Deleted SharePoint folders keep reappearing

Copper Contributor

We are having problems with a number of folders in a SharePoint site accessing via a link in OneDrive which seem to have multiple lives. When we delete them from one user's laptop (OneDrive app) or Via the web ui, then other user's laptops recreate the soon after. This happens whether or not there are files in the folders.

I have today had to re-delete 100s of folders. Each time I do, another user's laptop puts them back again. Sometimes the recreated folders are tagged with the user's laptop name as a tag eg: FolderName-ComputerName - I think this is when the original FolderName was already re-created by another user's laptop.

No sync errors are reported on the user's laptops.

There is no "odd" configuration. All the users are "Members" of the site.

We've had this happen for one or two folders in the past but in the last two days it's gone crazy.

Any clues about what's happening and how to stop it?

6 Replies

This seems to be a Teams site you are working with? Could you upload an image of the channels you have on that site? Then also an image of the folders you are mentioning?

No - it's not a teams site. Just a plain old no-frills site used for file sharing. So there are no channels involved. The site has no plugins, apps or automation - it's just an out-of-the-box site connected to each user's OneDrive using the "Add shortcut to oneDrive" feature.

Sadly, our security policies wont allow me to screenshot our business folders - for obvious reasons.

But, using dummy names: I can explain how it looks. In our site's Documents root folder, we might have a "Folder1" and "Folder2", each with a selection of subfolders (and some have files, others not).

When we delete "Folder1", then it re-appears (complete with it's subfolders), and SharePoint's "Created By" gives the name of another member of staff. Other copies like "Folder1-Fred", "Folder1-LAPTOP1" are also in the habit of just appearing (and again: each one is being created by different staff members). The re-created directory tress are usually empty of files (just the directories get created) although in some cases a small number of the original files also reappear.

This is NOT the result of clicking "restore" in the recycle bin, by the way - the directory is still in there.
I have not seen this type of bug before. Would it be possible/allowed for you to have a MS Teams meeting and share your screen? I could perhaps try to recreate the scenario in my dev environment. It does feel like a unique issue for your tenant, have you made a ticket to MS?
Maybe - I'll need to check with security. What's your relationship with Microsoft?

Yes - I've had a ticket for this and related issues running for about 3 weeks now - and MS are really not being helpful.
I am honestly just a community member trying to help out :)

I did find this post from someone else about the same issue. I am afraid there was no real solution provided but still worth looking into:

Thanks - that sounds familiar and it appears there is no known answer.

But could this be related... ?

1: Use a SharePoint site connected to your OneDrive as a shortcut..
2: Using the windows file explorer to put the entire site into "Free up space" mode (right click the "Documents - MySite" entry and select "Free up space").
3: Create a three-level directory tree in the site. Eg: "Documents - MySite/Folder1/Folder2/Folder3".
4: Copy four 5mb (or larger) word documents into the second level (Folder2) and wait for the green "sync done" icon to appear.
5: Select all four documents, right click, select "Free up space" and wait for the blue cloud to appear.
6: Re-select all four, press enter to edit them. Make a minor change (eg: add a space to end of a line) in each of them and close to save them back.
7: Wait for the green "sync done" icon on all of them.
8: Move them from Folder2 to Folder3 using Control-X/Control-V and wait for the green "sync done" icon to appear.
9: Select them all, right click and select "Free up space". You would expect the blue cloud to reappear but 75% of the time a red error icon appears instead. The onedrive system tray tool says this is a failure to merge.
10: Leave it in that state and navigate back to the site's root folder (make sure none of Folder1, Folder2 or Folder3 are open).
11: USE THE WEB UI to delete the entire Folder1 tree using a single "delete" step.
12: Wait: The folders will initially vanish, but will reappear soon after along with the four documents. The previously failed docs will now have the blue cloud icon.