When OneDrive is stuck at syncing

Purely a OneDrive problem, but it may also concern LaTeX users, Emacs users, etc.


Problem description


OneDrive is a great feature of MS Windows that many people and I love and use, but you might have encountered some issues with syncing. This becomes more visible when you have OneDrive tray icon always appear on the taskbar, which you can have by first going to “Taskbar settings” and then from there entering the link “Select which icons appear on the taskbar”.

Sometimes OneDrive is stuck in the middle of syncing and never finishes syncing. You can spot it from the tray icon indefinitely staying at the “processing changes” or “uploading …” state. Maybe a short way to describe the problem is to say that OneDrive suddenly behaves like Internet access is off, despite the fact that you can browse the Internet fine at that time.


What tends to cause it


There seems to be certain types of tasks that tend to mess with OneDrive temporarily:

  • Compiling some code inside a folder in OneDrive (e.g. from working with a LaTeX document, writing a program)
  • editing a text file in OneDrive using an editor that may generate or maintain auxiliary files alongside the text file (e.g. Emacs lock files)

Whether those tasks will actually cause it seems quite random. So it’s understandable that it might take a while for the folks at MS to fix this bug, if this is a bug.


What to do when it happens


The shortest way I know is: Long press or right click on the OneDrive icon to open up its context menu and select “pause syncing”. Then open the context menu again and select “Resume syncing”. You might need to update Windows 10 if you don’t see the “pause syncing” button.

Another way is to exit OneDrive (again using its context menu) and then restart it.

The syncing will get unstuck, but when you do one of those aforementioned tasks again, the syncing may get stuck again.

There seems to be no permanent solution available yet and we will all have to wait until a fix is released.

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