SharePoint not syncing with file explorer

Synchronizing a Document Library with your PC is quite simple. Simply go to the relevant area in SharePoint Online and select the huge Sync button at the top of the screen. SharePoint will then install the correct OneDrive for Business software for your device, download all the files to your local system, and set up ongoing sync. You may find difficulties in maintaining document sync due to several issues that will be addressed here. But below is how to set up syncing with SharePoint and File explorer. You will need OneDrive for this.

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Step by step process, how to sync:

  • Firstly open OneDrive using the taskbar at the bottom of your Desktop.
  • Next, you need to click on “Help & Settings”, this will bring you to the settings panel which is there to manage OneDrive preferences.
  • Next click on “Settings” > “Settings”
  • Once you have accessed the settings area you will be presented with a list of checkboxes, you will need the “Files on Demand” checkbox to be ticked as this will allow your documents to be saved to the site and make the process of syncing easier to proceed with.
  • Next, sign in to Office 365 or SharePoint natively and click on documents, this will bring you to your document library.
  • At the top, there will be a menu and here you will need to click on sync.
  • Once that is complete make sure you grant all the required permissions and it should start to sync the documents to your desktop File Explorer (formerly Windows Explorer). If it doesn’t work, issues regarding either the file or software are present and need to be addressed.

The steps above will only work if the files you wish to sync are approved by SharePoint most issues are a direct response to a nonvalid or broken file causing issues with sync.

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Issues to look out for if SharePoint doesn’t sync with file explorer:

  • Make sure the Office Document Uploader is in check.
    • To begin, an orange icon may appear in your system tray. The Office Document Uploader is represented by this icon. It may appear unusual that two separate programs manage document uploads, however, there have been instances where this application is halted, preventing the SharePoint sync from completing. Restart the data flow to see if the files still upload.
  • Pause and restart.
    • The first thing you should attempt to do is suspend the sync by right-clicking the OneDrive for Business system tray icon. Then restart the sync and wait for it to try to fix itself. SharePoint will be forced to re-examine the files it needs to synchronize as a result of this operation.
  • Check SharePoint Limitations.
    • The first thing to check is that you are not inadvertently breaking SharePoint’s rules. The “#” symbol in a file name is the most prevalent offender, and it is a no-no in SharePoint Online. Long filenames, huge files, and many entries, for example, can all cause sync problems.
  • Duplicate, Sync, Remove, Rename.
    • If a file isn’t synchronizing (there’s a red “x” on the file icon in File Explorer instead of a green checkmark or blue sync symbol), try copy-and-pasting a duplicate of it in its present place. Allow this new file to upload (it will have the same name as the original, but with the word, “copy” appended to the end).
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Further actions to take when SharePoint doesn’t sync with file explorer:

A highly recommended solution to resolve the issue is upgrading to the new SharePoint Sync client. You will have to enable it in the SharePoint Admin Dashboard, under settings. It is a significantly huge difference from the “classic” SharePoint sync, Please ensure you contact a member of the Microsoft team to see if it’s a validated solution, and if so they will help, many third party companies have a full team of IT professionals who are proficient in all content related to Office 365 available for you if you require its services.

In-depth step by step process: How to fix SharePoint won’t sync with file explorer

  • First, you want to locate OneDrive using the taskbar at the bottom of the taskbar. This may be located behind the arrow so you may need to click on the arrow to show OneDrive. However in this case the OneDrive icon is in the taskbar so we can just click it as it is.
  • Once this is clicked it will bring up a panel for you to select  Next you need to click on the “cog” icon, this will bring you to the help and settings panel which is there to manage OneDrive preferences. Once you are in the help and settings panel you need to click on settings.
  • Next sign in to Office 365 and navigate to Sharepoint using the app launcher illustrated by nine dots or SharePoint natively and click on documents, this will bring you to your sites where the document library is located.
  • Next, locate your site and click on it. I’ll be using my colleague’s test-site.
  • Once you are on the site you can then navigate to your library files by clicking on document.
  • At the top there will be a menu and here you will need to click on sync.
  • This will bring up the final panel and here you need to allow permissions to sync with your device.

Once this is complete the files will start to sync with your desktop explorer and you will see a copy downloaded to your device and the cloud as you set files on demand.

Saajid Gangat

Saajid Gangat has been a researcher and content writer at Business Tech Planet since 2021. Saajid is a tech-savvy writer with expertise in web and graphic design and has extensive knowledge of Microsoft 365, Adobe, Shopify, WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, and more! You can connect with Saajid on Linkedin.

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