Five steps from "Classic Sync" to "Add to OneDrive"

Five steps from "Classic Sync" to "Sync with Add to OneDrive"

A change from the classic method of synchronization to the new synchronization with Add to OneDrive is not always easy. After I have described the principles here, then also again showed the advantages and disadvantages, now a step-by-step guide.

We have synchronized the entire library. It does not matter how many items are included. When the „Files on demand“ function is enabled, the files that I do not have in progress do not take up space on the hard disk.


This is about the SharePoint Online document library B2B-Marketing. The icon next to the folder indicates that the files are in the cloud. Only with the displays Microsoft still has its problems, because a file actually shows in the folder the display „locally available“. The only important thing is that we have an icon at all. No matter if it shows locally available, always available, only available in the cloud or in synchronization. It means that changes synchronize in both directions. (Icons)

But it doesn’t have to be a SharePoint Online library, it can also be a OneDrive for Business folder from a colleague that he shared with me.

Step 1: Stop Synchronization

Before we use the new method, we have to end an existing synchronization. To do this, we open the blue cloud symbol in the Windows notification area with a right mouse click. Then select Settings

OneDrive: Account - Stop Sync of a library Then stop the synchronization of the SharePoint Online library by clicking Stop synch.
OneDrive Notice: Sync is stoped You will receive a notice that the previously synced files will no longer be synced. Files with the status „only available in the cloud“ will disappear on this device. all others will be kept.

OneDrive: No status icon means no synchronization

Sometimes you have to give Windows Explorer a refresh (F5), then you will see that the status has disappeared.

Step 2: Other devices

If you own more than one device and have set the above synchronization on these devices as well, you have to repeat step 1 on these devices. And this for all other devices. This does not include mobile devices like iPhone, iPad or Android devices. The app called OneDrive there only displays files, it does not download anything by default, unless you do it manually.

Step 3: Switch to SharePoint Online in the browser

Now we switch to the WebBrowser and search for the corresponding library under SharePoint. Within the library we select one folder. How many subfolders and files are contained is not important. We should only select the folder with which I can do my daily work. After selecting one folder, we click on „Add link to my files„.

And now this selected folder will appear in several places

  • OneDrive (for Business) under my files
  • In Windows Explorer under OneDrive (for Business)
  • in my mobile devices (iOS,Android)

the folder will have the new icon. And this is true for all devices including mobile devices.

Synchronized folder in OneDrive (for Business)

Step 4: Rename the shortcut

So from a large library I can select exactly the files I need for the next time to work. This reduces the synchronization volume, whose upper limit is 300000 files. But since it is a shortcut, we can rename it without causing a change in the origin.

The files that are essential for me should have appeared at the beginning of OneDrive. This saves time when selecting documents. My renaming is done with „_xxxxx“ so that all shortcuts are at the beginning of OneDrive.

After renaming we find all ShortCuts at the beginning
By the way, the whole thing happens on all devices, including mobile devices (iOS, Android)

Step 5: Delete the original synchronization

The last step in the conversion is to delete the files, the „classic synchronization. Why do I do this now?

Well, if something went wrong. we can always go back to the old synchronization. Again, only one synchronization of a library is possible. So if you want to go back, you have to unlink it. This can be done in several places
Windows Explorer -right mouse button: Remove shortcut. Then the shortcut is removed, the contained folders and subfolders/files. Then you can do the „classic“ synchronization again. But in doing so, OneDrive recognizes that they had already synchronized this library before and suggests them to take this data. This reduces network traffic.

Back to our topic. We wanted to delete exactly this document library that is no longer synchronized:
This order is no longer in the synchronization

Make sure that you select the correct library. There must not be a sync icon visible. Right-click on the library on the left and select Delete. The folder and all subfolders/files will be deleted and can only be found in the recycle bin.

OneDrive: Add to OneDrive: go through all steps

Lastly, a note for administrators:

If you are working with group policies and you have configured the OneDrive group policy Configure team site libraries to sync automatically you have to turn off this group policy first.

If you as a user do not know if such a group policy exists, ask your administrator !!!

Microsoft The Intrazone Podcast 154: Add to OneDrive

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