I never wanted Microsoft to save my files to OneDrive but they are no longer on my device!

diane godard 1 Reputation point
2022-03-04T19:14:08.807+00:00

I was unaware OneDrive was automatically taking my files. This is ridiculous. The default should be NO. Now that I unsynced, I find none of my files are on my device. I need them back. How can I safely get them back onto my device and OFF OneDrive??

OneDrive Management
OneDrive Management
OneDrive: A Microsoft file hosting and synchronization service.Management: The act or process of organizing, handling, directing or controlling something.
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  1. Emily Hua-MSFT 27,551 Reputation points
    2022-03-07T08:40:06.777+00:00

    Hi @diane godard

    Welcome to Q&A forum ~

    Could you please tell us which version of OneDrive did you use?
    Such as OneDrive for Mac, OneDrive for Windows.

    Please go to OneDrive online first, check whether there are files you need. If so, please try following suggestions to have a check.

    > Now that I unsynced, I find none of my files are on my device. I need them back.

    How did you unsyc files? Such as Pause and resume sync in OneDrive, Unlink OneDrive. For more please refer to "Turn off, disable, or uninstall OneDrive".
    If you unlinked the account, I would suggest you add this account back, but disable "Files on Demand" feature.

    If not, those files are not available on OneDrive online, then I would suggest you go to Recycle bin on OneDrive online, try to restore deleted files or folders in OneDrive.
    If you have Microsoft 365 subscriptions, you can even restore your OneDrive.

    When you need to close OneDrive, you can unlink your account again.

    Any updates, you can let us know.


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  2. Michael Taylor 49,246 Reputation points
    2022-03-04T19:47:44.253+00:00

    Several options here assuming the documents are in OneDrive online.

    • Temporarily turn back on syncing and let the documents get downloaded again.
    • OneDrive should be an option in File Explorer so if they are you can copy them directly from File Explorer. Note that OneDrive only syncs the folders you specify so you might need to right-click the OneDrive icon in the tray and change the settings to sync everything again.
    • Use the browser to go to OneDrive online and download the files using the browser.

    In all cases you can restore any documents that are in OneDrive. Of course if you don't have a local copy and OneDrive doesn't have a copy then they are gone. That shouldn't happen automatically unless you told OneDrive to not prompt you to delete files when they are removed locally.

    You will also want to go into Windows and tell it to use the local machine to store documents/pictures/etc instead of OneDrive.

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  3. Stefan Blom 2,106 Reputation points MVP
    2022-03-11T10:05:59.06+00:00

    Which version of Office are you running and under which operating system?

    On Windows or Mac OS, documents should be synchronized to OneDrive by default, but you can turn that off. In Word (for example), click File > Options > Save and select the option "Save to Computer by default."

    Since your files appear to be lost from your device, locate them in OneDrive via https://onedrive.live.com. Typically, this shouldn't occur (on a Mac or Windows device), though.

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