O365 – OneDrive for Business sync issues–beware!

This is going to be short and sweet.

There are numerous issues with the sync client for OneDrive for Business but NOT with the sync client for OneDrive (the personal OneDrive that is not related to O365).  There has been a large amount of chatter within MVP circles about the problems and the general consensus is that you should NOT use the sync client at this point.

So, at the risk of having my MVP badge and secret decoder ring being taken away, I’m going to go out on a limb and recommend, strongly, that you DO NOT USE the ODFB sync client until further notice!  Microsoft is painfully aware of the issue (Lord knows, the MVP community has been raining hellfire and damnation down on the appropriate parties inside Microsoft about the issues) and work is ongoing to fix the problem but as of today (October 3, 2014) the sync client should be considered as dangerously unreliable.

OneDrive (NOT ODFB) does NOT have any issues so if you really, really need the sync capability then OneDrive (NOT ODFB) is the way to go for now.

Now I have to go see if the secret messages still decode using my ring ….

8 responses to “O365 – OneDrive for Business sync issues–beware!

  1. Hi Robert, great article.

    Any update on this as per December 16? Do you know if this issue has been addressed?

    Please let me know.


    1. Hi, Alex:

      Microsoft has made a series of incremental improvements in the backend (O365) over the past few months. My advice at this point would be to test, test, test. There are some monster improvements coming that are “just around the corner” but you might find that things will work well for you now. Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to make OneDrive for Business absolutely rock solid so the commitment is there in spades. I have not seen any flames recently on the channels I monitor so that indicates to me that other users are seeing an overall improvement. I’ll definitely post when the big announcements are made regarding OneDrive.


  2. Hi Robert
    i’ve been reading your (& others) articles regarding the sync issues with ODFB (which i’m having despite following all the tips) – has MS actually resolved the underlying issues that affect ODFB sync reliability for clients (to the point its worth recommending migrations)….?

    1. Colin:

      Ooooo, this is a tricky one. MSFT has made many, many changes to ODFB and some users are having great success while others are having a less than “perfect” experience. I think there are probably still issues with large file and folder counts, smaller amounts of data don’t seem to have a lot of issues. I actually don’t make big use of either OneDrive technology as I don’t have a lot of data that I need to have follow me around (most of what I use at work is in our SharePoint site) so I’m probably a lousy reference. MSFT is committed to fixing OFDB and to make it work so I guess my advice is the same as Ronald Reagan’s when he was speaking about Russia … “Trust … but verify”.


  3. As of October 2015, ODFB sync is still a DISASTER for us! Works for a day or two then loses the place and everything becomes a big mess. We have about 20Gb and a few thousand files. Shouldn’t be that hard…

    1. I’m trying to stay above the fray regarding the ODFB sync client issues. It seems some people have great luck and for others it is a disaster. I don’t actually use it (well, not much and with very few files) so my experience is not indicative of the norm.


  4. I have 2 updates since my original post.

    1. As you know on September 22, 2015 Microsoft released brand new Office – Office 2016. It does come with new ODFB Sync Client that allows for example sync selective folders. Even though I’m running Office 2016 at home from day one (September 22) I did not try using new 2016 ODFB client at my work yet. But I will definitely try when I have a moment. I wonder if ODFB 2016 resolved all the issues that used to be in original 2013 client software.

    2. I found that in my environment what is causing SYNC issue is the fact that we have a PROXY server that requires authentication and browsing Internet only allowed for user accounts and not computer accounts. What is happening in this case is that computer cannot access NCSI file http://www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt and think that there is no Internet access. ODFB client relies on Network Connection Service Indicator and stop syncing files. Interesting that it was working before but now it is broken.

    We ended up not enrolling ODFB sync client to users yet.

    Any other updates on ODFB sync client front?

    1. Hi, Alex:

      Many thanks for the update. You are correct about the Office 2016 sync client. Microsoft has indicated a new version of the sync client will be made available early in CY 2016 that is supposed to fix up all of the rest of the issues. I can’t say much, unfortunately, other than it looks like they have heard all the complaints levelled at the ODFB sync client and have addressed the issues. Microsoft has taken a lot of heat and have actually lost some large customers because of the sync issues. They aren’t taking any of it lightly so my gut feeling is that when the update is released it will be met by a chorus of cheers.


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