Possible SkyDrive Sync Fix for Windows 8.1

Posted: January 8, 2014 in fix, Microsoft, OneDrive, SkyDrive, Windows, Windows 8

There’s no doubt about it – SkyDrive (now OneDrive) is broken in Windows 8.1. At some point, your files may stop syncing, and Windows simply will not let you know. It happened to me across all devices I had upgraded from 8.0 to 8.1. Many forum posts: here, here, here, and here, are complaining about the problem. The real issue? Nobody knows. Microsoft hasn’t been helpful, either, turning a deaf ear to consumer complaints, and offering no advice in their forums other than to run their SkyDrive troubleshooter. What does that do? It simply restarts the SkyDrive service most of the time, which doesn’t solve the problem.

Researching the issue a bit more, I noticed in the File Manager event log, a message of “Error message: Offline availability: found one item with an empty resourceId, aborting”. That sounded like a permissions/access issue may be causing a file to be unreadable. This lead me to try resetting all the permissions on the SkyDrive folder. Guess what? That process caused other pop-ups to appear. Pop-ups with error messages about file permissions being unable to be changed or accessed. Aha! Progress! If those files can’t be read by SkyDrive’s sync tool, maybe that’s holding up all my syncing!

By moving out those files above and restarting the SkyDrive services, my sync is working again! I don’t know how long this will last, but I hope the steps below will help you troubleshoot the issue on your end.

1. Open Explorer and right-click your SkyDrive folder and select Properties.


2. Click Security, then Advanced, and you should see something similar to the dialog below. Make sure SYSTEM, Administrators, and your own user name all have Full control.


3. Check the box Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permissions from this object and click Apply.

4. Make note of any files on which you receive errors so you can find them and move them out of the SkyDrive folder to somewhere else. This appears to be what was tripping things up for SkyDrive on my end.

5. Move the files from Step 4 to a folder outside of SkyDrive. I zipped these up and kept that ZIP folder in SkyDrive. I have not yet found the reason for those files to have issues. It’s possible setting their permissions again may fix it. My guess is some files may have domain credentials attached that may cause trouble, since I sync with my work PC.

6. Open an elevated command prompt by pressing Windows + X and selecting Command Prompt (Admin).


7. Shut down SkyDrive by typing skydrive /shutdown in c:\windows\system32. You should be starting in c:\windows\system32, but if not, you can type cd “c:\windows\system32” to get there. Wait two minutes.

8. Start up SkyDrive by typing skydrive from that same prompt, this time without the /shutdown command, and wait two minutes. Launch the SkyDrive app from the Start menu as well, just to make sure everything’s kickstarted. Check to see if the SkyDrive Sync Engine Host process is running in Task Manager. You can press Control + Shift + Escape to bring up Task Manager, sort by name, and find SkyDrive Sync Engine Host under Processes. If the SkyDrive process doesn’t launch after a couple minutes, try restarting your machine.


9. You’ll see a lot of disk activity while SkyDrive appears to scan your files and folders all over again. Depending on the number of files and folders you have to sync, this could take a while.

10. Check again in a few hours and see if your SkyDrive folder online appears to properly match with your machine. If it does, then my fix worked.

Good luck!



  1. Auri says:

    Another option is to delete files that aren’t syncing by sending them to the Recycle Bin but NOT emptying. Then, right click those files or folders, select Restore, and it appears to trigger a re-sync.

    • Arlene says:

      How can you tell which files aren’t syncing? The cloud icon in the system tray just gives a number–17 files couldn’t be synced. Your fix worked at first, but now it’s back to telling my files won’t sync. But the app says all files are up to date.

      • Auri says:

        Sometimes you can tell by looking at OneDrive.com/SkyDrive.com and seeing if any errors appear. Also check in the system tray for the Office Document Upload Center and look for errors there. I’ve noticed an occasional hiccup when I copy/paste a file to duplicate it, then try renaming it or editing it.

