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How to move the Desktop folder out of OneDrive on Windows 10 & 11

Windows and OneDrive are very linked, as you may have noticed if you’ve seen your Desktop folder nested inside your OneDrive. 

This is so you can easily sync desktop files between multiple systems. If that’s not what you’re after, moving it is as simple as a few button clicks. We’ll show you exactly how, as well as how to remove OneDrive completely if you decide it’s not for you. The actions are the same for both Windows 10 and 11.

Remove OneDrive

You can easily remove OneDrive if you don’t plan on using it. To do this, simply enter “one drive” in your search bar at the bottom of your screen. When it appears, hover your mouse on it, right click, and you’ll see the option to uninstall. 

Uninstall onedrive

Move desktop folder out of OneDrive

Navigate to the OneDrive folder. It’s still going to be there even if you’ve uninstalled the app. You can find it at the following location;

C:\Users\YourUserName\OneDrive\

  1. Right-click the Desktop folder
  2. Select Properties from the context menu

Windows properties menu

  1. On the Properties window, go to the Location tab
  2. Click the Restore Defaults button

Windows restore menu

After you click this button, you will see prompts confirming you want to move the folder location. Be sure to read them all before confirming. The files inside the Desktop folder will be moved when the folder itself is moved to its new/default location. There’s no need to worry about losing data but, you should read all prompts, regardless.

Once the Desktop folder has been moved to its default location, you’ll be able to access it from here;

C:\Users\YourUserName\Desktop

All links to the desktop folder will be updated automatically. You can find Desktop in Quick Access in the navigation pane in File Explorer. It looks like this: 

Desktop in quick access

You can also find it listed under This PC in the navigation pane in File Explorer, like so: 

Desktop under this pc

Clicking Desktop will take you directly to the desktop. If you manually created a link/shortcut to the desktop in some other folder, it is likely going to break after you move it back to its default location. You’ll have to update the folder path.

19 Comments

  1. onedrive is the way for MS to do more bucks. selling storage. On MY PC I don;t need to share any info it’s called PERSONAL computer for a reason and if I want to share something, I have many ways to do that
    imo one shopuld orgamize a class action for all the time MS has us waste.
    Wake up call, I won;t use MS anywhere soon. Will migrate my sites from Azure to…
    will publish all UI that allow MS OS such as the one for Ubuntu

  2. I went to the properties within the correct folder to move my desktop from within the Onedrive folder; however, there isn’t a “location” tab anymore. I have Win 11. MS shysters trying to sell me access to my own files by claiming I ran out of room on Onedrive.

  3. I hate onedrive. Don’t like it. Will never use it. I’ve spent hours downloading my embroidery files to my laptop. Then when I purchased 365 onedrive took over. Then I had to download them from onedrive cloud. Very very time consuming. If I had known onedrive was going to automatically take over my files I never would have purchased 365. I’m very disappointed in Microsoft for doing this. We should have a choice whether our files are saved on our computers or the cloud. And you should make it very clear when a person purchases 365 that they will have to download their files again from the onedrive cloud. This is a crappy deal. Thank you.

  4. After I clicked “restore default” I didn’t get any prompts, like you said, so I went ahead and clicked “Apply”, but then I got a pop-up saying:

    “The folder ‘C:\Users\(name)\Desktop’ does not exist. Would you like to create it?”

    I don’t see that in the instructions so I’m nervous to click “yes”… Will doing so erase anything on my desktop, or anything like that?

    Also, I would like to remove the One Drive account (not mine) on my laptop and make my own OD acc, but I’m again worried about losing even a single file from my laptop if I do..

  5. This flat out does not work. When you try to move the pictures folder to default it asks if you want to create it then you say on then it tries to move even if you say no and gives a error that there is a folder in the same location that cant be redirected. Doesnt mater where you try to move the location to you get the same error.

