Windows 10 has OneDrive pre-installed, but if you don't want to use it, there are various ways to first disable and then remove this cloud service. The method you would use to do this largely depends on the iteration of Windows 10 you are using, and some actions are easier than others. However, you don't need to be very tech-savvy to successfully get rid of OneDrive.
You just need to follow the steps below and you will complete the actions effectively.
How to remove OneDrive from File Explorer
If you've installed Creators Update, OneDrive is installed like any other program on Windows. However, this only applies to Windows 10 Home edition. If you use it, perform the following actions.
- Go to Control Panel and select “Programs. "
- Choose "Uninstall a program or settings".
- Click "Apps," then "Apps & Features," and OneDrive should appear in the list.
- Highlight OneDrive and choose "Uninstall".
The cloud service will be immediately uninstalled and the notification area icon will disappear. However, it will remain in File Explorer, even if the folder is empty.
To remove this, you have to resort to the Local Group Policy Editor, which is a little trickier to use. But there should be no problems if you follow the steps in the section below.
Using the Local Group Policy Editor
This method is like an extension for those who use Windows 10 Home. But those who don't use the Home Edition have to resort to the Group Policy Editor anyway. And the method applies to:
- Windows 10 Enterprise
- Windows 10 Education
- Windows 10 Professional
Note that the editor is a powerful tool, and if you're using a corporate device, you should check with your administrator to see if you can do this. Sometimes there are group policies that can override your request to delete OneDrive.
Either way, here's what to do.
- Click Start and type "gpedit.misc", then press "Enter." "
- The Local Group Policy Editor appears and you will see Computer Configuration in the left pane.
- Select "Computer Configuration", then "Administrative Templates".
- Click on “Windows Components” and choose “OneDrive”.
- Go to “Prevent the use of OneDrive for file storage” and “Enable” the option.
- Click "OK" to confirm.
This disables OneDrive and removes it from your File Explorer. This means that users cannot launch the service or even access it.
Note that you won't be able to access OneDrive from the Windows Store either. And you cannot upload images to it using the camera feature.
As mentioned, with the above method, you don't need to uninstall OneDrive from Settings or Control Panel because the folder will remain in File Explorer.
However, sometimes the folder may show up even when using the Group Policy method. When this happens, you need to go to System Folders and reinstall OneDrive to make the folder disappear.
To undo the change, follow these steps:
- Go to Local Group Policy Editor.
- Navigate to OneDrive in the left pane and select it.
- Under "Prevent the use of OneDrive for file storage", click "Not configured".
Finally, Windows 10 does not offer the DisableFileSync and DisableFileSyncNGSC registry settings. These worked with Windows 8.1, but they don't exist in Windows 10.
As mentioned, Windows 10 Home users can simply uninstall OneDrive, but deleting the File Explorer folder is more work. And instead of using the Group Policy Editor to get rid of it, you can edit the registry.
To emphasize, this alternative method is for Windows 10 Home. The Pro and Enterprise iterations of the software work best with the Group Policy Editor method.
- Click Start and type “regedit” to access Registry Editor.
- Hit "Enter" and give the editor the necessary permissions to change the settings.
- Go to the left sidebar and find the following key.
- Find the System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree in the right pane and double-click it.
- Set the value data to zero and choose “OK” to confirm.
64-bit Windows - Additional Steps
In addition to what is already covered, Windows 10 64-bit needs to take additional steps.
- Navigate to the following key in the left sidebar.
- Find System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree, it's in the right pane.
- Under Value data, set the value to zero and confirm the changes.
Thereafter, OneDrive is immediately removed from File Explorer. If the action does not take effect, restart your PC and it will be over.
How to reinstall OneDrive
You may want to reinstall the cloud service in the future. But how do you do since the application has disappeared from your computer and from the Windows Store?
You have to dig and find the app in the farthest recesses of the system folders. However, the reinstallation is not as tricky as it seems, although the steps differ slightly for the 32 and 64 bit versions of the software.
Windows 10 32 bits
- Navigate to C:WindowsSystem32.
- Find OneDriveSetup.exe and double-click it.
- Installation is automatic and all you have to do is follow the on-screen wizard.
Windows 10 64 bits
- Navigate to C:WindowsSysWOW64
- Double click on the OneDrive .exe file and follow the installation wizard.
Notes: Regardless of Windows 10 version, you may need to restart your PC for the changes to take effect.
How to unlink OneDrive?
Unlinking OneDrive does not result in file loss, and it's surprisingly simple to do.
- Go to the menu bar or taskbar and choose the OneDrive icon (it's blue or white).
- Click Help&Settings, then select Settings.
- Under Account, choose "Unlink this PC", then click "Unlink account".
Participate in OneDrive
Yes, it takes several steps to completely remove OneDrive from your computer. In an ideal world, you would be able to complete the action in just a few steps. But with so many different versions of Windows, it's no surprise that actions can be quite complicated.
Nevertheless, this article has given you proven methods to remove cloud service from your computer. And don't try any of the hacks you may see advertised online. These can open doors for malware and rarely do what they promise.
Do you use OneDrive? What's your favorite cloud service?
Tell us more in the comments section below.