    • Thanks, Finally after months of issues it working again

    • Barsinister says:

      Thank you so much!!

  2. superlice says:

    Incredible work Auri! For me at least you can move this fix from ‘possible’ to ‘wonderful’! Fixed my syncing issues like a dream!

    Well done!

  3. Doug Griffin says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing. This skydrive sync problem has been driving me crazy. Worked like a charm.

    • Auri, You saved my bacon! Better still, you did it in a manner that I can record and repeat if things run afoul again.

      This worked for me after three hours with a dedicated Microsoft OneDrive Team tech ALMOST worked but eventually failed. She basically did something very similar to what you describe here — applying it to my laptop and Surface Pro — but did not NOT apply this same fix to my desktop machine, where everything had seemed to be okay.

      This, I think, proved mistaken. Her fix TEMPORARILY worked for my Laptop and Surface Pro, but within 24 hours, the problem had returned.I reasoned that the trouble was emanating from my desktop but couldn’t remember exactly what she had done.

      Therefore, I tried to get back online with her the next day, so that I could ask her to fix my desktop. Doubtless she would have resolved it, but I couldn’t get her or anyone else from the OneDrive team that day — they must be swamped with Win8.1 problems — and nobody else wanted to touch my OneDrive. Happily, W\while I was waiting, I did some additional searching, came across your page, and decided to try it, as it corresponded so closely to what the MS tech did. I used your procedure for fixing the security permissions, and hers for restarting the OneDrive.

      IT WORKED!

      FWIW, here’s what she did differently. I’m taking the trouble to note this, as I think it may be marginally safer in at least one respect from the protocol you uncovered.

      A. Perform steps 1-5 exactly as you describe them. These steps had previously turned up no scrambled permissions on my laptop and Surface Pro. AND YET…

      B. …and yet, when I performed the same process on my desktop, upon which OneDrive had been performing trouble-free, voila! Five or six files refused to reset their permissions.

      C. PLUS I discovered that OneDrive was unnecessarily shared with HomeGroup, creating another set of local permissions to complicate matters. Here, I hypothesized, was another set of problems waiting to happen. I removed the redundant sharing by right-clicking OneDrive, then left-clicking Properties, then Share, and removing extraneous sharing.

      D. Then I clicked the Security tab — and what a difference! Instead of seven individuals or Groups to reset, I now had just three: my own Microsoft ID (for example, JohnDoe@Live.com), SYSTEM and Administrators.

      E. I reset the permissions on each of these three, exactly as you set out in steps 1-5.

      F. Then, however, instead of restarting OneDrive from the command line as you describe, I disconnected my account from Microsoft Online, as follows: 1. Click upper left of the screen to make The Charms appear, 2. Click settings, 3. Click “Change PC Settings,” “Accounts” and “Disconect. I was prompted to name my new, local account and provide a password. I MADE SURE THIS WAS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ACCOUNT and then 4. I restarted the machine.

      G. After making sure that OneDrive was absent from this new, local account, I reconnected it by following the same set of steps in stage “F,” this time clicking “Connect,” entering my Microsoft account name and password, and rebooting again.

      H. Then I touched wood, stood up, turned about three times counter-clockwise, closed my eyes and shouted “EvirDeno!” The curse was undone!

      So there you have it. I have little doubt your own procedure works equally well, but also suspect the Microsoft Tech’s “Disconnect-Reconnect” protocol may be a tad more protective of data. I also recommend resetting ALL Windows 8.1 machines that are connected to the problematic OneDrive. In my own case, just one snarled machine re-propagated its problems back to the devices I had successfully straightened out.

      Thanks again, Auri!

      • Heather Lange-Wilson says:

        OMG Thank you!!! This apparently is what resolved my issue that was making me so dang mad! I was about to ditch my skydrive, my office 365 subscription, everything and go back to google!

      • Auri says:

        You’re welcome 🙂 I wonder if Microsoft would make me an MVP for this fix? Probably not.

