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How to move Desktop from OneDrive to my PC RRS feed

  • Question

  • I notice that my Windows Desktop has moved itself into C:\Users\<me>\OneDrive\Desktop. I don't recall asking for this. How can I move it out of OneDrive and back to C:\Users\<me>\Desktop?

    Update:

    Also, although File Explorer shows my Documents folder under D:\, when I back it up, it is empty in the backup. So, presumably, my real Documents folder has been moved somewhere else.

    This all started when I enabled sync'ing in OneDrive. I have spent days trying to regain control of my folders. All I want is for them (Documents, Pictures, Desktop etc.) to be on my D:\ drive.


    • Edited by Bertram12 Wednesday, January 15, 2020 7:44 PM Update
    Wednesday, January 15, 2020 11:24 AM

Answers

  • Well, after a month, I think I have at last recovered all of my files. As above, I kept getting the obscure message "Error 0x8007016A: The cloud file provider is not running". I had to laboriously move each folder, one-by-one, into a new folder area on my D:\ drive and, each time this message occurred, I ditched the corrupted files and recovered them from my various backups. Took ages and ages!

    It has taken over a month to get my computer back and it all started when I turned on OneDrive sync'ing in December. 

    Sadly, the only answer I can recommend is "Don't use OneDrive"!!


    • Marked as answer by Bertram12 Monday, January 27, 2020 7:26 PM
    Monday, January 27, 2020 7:26 PM

All replies

  • Hello,

    Information required to assist you.

    Is your Windows installed on C: or D: drive?

    Have you changed OneDrive folder location?

    Regards.


    Microsoft MVP (Windows and Devices for IT)

    Windows Insider MVP

    Windows Help & Support [www.kapilarya.com]

    Thursday, January 16, 2020 8:18 AM
  • Windows is installed on C:\ drive. My data files are installed on D:\. My local OneDrive folder is on D:\ but I can't remember if it was previously on C:.

    I have just enabled Libraries in File Explorer which, in the L-H pane, shows:

    Documents (which has three sub-entries)
    -- Documents (pointing to C:\Users\<me>)
    -- OneDrive (also pointing to C:\Users\<me> which is odd as OneDrive is actually on my D:\drive!!)
    -- Documents (pointing to D:\OneDrive\Files from Old PC) - I want to move this to D:\Documents but, under Properties, there is no "Location" tab for me to move it.

    Music
    -- completely empty (pointing to "This PC > Music" whereas it should be D:\Music where my music files are)

    Pictures (has two sub-entries)
    -- Pictures (pointing to D:\) - this is the up-to-date one and looks OK)
    -- Pictures (pointing to D:\OneDrive\Files from Old PC)

    Videos
    -- pointing to "This PC > Videos) whereas should be D:\Videos where my Videos are)

    I raised the start of these issues under another topic (see here). Someone suggested uninstalling OneDrive through Settings\Apps\Apps&features and reinstalling it again through Microsoft store to check if the issue persists.

    Is that my best course of action?

    Thursday, January 16, 2020 10:33 AM
  • I doubt that reinstalling One Drive will solve your problems. It is not clear what you did but you seem to have messed up the default folder locations by trying to move them to the D: drive.

    I also store items on another drive but I never try to change the C:\Users\<me> location of the default folders. It can be done but is equally likely to cause problems. Just leave them empty on C: or use them as temporary storage but don't try to change Desktop (which should only hold shortcuts anyway). Create new folders somewhere else for your data. You can give them any names you like including Documents, Pictures and Music if you find those convenient.

    Thursday, January 16, 2020 6:34 PM
  • I don't feel that this is my fault. I purchased Office 365 and got a whopping amount of cloud storage. No problem until I turned file sync'ing on. 

    OneDrive started to sync but to an irrelevant sub-folder on-line. This was the start of the problem, but I still can't see any setting in OneDrive which caused this to happen.

    This afternoon, I tried to backup D:\Documents in File History. Although D:\Documents is still there (on my PC), File History failed to locate it - so, asi it stands, I am without a backup.

    I would agree with your statement (above) that default folder locations have been messed up - but I disagree entirely where you said, "you seem to have messed up the default folder locations by trying to move them to the D: drive."

    Me? It wasn't me at all! OneDrive sync'd to the wrong place - and it's been downhill since then.

    If uninstalling OneDrive won't fix the bug, should I bite the bullet and reinstall Windows from scratch?

    The risk at present is that OneDrive will decide that it is "the master" and start deleting files from my PC. This is unacceptable.

