Deleted files/folders reappear as they are synced back online from client OneDrive

Steel Contributor

We are heading towards the end of a big push to get all files in OneDrive or SharePoint.  The Finance department (VIPs) are getting very frustrated with deleted files/folders reappearing as they are synced back online from other user's sycned client OneDrives (the name of the user and date/time are listed with the file online).  PLEASE HELP.  I am also opening a ticket.


This is what we have tried:

  1. Make sure all sync clients are up to date
  2. Try renaming the folder/file and then deleting it from online SharePoint
    1. This did not work at all.  Both the original and the renamed files/folders reappeared
  3. Checked SharePoint permissions.  There are some unique permissions on a few documents but in general the members have edit permissions.


55 Replies

Did you get any help from support? I tried and they were useless. This is a reoccurring issue that doesn't happen all the time but we got extremely lucky and could see files start reappearing as I was on the phone with them. The agent's reply? Oh, it could be the user reuploading these files by hand. Refused to believe that wasn't the case. Then he told me to run Fiddler on all my computers 24/7 so they could get logs (completely absurd idea, not how fiddler works).
So we're still no where. And this is the type of support I get from them on every single issue (and boy is there a ton of issues).

Yes, I didn't see how running fiddler would help.
My experience is that the files won't reappear right away, some times it takes 4-5 days before I comes again. I had the personal onedrive which no one is gonna upload the files except me. I tried delete the files/folders in windows 10. I tried to delete the files/folder in the web. They both coming back.

It is been almost three years and it was not getting fixed. I think I should give onedrive up and so as everybody.
fiddler? that's hilarious. Its obviously some sort of timing issue. Probably indicates an error at the very heart of synchronization. It has stopped for me, for now, but seems to come back from time to time. For me, it seems to occur most often with files that are "kept on computer" in multiple locations.
So I was just brought in to consult at a client experiencing this issue using Sync in SharePoint online ( Which is basically One drive for a SharePoint Library). I had run into something similar on SharePoint 2013 on prem a few years back. I was able to resolve this by the following:
When folders were renamed they created duplicate and when they were deleted they would re-appear. By combing through the files we discovered that users had selected Check Out and Open when using Adobe to open PDFs, so going through all the files as an admin and discarding the check out that were left open by Adobe , we were then able to delete the folders and /or rename them. Once we had the cause, we created a powershell script to find the files and check them in. There were thousands. To stop this from happening going forward we implemented registry changes to disable Adobe SharePoint features via Group Policy. A quick first step is to educate the users to NOT click Check out and Open but instead Just Click Open. You can google the reg edits needed to disable Adobe SharePoint feature, this is a super frustrating issue so I hope this helps someone.

Thanks for posting your solution. Unfortunately this isn't what's happening to us. I'm finding that running chkdsk /r /f on the computers recreating the folders seems to fix it since there is a reparse error on the drive and OneDrive can't delete the folder off user's computer when it's deleted on SharePoint (so with it's infinite wisdom recreates the folder on SharePoint).

This is an ugly solution as it's happening all the freaking time. Microsoft support continues to tell me this isn't their issue and only way they'll help is if I can figure out how to run fiddler on all computers 24/7 for months and capture all those logs for them (yup, I just need to figure out how to do the impossible and they'll get right on it I'm sure).

Hi Pawel - I think you're describing a different problem but it's in the same ballpark. I also classify it under the "Why I hate OneDrive" which was a long running thread hereabouts.


This reparse error is something I've seen twice now in the last couple of days which suggests that's it's a new bug :( For my client, they are doing the following:


  1. Adding a shortcut to OneDrive (this itself is a new feature) from a SharePoint document library. This document library is about 70GBbig with 14,000 files
  2. Wait until the on-demand folder has synchronised - doesn't take that long as all it's downloading is the file placeholder
  3. Rename the shortcut...

It is at that point that OneDrive throws a dicky fit! What happens is that you end up with a folder with the new name that only contains the folders - doesn't appear to be any files. This folder is not linked back to the document library. OneDrive then re-creates the shortcut link and downloads all the placeholders again.


However, this renamed folder is in a really bad way and often has reparse errors. You can't delete it and have to resort to chkdsk /f /r - which of course requires a reboot AND takes a long time as it's scanning the entire disk for bad sectors.

I really do despair about OneDrive sometimes... it's really the crappiest buggy bit of software in the entire M365 stack. And it's one of the most vital!! I work equally with Google Drive, Dropbox and even the open source Seafile system. Not of them are anyway near as bad as OneDrive.

My theory, as a some-time software developer, is that the algorithms and metadata maintained by OneDrive is simply not as good as the alternative cloud storage systems.

@Christine Stack 

I had the same problem.  What did the trick for me, was through OneDrive(Desktop) creating a new folder and moving the file to that folder, then deleting it.  I am not sure why it worked.  But it was a quick solution for me, albeit a workaround.

@J_Rouse  we've had our users also do this trick of creating a folder for those OLD (deleted) folders which seem to reappear everytime someone syncs them back online.


any word from Microsoft as to when this issue will be permanently fixed?

Does anyone have a concrete solution to this problem?

Microsoft has been no help and the problem is intermitted. 


Recently, in our case users that work on multiple files/folder within a document library, delete files and they re-appear months later. Any help would be appreaciated.



In our case, deleted files re-appear months later as well. Any help would be appreciated.


@APATEL097  No response from MS. what we've implemented on our end has been this.


whenever one of the participants from the shared library leaves for over 1 week (vacations, leave of absence, or no contact with the internet for whatever reason) we swap that person's computer when they return to the office.


it has kept this folder issue (re-appearing) down to a minimum to almost no more incidents.


check your users and if you're in a place where you can implement a policy stating that since "you're part of a collaboration folder your computer needs to be able to sync all the changes in a daily basis"


otherwise you will keep seeing those folders re-appear whenever some one that has not connected in a while syncs those older folders back to the cloud.


again this perhaps hasn't been communicated to Microsoft correctly or perhaps they just don't have time to incorporate a system that checks for (If folders were deleted and a device hasn't been online since the folders were deleted do not upload those deleted folders to the cloud from a user that hasn't been able to sync in a while)



test this in your lab if you can.



>whenever one of the participants from the shared library leaves for over 1 week (vacations, leave of absence, or no contact with the internet for whatever reason) we swap that person's computer when they return to the office.


My goodness - that's a right faff! Seriously Microsoft, you think OneDrive/SharePoint sync is fit for purpose with users having to do this...

We are in 2024 and this bug is again and again annoying users.  Looking for a solution is solely loosing our time. We have just to accept this is not a bug but a "feature". It's impossible to delete a shared folder in those environnement.

@GocloudaccessI wonder if the same thing happens in office365. I have not had the problem since I disabled connected features in word. Well, now I am on nextcloud and will never have that particular problem again.

setup a nextcloud server? I am really happy with mine.