  4. Thanks for this tip. My prob is that the SkyDrive process keeps launching and crashing. I’m not sure how to determine which (if any) individual files are creating the problem. I’m very frustrated that Microsoft’s lack of response. I’ve had an ignored support ticket for days lol. It’s amazing, really.
    I’ll keep hammering away at it 🙂

    • Auri says:

      Yeah, if SkyDrive wasn’t so good when it actually works, I’d dump it for a supported service like DropBox. Live Mesh was much, much better.

      • I totally agree. I invested a bit to hop fully into the MS ecosystem for my photography business…and now the tools I needed are suddenly unavailable grrr…lol

      • Auri, Agree that Live Mesh was far preferable, not to mention more secure. Also agree that OneDrive is still irreplaceable. Now that Google Drive provides a terabyte of data for just $10 a month, I’d love to use it instead, but nothing works as well with Office as OneDrive.

  5. Jeffrey says:

    WOW…FINALLY someone nails it… I didn’t even have to restart Skydrive.. The moment I removed those files out of the skydrive folder it immediately started syncing…. Checked background processes and sure enough the skydrive sync engine is now running…

    Excellent work!!!

  6. Miguel says:

    You saved my life! Thank you very much!

  7. km0508 says:

    Thanks Auri for easing my pain….

  8. […] Possible SkyDrive Sync Fix for Windows 8.1 […]

  9. George says:

    I am having the same problem. I tried these steps but I just don’t see Skydrive Sync Engine Host running in the task manager. No errors

    • Auri says:

      Did you try launching the SkyDrive app after executing the shutdown command?

      • George says:

        Yes, but I figured out what was wrong. It was a permissions issue on one of the files. Once I removed it, reapplied permissions on all the folders and moved the file back it started working again.

  10. Greg Rhoads says:

    Nice job Auri. This solved my problem on my two Windows 8.1 computers. I can now access my Skydrive files.

  11. Parminder Dhaliwal says:

    Great Job Auri. I wish I had found your resolution earlier. I spent hours figuring it out. It works well now. Thank you so much.

  12. Chris says:

    Updated to windows 8.1 last night, and instantly found the same problem. Luckily Google has moved your post up the rankings so now it’s just below the Microsoft forums with 100’s of complaints and zero solutions. Good job sir !

  13. Gaute Hadland says:

    Thank you, Have strugled with this problem for several days. I have two computers both updated to Windows 8.1. On the laptop, Lenovo x60, skydrive seems to work fine, but not on the other one, I got the same errorcodes as mentioned. Files uploaded from one of the computers was not seen from the other computer, and vise-versa.
    After reading your post, I found that the “Skydrive sync engine host” was running on the Lenovo, but not on the other computer.
    So I did as you said. And now the Skydrive sync engine host is up running, and syncing files, and I can now download my files. And files are visible on both computers.

    Thank you again.

  14. Steve Huff says:

    Thanks for this post – it worked great and helped a lot!

  15. Andrea says:

    Great, well done dude!

  16. Nguyen Quy Hy says:

    This is really great! Although no error popup shows up in my case, SkyDrive starts working again after overwriting the permission.

  17. Jimmy says:

    Thank you – this resolves the problem that bugged me for weeks!

  18. Martin says:

    I will give it a go but skydrive started to be a joke since 8.1 upgrade

  19. Tanya Stawicki says:

    I have tried this but Skydrive still isn’t syncing and don’t have the feeling it ever will. I use Google drive now.

  20. martinwtaylor says:

    Great fix, Auri. The moment I moved two files with faulty permissions out of the SkyDrive folder, things started happening. Once it all sync’d, I was able to copy them back in. Nice work!

  21. Mike says:

    Auri……You’re a genius!

  22. Joe says:

    Adobe Acrobat pdf files from Acrobat 11 are especially problematic regarding permissions, they often get created as read only for some reason

  23. Ryan Whiting says:

    Fixed my problem!!! Thanks! Microsoft has got to put this in their next patch.

