A Guide to Uninstall OneDrive Completely From Windows

A Guide to Uninstall OneDrive Completely From Windows

All Windows installations come preinstalled with OneDrive. Microsoft’s cloud storage solution that integrates with the Office 365 suite of applications. But not everyone uses OneDrive to store their files. Not everyone uses Office applications like Word. It makes sense for these users to uninstall or remove OneDrive from Windows 10.

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Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 10

Microsoft doesn’t want you to uninstall OneDrive, or even Cortana and some other apps, for that matter. The process of disabling OneDrive is pretty straightforward. However, uninstalling it completely will require further consideration and additional steps.

Let’s start.

Why should you uninstall OneDrive

There are several reasons why you should consider completely uninstalling OneDrive from your Windows installation if you’re not using it:

  • Save system resources
  • Save storage space
  • No need to download OneDrive related updates
  • Faster startup / restart time

These are just a few of the many possible reasons.

Unlink or uninstall OneDrive

You can easily unlink or uninstall Microsoft OneDrive from your computer. This is what most people do when they want to uninstall an app, and it works well, except in the case of OneDrive. This will uninstall the app, but not completely remove it from your PC.

After deleting it, the icon will disappear from the taskbar notification area. The problem is, you will still find the OneDrive traces like the empty OneDrive folder in File Explorer under your Windows username folder. Although it is harmless, some users may not want it. There are also ways to fix this problem.


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 4

Many people recommend using Revo Uninstaller to remove all application traces from Windows computers, and it works like a charm. The app also has a section dedicated to Windows apps, even in the free version. But, it failed to find and list OneDrive in my case.


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 5

Nonetheless, I will recommend Revo Uninstaller over Control Panel as it digs deep and even removes system registry entries from the application in question. I use it to uninstall all apps from my system.

Note: Once OneDrive is unlinked / uninstalled, you can safely delete any leftover files on your computer. Deleting them on your computer won’t delete them on the OneDrive server.

Registry Editor Tip

This tip applies when you can still attend the empty OneDrive folder after uninstalling OneDrive from your computer.

Step 1: Find and open Registry Editor from the Start menu with administrator rights


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 1

2nd step: Navigate to the folder structure below. You can also copy and paste the path.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}

Double click on System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree file to open it.


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 2

Step 3: Set the value data to 0 (zero) instead of 1. Save all changes and restart your computer.


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 3

The empty OneDrive folder should disappear from your File Explorer.

Use the Group Policy Editor (GPE) to delete OneDrive traces

Use GPE if the registry editor is not working. Note that GPE is only available on Pro and Enterprise editions of Windows. It is an advanced and very powerful application. Caution is advised in its use.

Step 1: Find and open GPE from the Start menu.


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 6

2nd step: Navigate to the folder structure below.

Computer Configuration> Administrative Templates> Windows Components> OneDrive

Double-click on “Prevent OneDrive from being used for file storage” to open it.


Uninstall or completely remove a drive from Windows 7

Step 3: Select On in the pop-up window that follows and save the settings. Restart your computer to see if OneDrive is still visible in File Explorer.

Note: Some users reported that they keep showing empty OneDrive folder in File Explorer after changing GPE. Reinstall OneDrive from the Microsoft Store. Even with the app installed, you won’t notice any traces when using OneDrive normally in File Explorer, Camera Roll, or elsewhere. It’s counterintuitive, but it is, thanks to Microsoft.

Delete the remaining files

Use the commands below in the Command Prompt only when you’re sure you never want to use OneDrive on this computer. These commands will delete the remaining files and registry keys associated with OneDrive. I highly recommend that you take a backup of the registry editor before moving on. Creating a restore point should also work.

rd "%UserProfile%OneDrive" /Q /S
rd "%LocalAppData%MicrosoftOneDrive" /Q /S
rd "%ProgramData%Microsoft OneDrive" /Q /S
rd "C:OneDriveTemp" /Q /S

These commands will remove the keys that show OneDrive in the navigation pane of File Explorer.

REG Delete "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}" /f
REG Delete "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTWow6432NodeCLSID{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}" /f

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One reader for everything

Following the steps above should have uninstalled Microsoft OneDrive or disabled it completely. You should not notice it in File Explorer or anywhere else when using the computer on a daily basis. That’s all you can do with OneDrive.

Microsoft makes it extremely difficult to uninstall OneDrive in the traditional sense, like uninstalling other apps on the fly. The reason is quite simple. It is a freemium application that connects to many other Office 365 applications, which is now part of the Microsoft 365 suite.

In a way, OneDrive works a lot like Google Drive. It acts as a container or space to save all the files related to any Microsoft applications that you use. Frankly, I like OneDrive, especially the Personal Vault feature, and I would like Google to offer something like that as well. While I understand the urge to get rid of it for those who don’t use it, I recommend that you just unlink the account and uninstall the app. You don’t want to break the core functionality of the operating system because Microsoft seems to be trying too hard to push it.

Then:

Can’t decide between iCloud and OneDrive? Click on the link below to learn about the main differences between two apps and which one is best suited to your needs.

Last updated Sep 13, 2020

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