For the past couple of weeks, I have been battling some issues on my Mac. Long story short, I had to reset my Keychain and that seems to have caused some unintentional issues for various things including OneDrive. (Side note: I had to reset my Keychain because of Office365 and enterprise single-sign-on issues – I believe this may be related to my OneDrive issues as well but that is unconfirmed). Anyway…during these few weeks, I had issues not only syncing my corporate and personal OneDrive accounts – yes, you can have two running at once – but sometimes OneDrive would just hang with an error message or two that I couldn’t seem to get rid up. But I found, after lots of trial and error on my end, a way that I believe is the easiest to reset OneDrive back to default so that you can get up and running again.
Note: this article was updated on 8/19/18 with a How To video. If the video is helpful, please share!
For those of you who are reading this saying, what is OneDrive? Well, it’s a file hosting service that allows you to synchronize files across devices. The most popular competitors are Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box. But this article is not about which one to use. It’s about how to reset OneDrive to a clean state so that you can re-syncronize it again.
Here are some errors that came up for me initially:
- OneDrive for Business complained that I was using an invalid character in the name of my folder (I wasn’t)
- OneDrive Personal was stuck in a “beginning to sync” stage immediately after logging in
- OneDrive login would simply hang after entering the password
- OneDrive would say it was connected but no files would synchronize
If you are reading this article, please leave a comment to let everybody know the error you were having.
Ready to try to fix your OneDrive sync issues? You need to probably reset OneDrive!
6/21/21 Update: If you are also using Microsoft OneDrive AND Time Machine, you will want to see my How To/Fix It article – they don’t always play nicely together!
Some Ways I Tried to Reset OneDrive
There are many different approaches you could try here. Some are easier than others. Some are more complete than others. I wanted to offer these as possibilities to try before doing the really easy way to reset OneDrive that I discovered on my own.
Here are a few things that I tried along the way. You may want to try these methods. It was a long process of trial and error. For me, because I have a feeling it was a bit more deep-rooted than just a corrupt app, I did many of these fixes together. But in the end, my OneDrive issue returned. Yours’ might not, though.
Here’s what you can try:
- Deleting the OneDrive app – you can do this and re-download but frequently, since you aren’t actually doing a reset of OneDrive, you are dumped back into the same problems.
- Killing the OneDrive processes – sometimes this can help. Just launching Activity Monitor and killing “OneDrive” and “OneDrive Finder Integration” process can help, but not always. Kill the processes and restart the app.
- Deleting Application Passwords from Keychain – this is another way to potentially reset OneDrive. But I found that it didn’t always work for me.
- Uninstall OneDrive completely – using an uninstaller app like CleanMyMac that fully removes the application, .plists, and related files. You can then download and install again.
- Repairing Permissions – note, you can’t really do this anymore with MacOS Sierra, but you can using tools like the free Onyx or the paid Sierra Cache Cleaner to do that and other actions.
How to Reset OneDrive for Mac the Easy Way
So remember, the following reset only works on a Mac. Windows issues are a different matter completely. Anyway, here are the high-level steps on how to reset OneDrive and then I will go into a bit more details.
Ready? Here we go:
- Launch Activity Monitor & Kill OneDrive processes
- Launch Keychain Access and delete OneDrive keys
- Open the secret reset OneDrive script
Yep, three easy steps. Let’s look at them a bit closer.
End OneDrive processes
The first thing you want to do is end all of the running OneDrive processes. You basically don’t want OneDrive running anymore. So go into your Utilities folder and launch Activity Monitor.
In there, I recommend that you sort the column alphabetically by “Process Name”. (Also, that helps prevent the list from hopping around.) Scroll down until you see OneDrive listed. There are usually two distinct OneDrive items you should quit: “OneDrive” and “OneDrive Finder Integration”.
You may actually see two instances of OneDrive listed if you are running both a Personal and Business version. Just highlight by clicking on each one and click on the X icon at the top. You are prompted to “Quit” or “Force Quit” the item. I would try using Quit first. If OneDrive doesn’t close, try Force Quit.
Close those two OneDrive items and move on to the next step.
Delete OneDrive Keys
Now that you have killed off OneDrive and any related running processes, you want to wipe out any other stored or cached user or password information that may be causing issues. In order to do this, you will need to go into the Keychain Access utility.
A bit of warning here. Keychain Access is a pretty powerful tool. It stores a lot of encrypted items like passwords, certificates, and information. Don’t randomly start deleting things in there.
In order to reset OneDrive, we just need to remove a couple of items from the Keychain Access utility. This utility is located in the Utilities folder.
Once Keychain access is open, you type in “OneDrive” in the search panel on the upper right. The search results could be a variety of items. Just make sure they are related to OneDrive.
You may see things like:
- Cached Credentials
Select only the OneDrive related items and press delete. Then exit Keychain Access.
Don’t reboot. Just keep going. Ready for the final step?
Use the Secret Reset OneDrive Script
I found this script quite by accident actually. I was working with a completely unrelated application on something completely different and they said to look at the package contents of the application and use the uninstall script in there. So I started thinking…I wonder if the OneDrive developers put a reset script or application hidden within the OneDrive application itself. As I dug into it, I found it. And I used it. And it magically reset OneDrive so that I could start over from the beginning with the entering of my credentials.
Here’s how you access the Reset OneDrive script.
First, navigate to the OneDrive application. Then you Control-click the application. When you do that, you should see the following menu appear:
From that menu, select “Show Package Contents”. You will then see a list of folders and files within the OneDrive application. Note: don’t mess with things in here as it could break your application.
Within the “Contents” folder, scroll down to the “Resources” folder.
It is here in the Resources folder that I found the Reset OneDrive script. It’s called “ResetOneDriveApp.command”.
It’s not an application. It just a script that is run in the terminal. Note, when you run it, you may need to authenticate as an administrator.
To run the script, just double-click on it. It should launch Terminal and run through a variety of options. Once it has finished, you are done!
Once you have run the script (and already did the other 2 items earlier), you should be able to launch OneDrive as if it were a completely new installation. You should be prompted to enter your login information and start syncing. It worked for me!
UPDATED: Below is a How-To video on the processes described above. Note, OneDrive has been working flawlessly for me for quite a while so in the video, I don’t actually “do” any of my recommendations above, but I show you how to do them yourself.
Please let me know if this works for you in the comments below. It’s important to share experiences and other scenarios. Tell me and other what the issue was, what you have tried and what resolved or did not resolve it.
And if this fix worked, please share it on Twitter (and elsewhere)!
While these things can be tricky, sometimes it’s pretty easy to fix them. Just don’t panic!
HTD says: Fixing OneDrive syncing issues is actually pretty easy to fix if you follow the right process. And, if you use the secret reset OneDrive script that is hidden away.