  24. Drew says:

    THANK YOU!!!

  25. Monsanto Glória says:

    It Works!!!

  26. Arlene says:

    You are amazing!! Between learning Windows 8 then relearning Windows 8.1 after the upgrade and SkyDrive to OneDrive, I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed. But your fix worked. THANK YOU BIG TIME!!!

  27. guido - italy says:

    thank you, thank you thank you. You deserve a high level job in Microsoft ….

  28. Tom says:

    Thanks Auri! Spent a huge bundle of cash on a new 512Gig Surface Pro 2 system with dock and 27″ touch screen etc just to realize I now can’t get to most of my skydrive files. What a joke.
    Thanks again!

  29. Steen says:

    Another huge thank you! Temporarily removing and reinstating the offending files didn’t do the job, but updating folder permissions and the jumpstarting the app most definitely did.

  30. nana yaw says:

    followed all his steps but did not put those files in a zip file. i instead moved the entire folder containing the problem files to my desktop the performed the replace child object permission thing and moved it back with no problem.

  31. abdmfn says:

    That was awesome !!

  32. Richard says:

    OneDrive (my personal account) and SkyDrivePro on a domain PC does still NOT work. SkyDrivePro works fine bur OneDrive not. NOt any of the files in the cloud I can see from the domain PC. Anybody any ideas??

    • Auri says:

      Have you tried tried moving your SkyDrive/OneDrive folder to another drive? It may take forever to synchronize, but it may also solve the problem.

      Also, do you have any high volume file operations going on, like storing and modifying thousands of files in a folder on a routine basis?

  33. imstevecs says:

    Thankyou. The Microsoft site doesn’t seem to have any tips or hints for this and yet you have solved many peoples issues. thanks again

  34. Neftha says:

    Thanks a lot for this fix! I followed the steps but didn’t get any errrors on specific file. It worked anyway though. I finally can see the skydrive icon in the systray and it is syncing!

  35. dianna says:

    not working for me… i am unable to open SkyDrive from app. Says blocked by system adminsitrator (who I am).

    • Auri says:

      From what app? The SkyDrive/OneDrive app? And are you sure you’re an administrator?

      • dianna says:

        The SkyDrive app on my Start (Windows 8.1) Says System Administrator has blocked the use of SkyDrive. I am the Administrator.

  36. worked for me thanks…

  37. OC says:

    Probably works great, but when you get the security issue on hundreds of files… Argh….

  38. Thanks a lot! In fact Checking the box Replace all child object permission entries with inheritable permissions from this object did the trick for me. The files throwing up errors earlier now working just fine..

  39. Mark says:

    Worked like a charm! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I seem to have the most trouble with PDF’s.

  40. Sinza says:

    Unfortunately didn’t work for me… Arrgghh. Is there any other solution?

  41. Louise says:

    I was about to chuck laptop out the window after days of trying the trouble shooter and restarting sync engine host but in the space of 15 mins it is fixed! Whether this will last or not I don’t know but I’m bookmarking your page just in case. Thanks for the effort you’ve put into this.

  42. Sunny Malhotra says:

    works thanks !!!!!!!! I was close to moving over to google drive. Thanks again

  43. […] been solved. Especially so if you are getting the peculiar and undocumented 0x80040A41 error. Possible SkyDrive Sync Fix for Windows 8.1 | Auri's Space I had a little problem with restarting skydrive.exe, but after a machine restart all was well […]

  44. Roi Danton says:

    Just run this three commands and be fine again:
    1.SkyDrive /shutdown
    2.SkyDrive /reset

    • Auri says:

      I suggest NOT doing this, unless nothing else in my article works. I tried it – it basically re-downloads the entire OneDrive file set, and takes forever. The OneDrive is partially unusable as the rebuild takes place.

  45. Roi Danton says:

    This is great. The commands I suggested is the supported way to easily reset the sync without data loss.
    Your way is unsupported and dangerous. It could cause data loss. Maybe you should rethink it.

