Why is onedrive creating copies for my local files when I upload them to onedrive?

Copper Contributor



When I first started using OneDrive, the Word files that I selected to "autosave" are moved into my OneDrive without leaving a copy in my local storage. However, recently, I noticed that, when I move some files into OneDrive, the same files are left in my Finder, so now there are two identical sets of documents in my Finder (I use Mac), one in my local file, another in my OneDrive file. Obviously, the one under my local file does not have "autosave", and the one in OneDrive has opened "autosave". 


My questions are:

1) What have I done? I'm not sure what settings I accidentally turned on or off, and why is there such a change.

2) How do I go back to the old setting? I mean that when I move files to OneDrive, they don't exist in my local storage anymore. 



5 Replies


It seems like you are experiencing an issue where files are being duplicated in your local storage and in OneDrive when you upload them. This behavior might be due to the synchronization settings in OneDrive, and it is possible that a setting was changed accidentally. To address your questions:

1) What have I done? Why is there a change?

The behavior you described could be related to how the OneDrive synchronization settings are configured. OneDrive offers different synchronization options, including Files On-Demand and full file synchronization. If Files On-Demand is enabled, it allows you to see your files in File Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac) without actually having them downloaded to your local device. If full file synchronization is enabled, it will sync all your files to your local device.

It is possible that the synchronization settings were changed, causing files to be downloaded and duplicated on your local device. This might have happened inadvertently or due to a change in your OneDrive settings.

2) How do I go back to the old setting?

If you want to revert to the behavior where files are not duplicated in your local storage when you move them to OneDrive, you should check and adjust your OneDrive synchronization settings:

  1. Access OneDrive Settings: On a Mac, you can access OneDrive settings by clicking on the OneDrive icon in the menu bar and selecting "Preferences."
  2. Choose Synchronization Settings: Look for synchronization settings related to Files On-Demand or selective sync. If you are using Files On-Demand, make sure it is enabled. If you are using selective sync, make sure you have selected the folders you want to sync locally.
  3. Adjust Synchronization Options: Depending on the settings, you might have options to enable or disable certain synchronization behaviors. Check for settings related to whether files are downloaded on demand or fully synchronized.
  4. Restart OneDrive: After making changes to your settings, restart the OneDrive app to ensure that the changes take effect.

Remember that OneDrive settings can vary between platforms (Windows, Mac) and versions, so the exact steps might differ slightly. If you are unable to find the appropriate settings or if the issue persists, consider reaching out to Microsoft Support for assistance.

Before making any significant changes to your synchronization settings, it's recommended to make sure you have backups of your important files to avoid accidental data loss during the adjustment process.The text and the steps are the result of various AI's put together.


My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!


Hope this will help you.

Thanks for your answer. I checked my settings but it looks like I have the files on demand setting (see my screenshot). @NikolinoDE 

To be precise, I shall probably correct my original answer: it's not that OneDrive creates a copy of my file, but I think it looks more like the old file is left in the local storage, while its copy is created in the OneDrive. So I end up having two copies in two folders: one in my local storage and the other in my OneDrive folder. The confusing thing is that any changes I make in my documents get synced in my OneDrive but not the local storage. So I started with having two identical word documents, but as I make changes, the one in my local storage remains the same and the one in my OneDrive gets updated and synced.


Did you ever find an resolve for the duplicate problem? I have a Dell PC and cannot figure out how to work from my PC local drive on autosave without it creating duplicates in the One Drive cloud. So irritating. Without a solution, I think that I'll have to completely give up trying to work from my local drive :( . 





Yes. If I remember correctly how I did it (it's been a long time), it seems that it didn't have to do with One Drive, but the setup of my Microsoft Word. In my "Word preferences --> Save", I accidentally clicked "always create a backup copy". I un-clicked it and solved the issue. I use a Mac, I don't know how PC system is arranged, but perhaps you can find similar way to do it.