  6. good evening.. this sort of helps. But… in my case…i want to keep DESKtop in One Drive. [so that i have the same desktop shortcuts etc on both lap tops]…but what i am confused about it………..
    the icons that show on my actual desktop are only the ones in my; user/myname/desktop folder .
    and oddly,
    NONE of those items are in my ONE DRIVE Desktop folder.
    however,, the half dozen items that ARE in my ONE DRIVE Desk TOP folder [how they got there i do not know} none of them appear on my actual laptop desk top.
    in short. when i put a new short cut on my desktop, it lands in my : user/my name/desktop folder. not in my One Drive Desktop folder. and none of the items in my OneDrive Desktop show up anywhere. thoughts welcome. :0)

  7. Thank you so much! I panicked, when I found Desktop to be located in the OneDrive folder, but your article helped fix that issue. I am really grateful 🙂

  8. Hi, I wonder if you can help me with a problem when I did this?

    I am trying to remove OneDrive from a computer. I moved everything from OneDrive folders to the PC. Then I unlinked the PC from OneDrive.

    But the desktop is still messed up. I “restored default location” to C:\Users\myname\desktop. Now the desktop LOOKS fine, but when I click on a file saved there, I get this error “C:\Users\myname\Desktop\filename The directory name is invalid”. Same thing happens if I save a file to the desktop. It is there, but I get that error when I try to open it.

    I do NOT get this error if I try to open the same file in Explorer view of the desktop. Shortcuts and folders on the desktop open correctly… only actual files (doc, pdf, xls, etc) give the error.

    I created a folder on the desktop, and moved the files from the desktop to the new desktop folder. I CAN open that folder, and then successfully open any of the files.

    Do you have any idea what is happening??? I appreciate any help you can give!

    Thank you.
    Jan Burch

  9. Thanks for the helpful post, though it seems Microsoft may have moved the ‘location’ option out of those settings completely; following your steps to get to properties for the desktop ‘folder’ only shows options for:
    – General
    – Sharing
    – Security
    – Previous versions
    – Customise
    The first heading (‘general’) does show the location, but now with any means to edit it.

  10. Now there is no “Location” tab when you open Properties. Instead, there is “Customize” but “Restore Default” is under Folder pictures and only restores the default folder picture. Any idea how to move the Desktop out of OneDrive now?

  11. Am astonished at the heavyhandedness of MS on this Window10 nightmare. For one thing, it’s nothing but a “WINDOW” into everything we do once we turn on our computers. It is the most invasive P.O.S. I’ve ever encountered! It is also the ugliest, most difficult/painful to even look at!

    Will likely wipe the hard drive and install Windows7 and try to limp along on that, rather than endure all these privacy/security hazards and invasions. Shame on Microsoft and their crazy desire to RULE THE WORLD! Here’s hoping they go broke on this latest garbage they have unleased on the world!

  12. Am astonished at the heavyhandedness of MS on this Window10 nightmare. For one thing, it’s nothing but a “WINDOW” into everything we do once we turn on our computers. It is the most invasive P.O.S. I’ve ever encountered! It is also the ugliest, most difficult/painful to even look at!

    Will likely wipe the hard drive and install Windows7 and try to limp along on that, rather than endure all these privacy/security hazards and invasions. Shame on Microsoft! Here’s hoping they go broke on this latest garbage they have unleased on the world!

  13. Sorry to bother you as I failed to hit the Restore Default button–since I misunderstood that the new Windows download had made OneDrive default.

  14. I should have added to my earlier comment that I unlinked OneDrive and I also uninstalled OneDrive from my computer. As a result, every file on my Desktop continues to have OneDrive in the address. That’s problematic since I also operate a website which syncs with my “Local view” file.

  15. When I selected the Move button, it stated that the path you specified above, except for using my own computer’s name, “Does not exist.” How should one overcome that issue? Was I supposed to create a new folder labeled “Desktop” before trying to move the Desktop out from under OneDrive? If so, where?

    Thanks

  16. this didn’t quite work for me. I had to choose a different location, though I was still able to move it off of OneDrive at least. I thought it might have been because in my case, I had moved Desktop onto OneDrive myself previously (it wasn’t that way by default) and chose to redirect, but even after I deleted the “desktop” redirect that was already in my %userprofile% (which I assume was a directory junction or some other form of symbolic link? I’m just guessing though), it still didn’t work. Windows is weird…

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