How to pause OneDrive sync to improve performance in Windows 10

Syncing OneDrive can use computer resources to a point where overall PC performance suffers. Temporary pause in synchronization can improve the performance of your PC.

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No matter how powerful your Microsoft Windows 10 computer is, the point is, more apps running in the background equals less overall performance. Under normal circumstances, you might not notice this distribution of resources between applications. But when you need performance like when rendering a 3D image or uploading a large video file, you will definitely notice and seek more computing power.

One of the more obvious background apps that you might want to put on hold during heavy workloads is Microsoft OneDrive. Syncing files to the cloud with OneDrive can consume a considerable amount of computing power, often at the most inconvenient times. The ability to pause OneDrive sync has been available from the start, but a recent software update has changed the process slightly.

The hands-on tutorial shows you how to increase the overall performance of Windows 10 by temporarily disabling file syncing in Microsoft OneDrive.

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How to improve Windows 10 performance by stopping OneDrive sync

If you recently installed a clean copy of Microsoft OneDrive software on a Windows 10 PC, you may have noticed that the interface of the app has changed slightly. The main screen interface for example, shown in Figure A, is more user-friendly for touch screens.

Figure A


The OneDrive interface lists open files that it syncs to the cloud and presents users with several buttons that take the app deeper. For our purposes, we are interested in the Help and Settings button, which we will click or press.

The resulting drop-down menu (Figure B) contains several other function links such as opening your OneDrive folder, viewing files online, and managing storage settings.

Figure B


The obvious choice for temporarily pausing OneDrive file syncing is the Pause Sync button in the middle of the menu. When we click on this drop-down list (Figure C), we are presented with a list of break times that we can schedule. The choices are two, eight and 24 hours.

Figure C


Unfortunately, Microsoft hasn’t provided a way to customize how long you can pause OneDrive syncing. There are only these three choices.

A word of warning

If you venture into the Settings link to reach the configuration screen shown in Figure D, be extremely careful.

Figure D


There is a setting under the Account tab that will “stop syncing” for a particular folder. However, the “shutdown” referred to by this parameter is permanent. Choosing to stop syncing on this screen will effectively delete that folder from OneDrive, leaving only the file versions found on your local PC. Use the Settings screen at your own risk.

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Microsoft OneDrive is a great productivity tool to automatically save files to the cloud where you can access them, no matter where you are or what device you are using. OneDrive is virtually essential for the proper functioning of Microsoft 365. However, OneDrive’s syncing process, especially when large files are involved, can use computing resources to a point where overall PC performance suffers. Temporarily suspending the synchronization process can save these resources for what you are currently doing and improve the performance of your PC.

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Brian Steele

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