    Thursday, January 16, 2020 7:05 PM
  • For any other hapless MS customer whose file associations have also been mucked up, launch a CMD prompt and check your drives. All my files are visible on D:\ (i.e. Documents, Music, Pictures & Videos). Windows can no longer find them but they are definitely there!

    I shall use robocopy to copy my complete D:\ drive to a secure backup area (out of reach from buggy Windows 10 and OneDrive) before any attempted fixes. Windows 10 and OneDrive are not good!

     
    Thursday, January 16, 2020 7:43 PM
  • Latest update:

    I have backed up my D:\ drive to an external backup device. Everything backed up OK. I used RoboCopy (not perfect but usually reliable).

    I then uninstalled OneDrive - but the folder-location problems didn't go away.

    So I have just reinstalled Windows 10 on my PC. But even so, the problems persists. I am sure that the original culprit was OneDrive but even after uninstalling it, and reinstalling Windows 10, my folder locations remain corrupted.

    I simply cannot find anything on the forums about what caused this or how to fix it.

    Help!

    Friday, January 17, 2020 8:17 PM
  • The problem of wrong folders cannot persist if you do a completely new (clean) install of Windows. Do not opt to save settings, applications or your data.

    The new installation will have the default locations for the default folders (Documents, etc). Leave them there. As I said before keep your data on another drive in folders you choose. Personally I give those folders different names from the Windows defaults to avoid the sort of confusion you have experienced.

    There is no need to uninstall OneDrive, just don't use it. You can set it not to start automatically when Windows boots up. If you must use it, create some extra folders in the default OneDrive folder and only turn on sync for those folders. You will need to be careful if you do this because I assume your Cloud storage now holds all the junk uploaded previously. Turning on sync without changing what folders are synced may dump the contents back onto your clean Windows installation.

    Friday, January 17, 2020 8:53 PM
  • Wise words. Can you provide me with a link to do a clean install of Windows 10 WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY FOR IT? Even so, very irritating to have to reinstall all my software (e.g. printers, scanners etc.) plus numerous other apps.

    Whoever designed OneDrive should provide meaningful messages and override options.


    • Edited by Bertram12 Saturday, January 18, 2020 7:38 AM typo
    Friday, January 17, 2020 9:27 PM
  • https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10

    Choose to create installation media with the tool. You already have a digital licence.

    I agree about One Drive. It tries to be clever but is totally confusing and potentially lethal if you us its Backup option without understanding how it works. As I said earlier if you must use it, create some extra folders in the default OneDrive folder and only turn on sync for those folders.

    Friday, January 17, 2020 10:32 PM
  • I'm grateful for all the advice. But before I reinstall Windows 10 from scratch, are there registry hacks I could try in order to tell Windows where my folders (Desktop, Documents etc.) really are? I need nothing more than that.

    If I f*** up the Registry, I can still then reinstall Windows as the remedy (I've had to do it before)


    • Edited by Bertram12 Saturday, January 18, 2020 6:21 PM Typo
    Saturday, January 18, 2020 5:51 PM
  • the user folders location place in the registry are in:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    • Edited by EckiS Saturday, January 18, 2020 8:13 PM
    Saturday, January 18, 2020 8:13 PM
  • Thanks. I have looked at the Registry editor and understand the principal. However, before fixing things, in the last 24 hours (despite no changes from me AT ALL!!). my Music files have now also gone AWOL. My music files were there yesterday but, today, when I click on them (in File Explorer), I get the following stupid message:

    "Nothing to show here. Try a different folder".

    What a brilliant error message. Who on earth came up with it? What "different folder"? Ridiculous.

    Having worked in IT, we were always taught to display meaningful error messages. Microsoft's messages are a joke - and they should be ashamed (and hopefully fired).

    (a CMD prompt shows that my music files are still there - but stupid Windows 10 isn't clever enough to still find them. Bizarre!)


    • Marked as answer by Bertram12 Sunday, January 19, 2020 8:25 PM
    • Edited by Bertram12 Sunday, January 19, 2020 8:31 PM extra info
    • Unmarked as answer by Bertram12 Tuesday, January 21, 2020 9:58 PM
    Sunday, January 19, 2020 8:19 PM
  • "Nothing to show here. Try a different folder"
    can you share a screenshot? That doesn't look like an error message from explorer.
    Sunday, January 19, 2020 9:16 PM
  • First & foremost, that doesn't sound like a legitimate Windows error message. Googling your quoted text yielded no results. Have you done a malware scan?

