. Upon trying to locate the folder in my OneDrive, the folders that i had just created, never showed up again. It was really strange, because i was sure that i had created the folders and i was not losing my memory. Then i thought that it might not be showing in my File Explorer/ OneDrive if I still had the Word Document open so i closed the word document and then opened my OneDrive in my file explorer and I still couldn't find the folder that i had just created. After about 10 minutes, i opened the Word program once again and then located the file under,"Recent Documents", then right clicked the file that i had recently created and selected "Open File Location". When i did that, it indeed showed that the file location that i had just created did exist in the pathway i just described, in Word's memory, but it was still not existent in my OneDrive's memory under my File Explorer. 

Has anyone else experienced this issue with OneDrive not remembering recently saved folders and their contents?

13 Replies

@Sean_P_s3016183 If the files/folders are visible in the web view of OneDrive, and not locally on your computer, it is possible that you have selective sync. Go to your OneDrive folder and right-click to get Settings. In the dialog that comes up, under the Account tab, click the Choose folders button. In the next window you will see if all or only some of your folders are being synced. 


If the folders that are "missing" are visible but not checked then check them to make them available via File Explorer. Word is locating the online version of the files, but they are not synced locally.

@Mike Williams Hi Mike, thanks for your reply. I did what you had suggested, opened my settings from my OneDrive folder, under the Account Tab, i clicked on the link to "choose folders" and i could see that all of the folders were already checked, so in theory they should have synchronized automatically but they did not. I thought i would try login to the web version of my OneDrive and see if i could synchronize from there and I have now began the sync process. It seems to take an awfully long time to synchronize by the way! It's been about  15 minutes so far and the one folder that i had added now appears in my local hard drive version of my OneDrive but in the "status column" next to the folder, it shows a cloud icon saying that the file will be "available when online". I'm never not online, so i'm confused as to why it's saying that. In addition to this, the older files that i had saved already locally and were previously synchronized with my onedrive, are showing an icon with a green, circle and and check/ tick inside of that circle. Does that mean that those files were originally saved from my device/ laptop and then synchronized later to my OneDrive? Also, does the cloud icon, which says that the status is "available when online" mean that because i've only ever saved the file from the web version of my One Drive, that there will never be a literal locally saved version of this on my hard drive? 

The reason why i'm asking is because i would rather have everything saved locally on my device/ laptop hard drive and then i would like to have the option to be able to access my files on my One Drive as well. In order to do this, would i have to ensure that i save everything originally to my device/ laptop One Drive locally and then make sure that in my settings that my locally stored One Drive folders sync with my web version of One Drive?





best response confirmed by Sean_P_s3016183 (Copper Contributor)

@Sean_P_s3016183 Hi Sean, you definitely need to find a video or documents that explain to you the different symbols used by OneDrive to indicate whether files are visible, local, or "required to be local" (ie "Always keep on this device"   See for example:


It sounds like there is some problem with the way that your OneDrive client is running on your computer. You should run through the troubleshooting steps set out here: which may involve shutting it down and re-setting it.

I’ve had this problem for years. I’ve done everything suggested. I have to use the search feature to find my newly created files. When I say newly created I referring to any I created in the last week or so. They are there just not visible via the app>files. Unless I search for them. This is an ongoing bug never resolved.

@Frozenplasma and to everyone on this thread.... I have just fixed the problem for my own inability to see online-only folders on my laptop, and could only view them through a web browser. For me, the solution was in the OneDrive icon on the task bar > Help and Settings > Settings > Account > Choose Folders.


I used the dialogue box under "Or choose to make these folders visible". Only the ones I COULD see were checked. So I manually checked all folders.Then opened OneDrive locally through File Explorer, and anything that started syncing without my say so, right click and select "Free Up Space", to make sure it's in the cloud, BUT I can now see it locally with the little OneDrive cloud icon, meaning it's located online only. 


Hopefully this will help someone, the forum helped me immensely with this. 

Kind regards, 


@Sean_P_s3016183  This happens all the time. Microsoft is not accountable to anyone as a monopoly. It stinks. I hate OneDrive. It makes my job much, much more frustrating than necessary.



Hi Sean,

I read you question. You did a great job of writing that. It is indeed unfortunate that your experience level was low with OneDrive that you got sidetracked into asking about icons.


I have received much help over the years and would like to extend that to you. As you can see, from the other comments, the basic issue of a solution is not really posted. You claim your problem is solved. Yet, you don't take the time note exactly what it was that made the fix.


First of all, always remember with all of these tech things to stop and restart OneDrive wherever it is running. If need be, reboot the machines. This can't be stressed enough.


Next, OneDrive is a virtual drive. Basically, there are files in the folders you can't see, as they are in the management software that creates the files and folders for you to see. One of the "features" of OneDrive is that it won't synch files currently open. That's nice, until it makes a mistake. If the folder you are working from is opened by someone else and you attempt to move that folder into a sub-folder within the original folder, it will appear just fine right there. Then when you check on another machine through the cloud, the folder that has the file opened somewhere else won't show up. Sometimes there is not really something open and OneDrive believes it is open. I am not sure why. It could be a bug in their management software. Regardless, some synchs do take some time, 15 minutes or so, no matter what you do and you can't force them any faster.


A quick way to determine if the management software thinks a file is in use is to just try renaming the root folder. You will get a message that the file is in use, but not by who. It could be someone was in there using a file and their machine crashed and the management software is stuck waiting on a response or something like that.


I hope this helps everyone understand when someone takes the time to write a question like that we should all do our best to help that person and others. It's not a trivial matter when it is not expanded on and left for others to guess about.


P.S. Microsoft doesn't consider this the place to get technical support. You really should ask these questions where they want them.

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@Mike Williams 

What if the recently created folder available online is NOT listed under 'choose folders'????

You have to restart your OneDrive. That works for me some of the time. Good luck!

@Sean_P_s3016183   I have two PCs. One had a similar problem with "onedrive files are only displayed in the recent folder, not in the root onedrive folder" and the other PC was ok. The bad PC has too many processes running and browser tabs open. By Restarting the windows 10, it fixed the problem. Now I can see them in both OneDrive My files and the recent folder. They are sync'ed with the local OneDrive Documents folder.



I've also had this problem with the onedrive app on my phone because it doesnt show my current files and folders from 2023 or 2022 that I have on my computer in my Onedrive it just shows files and folders that I had  created and saved in 2021 this is really annoying so if there's any way to fix this please tell me cause this is frustrating.