  46. Cheryl says:

    I don’t know if my problem is the same or not but if you wouldn’t mind having a look, I would greatly appreciate it.

    I recently got a surface pro 3, I7, 8GB ram, 512 GB HD with windows 8.1. I used One Drive for the first time thinking I would have access to my files with the tablet and if you will excuse the expression, all hell broke loose. Suddenly, I can’t save to file locations without administrative permission. Then it asks if I want to save in such and such folder. The thing is, I am the administrative account. I am scared to do anything out of fear of making it worse or harming my pc. I am at a loss as to what to do but I miss being able to use my files as I normally did before. I don’t know if something is missing or misplaced or if there is a permission error. I have only just started using a computer 5 years ago and while I have learned alot, I am no rocket scientist and dont understand alot of the language. Please help me.

  47. Richard says:

    Your fix worked for me. Thank you very much!

    I had spent the last few hours trying to figure out why my OneDrive wasn’t syncing. The Microsoft responses in the forums are completely useless. This is shameful when Microsoft has announced that the cloud is one of the primary focus of the company.

  48. Arthur P. Johnson says:

    The sad thing is that I had to do my procedure again when reinstalling windows on my Surface Pro. They force you to reinstall Win8, do all the patches, then do the “free upgrade” from the store, do all THOSE patches, and at the end of it, OneDrive still doesn’t work. It worked after I reset all the permissions, but this is really unconscionable — the kind of things that’s driving duffers over to ChromeBooks.

    • Auri says:

      I’ve had few issues after upgrading to Windows 8.1 Update 2. Usually a restart will fix the problem, which seems to happen more rarely. Of course, because it’s built-in to the OS, I use those folders all the time, across many machines, so it’s good that it works most of the time… Dropbox is bound to its own special folder, so you can avoid it more easily, especially due to its free storage constraints. I plan to take full advantage of the 1TB of storage MS is providing. Of course, I still back it up on a regular basis 🙂

  49. Nick says:

    My prrobleme was that I got a little yellow exclamation mark in front of the sky drive logo. My files were not sync. All I did is login to my skydrive from internet and the files automaticly sync to my sky drive folder on my computer. Hope it help some users that have this issue 🙂

  50. Rodrigo Souza says:

    I did your suggestion and it worked very well. But after a restart of the computer, oneDrive stoped again. I went to the security / advanced window and the check box was blank again. Do you know why it happens?

    • Auri says:

      I’ve found if you’re running low on disk space, sync will stop. It also appears to be an issue once you free up space. So, I tend to uncheck the box for keeping all files on my local drive (in the OneDrive app settings). The Skydrive /reset option may solve the problem of sync not working. It appears to reconfigure OneDrive as if it’s a new install. I don’t recommend this for quick sync fixes – it takes a very long time to re-sync. But it *is* the nuclear option when all else fails.

  51. Jasim says:

    Thanks auri for your efforts. I have tried your solution but some of the problem causing files somehoe got corrupted. I just cant handle onedrive anymore. I am constantly getting sync issues with my uni PC and my home PC. Albeit onedrive is more powerful than dropbox it does not do the simple things hassle free. LIKE SYNC!!

  52. paull says:

    ime keeping my fingers crosed hopfully this has done the job all becuase live.co.uk was well you know microsoft had too go yoo outlook.com now so every thing went pear shaped with the system now stoped and ended one dry end task job on them

  53. sai says:

    actually i got a problem wit my lap can u suggest how to solve it

  54. sai says:

    my admin account in laptop is not opening and my desktop became blank leaving problem that background host is not working so i cant able to access for important works

    • Auri says:

      Sounds like something’s incredibly messed up. Can you create another account and login with it? Probably not something I’ll be able to fix via blog comments 🙂

  55. sai says:

    didnt get u

    • Auri says:

      Are you located somewhere near a Microsoft store? If so, head over there and see if they can help. This problem sounds like it’s much more likely to be solved if the technician can touch the computer.

