Changes made locally are not syncing to SharePoint: How to troubleshoot

Microsoft SharePoint serves as something of an organiser within the Microsoft family of applications. SharePoint is designed to organise documents, as well as serving as a general storage system. Given its nature as a storage application, it often intertwines with OneDrive, another storage feature of Microsoft.

SharePoint is a fairly simple program to operate, but as is the case with every aspect of modern technology, you will sometimes encounter faults or problems within the application. One such issue is when locally made changes fail to sync with your SharePoint. Chances are, if you are reading this today, then such an issue has afflicted you.

Thankfully, there are a handful of routes you can look to take when attempting to fix this issue, one of which we will be looking at today. This resolution is:

  • Stop syncing all together and run the setup again.

Now, all we have done here is merely told you a potential solution. It wouldn’t be fair to assume that, through these few words alone, you have a complete understanding of what you need to do.

As such, we will be breaking the method down in three manners. First, we will offer you the answer straight away. As a one sentence solution, this may serve as enough information for some with a great degree of knowledge about Microsoft products. Chances are though, that this too will not be enough for most.

Following that, we will break the process down into a bullet pointed list, a step by step guide on how to complete the method. Again, this will most likely work for some, but also may well not be sufficient for many. 

Succeeding this then will be a complete breakdown of the method, a walkthrough complete with annotated screenshots to best aid you as you attempt to follow the process. This will be the most detailed iteration of the explanations, and will probably be the one of most use to the majority of readers.

Also, it is worth noting that due to their very similar natures, OneDrive and SharePoint often overlap. As such, there will be times in each walkthrough that we refer to OneDrive in at least some sort of capacity. Don’t worry if you read this, as the method will serve to fix SharePoint even if some of the process is conducted within SharePoint.

So, first, we will look at stopping your syncing all together and running the setup again. In order to do this, you will need to stop the sync of a folder within your OneDrive menu which can be accessed via the taskbar of your computer.

Again, don’t worry if this is far too limited and, or, confusing for you to follow. Below lies the step by step guide for the process.

Step by step: Changes made locally are not syncing to SharePoint: How to troubleshoot

  • Look to the bottom right corner of your computer taskbar.
  • Click on the blue cloud, which serves as a representation of Microsoft OneDrive.
  • This will open a small popup menu, on which you should click ‘Help and Settings’.
  • Here, click ‘Settings’ (not a typo, it is a separate setting).
  • You should be on the ‘Account’ tab, which is where you will want to be.
  • Find the location that isn’t syncing correctly and click ‘Stop Sync’.
  • Then, login to your SharePoint account.
  • Find the folder, or site, that contains the location in which the improper syncing is happening.
  • Click ‘Documents’, then click ‘Sync’.
  • If asked for permission to use OneDrive, click ‘Yes’.
  • Now, return to the OneDrive settings menu you were on previously to see if the sync has correctly re-established.
  • Here, you can change folders that are syncing by clicking ‘Choose folders’ on the folder you wish to edit, should you want to.

So, your first step will be to find the blue cloud that represents your storage on your computer, as we discussed in the above steps. You will want to look towards your computer’s taskbar, which is the bar that runs along the bottom of your screen. Here, to the right hand side, very near the time and date display, should be a blue cloud.

This blue cloud is there for OneDrive. It is this that you will want to click. It also seems fair to point out that this cloud may be white, depending on the status of your computer syncing. Regardless of its colour, you should still look to click the cloud.

Clicking this cloud should serve to open a small pop-up menu on your computer. Here, in the bottom right corner of the said menu, will be an option called ‘Help and Settings’, which is what you will want to click. Should you need the assistance, it has been highlighted in the screenshot below.

Here, click the option titled ‘Settings’. No, this isn’t a typo, just an annoyingly timed coincidence from Microsoft and their settings names.

Here, you will be shown a new menu on your screen. By default, you should be on the tab labelled ‘Account’. This is where you will want to be. In case you are not on this tab though, for some reason, then the below image shows you where you can find it.

Here, you will be able to see the storage currently used within your OneDrive, but more importantly, you will be able to stop syncing the location that has been causing you problems.

In order to do this, look for the prompt on the ‘Account’ tab that reads ‘Stop Sync’. It is this that you will want to click in order to cease the syncing of the improper library.

Now, in order to re-establish the sync, you will need to login to your Microsoft SharePoint, in the hopes that connecting it to OneDrive once more will strengthen its overall performance. So now, login to your SharePoint via the application launcher of Microsoft Office 365, as illustrated below.

Here, find the site in which the document you wish to sync resides. Click on it.

From here, go to the ‘Documents’ subtab.

On the ‘Documents’ submenu, look towards the top of your screen and click ‘Sync’ to resync your site contents. After doing this, it may well ask you for permission to use Microsoft OneDrive, something that you can agree to.

After you have done this, you will have successfully resynced your SharePoint file with your OneDrive. Serving as something of a hard reset, this will hopefully revert your SharePoint to working fashion and allow it to start syncing local changes once more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I hope you found it as helpful as you wanted it to be! As always, if you encounter any issues or simply wish to share some thoughts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.

Michael Fontana

Michael Fontana has been the managing director of telecoms and MSP Optionbox for over a decade and has worked in various telecommunication roles over the last 20 years. Michael has been involved in many exciting projects, such as co-founding telecoms and IT businesses and has now built up a team of more than 15 staff, serving over 300 clients nationwide. With a wealth of experience in IT and a passion for technology, Michael is now helping BTP to produce the highest quality guides on the internet. You can connect with Michael on LinkedIn.

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