How to Disable OneDrive and Remove It From File Explorer on Windows 10

Windows 10 includes OneDrive, and Microsoft’s official party line is that you can’t disable it. That’s not true — there are several ways to disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer on Windows 10.

Microsoft provides a group policy setting that can disable OneDrive on Professional editions of Windows 10. Windows 10 Home users can use the below registry hack to get rid of OneDrive instead.

For Windows 10 Home

This method is ideal for users of Windows 10 Home who want to get rid of OneDrive without stripping it completely out of the operating system. It’s completely reversible if you ever want to use OneDrive again.

To do this, first right-click the OneDrive icon in your notification area — it looks like a little white cloud — and select Settings. You might have to click the up arrow button to view all the system tray icons before you see the OneDrive icon.

Uncheck the “Start OneDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows” option and save your settings. OneDrive won’t load at startup anymore.

If you don’t plan on using OneDrive, you may also want to click or tap the “Unlink OneDrive” button here. This will stop OneDrive from syncing until you set it up again. It’ll be grayed out if you haven’t yet set up OneDrive.

You now just need to remove that “OneDrive” option located in the navigation pane of the FIle Explorer window. This requires a quick registry hack.

Download our Remove OneDrive From File Explorer registry hack. Open the .zip file and double-click the appropriate .reg file for for your version of Windows, depending on whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 10. We’ve also included a .reg file that will restore the OneDrive entry if you ever decide you want it back.

OneDrive should vanish from File Explorer immediately after you add the information in the .reg file to your registry. If it doesn’t, try rebooting your PC and re-opening FIle Explorer.

(To check whether you’re using a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows 10, open the Start menu and launch the Settings app. Navigate to System > About. Look at “System type” and see whether it says you’re using a “64-bit operating system” or “32-bit operating system.”)

(You could also do this by hand, of course. The above .reg files modify the System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree DWORD value under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6}\ to 0, from its default of 1. On 64-bit editions of Windows, it also changes the System.IsPinnedToNameSpaceTree DWORD value under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Wow6432Node\CLSID\{018D5C66-4533-4307-9B53-224DE2ED1FE6\. To undo the change, set the same settings back to the original value of 1.)

If any local copies of your OneDrive files have synced to your PC, you may want to delete them to free up space. Navigate to the C:\Users\NAME\OneDrive folder, which contains your user’s downloaded OneDrive files. These won’t be automatically deleted when you unlink your account and stop syncing. Deleting them won’t delete them from OneDrive if your account is unlinked from OneDrive — they’ll just be deleted from your local device.

For Windows 10 Professional, Enterprise, and Education

Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 get access to the Group Policy Editor. This utility provides an advanced option that allows you to disable OneDrive system-wide, but Windows 10 Home users can’t use this.

To do this, press the Windows key to open the Start menu’s search box, type gpedit.msc into it, and press Enter to open the Group Policy Editor. Navigate to the following folder:

Local Computer Policy\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\OneDrive

Double-click the “Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage” policy setting in the right pane, set it to “Enabled,” and click “OK.”

This completely disables access to OneDrive. OneDrive will be hidden from File Explorer and users won’t be allowed to launch it. You won’t be able to access OneDrive at all, not even from within Windows Store apps or use the camera roll upload feature. To undo this change, just head back to here and change the policy to “Not Configured” instead of “Enabled.”

There doesn’t seem to be an associated registry setting you can modify to get the same effect as the group policy setting on Windows 10. The “DisableFileSync” and “DisableFileSyncNGSC” registry settings that worked on Windows 8.1 no longer works on Windows 10.

Not Recommended: What About Uninstalling OneDrive?

There’s another tip going around — a method that uses the OneDrive installer lying in the Windows system folder to uninstall OneDrive from your system. We don’t recommend this option for several reasons. We aren’t sure how to get OneDrive back if you uninstall it like this, short of resetting your Windows 10 PC to its default state. Windows 10 could potentially run the built-in installer again to reenable OneDrive after an update in the future, but the tweaks above will disable it more cleanly.

If you’re really convinced you want to strip OneDrive out of your system — rather than just disabling it cleanly with the above methods — you can open a Command Prompt window as administrator and run the following command to ensure OneDrive isn’t running:

taskkill /f /im OneDrive.exe

After you do, run the following command to uninstall OneDrive on a 64-bit edition of Windows 10:

%SystemRoot%\SysWOW64\OneDriveSetup.exe/ uninstall

Or, run the following command to uninstall OneDrive on a 32-bit edition of Windows 10:

%SystemRoot%\System32\OneDriveSetup.exe /uninstall


You’re free to install your preferred cloud storage service — Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive, or whatever else — and use it instead of OneDrive. The above tricks get OneDrive out of the way so it won’t keep popping up.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 08/18/15
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