      • Arthur P. Johnson says:

        sai, I’m afraid I must agree with Auri here. Sounds like you have a severely corrupted installation with multiple problems that has left it very unstable. It also sounds like you need a trustworthy EXPERT human being taking a look at your installation up close and personal. If you’re lucky enough to have a Microsoft store within an hour or two of your office, I recommend you get there tout suite.

        Failing that, perhaps you have a good third party PC shop nearby? Can’t hurt to have an expert review your problem AND SAVE YOUR SENSITIVE DATA!

        Finally, Sai, if you are truly on your own:

        Creating a new account with admin privileges MAY enable you to access the sensitive data and save it to an external drive. Once you get the data off, I would blow the system away, reformat your C: drive and reinstall Windows.

        ONE FINAL COMMENT. I do NOT recommend keeping more than one Windows Explorer extension drive in your installation. If you choose OneDrive, uninstall your DropBox or Google Drive extensions and thenceforth visit them only via your Internet Browser. It’s all too easy for Windows Explorer to have the equivalent of a nervous breakdown when overburdened with one too many extensions . So, if the data you want to save is on OneDrive, uninstall the other Drive extensions, one by one. If you’re lucky, this may solve your problem all by itself. I had a similar problem a couple of years back, and found that uninstalling DropBox somewhat miraculously solved everything.

  56. gezginrocker says:

    Thanks for this guide, now it is working better. Before, when I try to sync it was stopping after 1-2 hours. After I changed the permissions, syncing goes longer. But still it does stop sometimes. Windows 8 Skydrive is so problematic. Before I was on Windows 7 and I was using Onedrive wthout any problems. But now I’m on Windows 8 and it forces me to use outdated Skydrive. That’s really annoying.

    • Auri says:

      Windows 8 uses OneDrive. It was a branding change, not so much a tech change. Make sure you have the latest Windows 8 updates, including Windows 8.1, and you’ll see OneDrive.

      • gezginrocker says:

        The working process is still called “SkyDrive.exe” at W8.1. When seperately installed on W7, I think it is “OneDrive.exe”. Also, some options available at Onedrive are not available at W8.1 version. And I can’t see which files are uploding at W8.1. Another thing is, when I changed OneDrive folder at W7, it was comparing files and continuing from where it left. But when I change folder at W8.1, it begins downloading all files from scratch, and renames them. So I think W8.1 version and seperate OneDrive version are clearly not the same products. W8.1 version is definitely very inferior and it is not properly updated. My problem continues btw, I need to upload 30gb, and it stops syncing every 2-3 hours. And I have all the latest updates. That clearly sucks…

  57. Mike Ideus says:

    Auri, you are the man! My issue was fixed by only going through step 3. Now disk usage is normal on all my pc’s. Thanks!

  58. Genda says:

    When i type skydrive /shutdown in c:\windows\system32 (step 7) and wait 2 minutes, nothing happens. Please help

  59. […] SkyDrive sync issues. Check out Another possible solution for OneDrive / SkyDrive sync issues and Possible OneDrive / SkyDrive sync fix for Windows 8. I have found that sometimes even resetting SkyDrive doesn’t fix the problem. Microsoft will […]

  60. Tom Nielsen says:

    I had persistent sync errors that would no guides on google could get to disappear.

    I then tried renaming my onedrive folder from “oneDrive” to “oneDrive2”. A loading cursor would appear and onedrive closed, but after starting the onedrive app again, the errors had disappeared. The onedrive folder had automatically been renamed back (or the renaming didn’t go through). I suspect some kind of cache clean or folder reevaluation had been triggered.

    No other method had solved my problem, which was fixed by a simple renaming.

    • Auri says:

      I understand what it did – the folder went missing so it recreated it. I wouldn’t have taken that approach because any unsynced files could be missed, but I’m glad it worked for you! 🙂

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