    Second, What Microsoft seems to avoid clearly stating anywhere is that only files & folders within the OneDrive folder on your PC are synced to the cloud. Thus when you opt to "backup" Desktop, Documents, or Pictures, the contents of those folders are moved to the corresponding OneDrive folder, and the OneDive folder is designated as the location of that folder. The fact  that MS uses words like "backup", "sync", and "protect" but never "move" is quite possibly the number one source of frustration with OneDrive.  These settings are modified via the Backup tab in the OneDrive Settings dialog.

    How did you move your OneDrvie folder to D:\? IIRC, this must be done during ONeDrive setup. If you want to change the location, you have to unlink your PC & tehn go through setup again. Is that how you did it? Test by creating a simple file under D:\OneDrive and see if it shows up in the online folder.

    If you could post a screenshot of HKCU\...\User Shell Folders, we can start to figure out what's what. 

    Matching screenshots of Music from both Explorer & PowerShell/Cmd would be great as well.


    Keith

    Sunday, January 19, 2020 9:58 PM
  • I just realised the "Nothing to show here. Try a different folder" message is from something called Groove Music, which has suddenly taken over all my audio files. I didn't ask for this and received no message from Windows that it was about to happen. 

    It's looks like another OneDrive bug. See their web page.

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4028602/windows-10-what-is-the-microsoft-groove-music-app

    Once I've fixed the Registry, or reinstalled Windows from scratch, all these issues will hopefully go away.

    Here is a screen-shot. I have happily used Windows Media Player for years and years. The arrogant children at Microsoft seem to think they know better. But why such bad manners without even the courtesy of warning me?

    And if Groove Music is so ***!!!!! clever, why can't it even find my music? Ridiculous.






    • Edited by Bertram12 Monday, January 20, 2020 1:24 PM
    Monday, January 20, 2020 8:37 AM
  • Just checked my file associations. As suspected, OneDrive has overridden Windows Media Player with Groove Music - which I had never heard nor want. Now, when Groove Music starts up, it openly states it cannot find my music files. What on earth is its point?

    Such a battle. Who designed OneDrive? Damage on such a vast scale!

    Monday, January 20, 2020 8:20 PM
  • Assuming you have local backups of all your data the best way out of your mess is to do as I suggested previously. Before you do the clean install of Windows use the OneDrive option to view your actual Cloud storage in a browser and delete everything. That will avoid any possible new confusion when you put your data back on the PC after the clean install.

    Above all ignore the temptation to play with OneDrive again regardless of how much free Cloud storage Microsoft offers you.

    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 2:43 AM
  • Second, What Microsoft seems to avoid clearly stating anywhere is that only files & folders within the OneDrive folder on your PC are synced to the cloud. 



    Keith

    Microsoft does state that you must move files and folders into the special OneDrive folder if you want them uploaded to the Cloud. However, as you said they forgot to mention that the additional Backup function for Desktop, Documents, etc does the same thing without telling you rather than perform some magic of its own.

    I have never used that function and had no idea it worked that way until I read your post!

    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 3:08 AM
  • All good points from the above. Thanks for the advice.

    To summarise my problems with OneDrive:

    My previous PC came with the standard 5GB of OneDrive storage. Dead handy to be able to copy (not move!) selected folders there - to share with others. This worked really well.

    But I purchased an Office 365 licence with my new PC and got 1TB of OneDrive space. My big mistake was to sync all my folders. I first turned on full sync'ing on 25 December. Now, nearly a month later, my new computer is still in a mess. I have wasted days and days.

    If full sync'ing had in fact worked properly, I would have been quite happy. But OneDrive sync'd my Documents and Pictures into an already-populated sub-folder on OneDrive (a folder that I used with my previous PC). I still don't know why as there is no visible setting to have caused this.

    Then, a few days ago, OneDrive moved (not copied) my Desktop to OneDrive. Given time, I suppose it will move all my other folders likewise.

    Also, further nasty side-effects are still happening. A couple of days ago (as I posted above), OneDrive enabled Groove Music and changed my music file associations without telling me. OneDrive operates silently so I cannot tell what else it might have corrupted.

    File History has failed to backup properly since this all started - yet with no error or warning messages displayed. I had a go at hacking the Registry yesterday and managed to get my Desktop back. File History can also now see Pictures but still can't find Documents. 

    File Explorer can see all my folders on D:\ and I am using Robocopy via a CMD prompt to do backups. 

    What a shambles OneDrive !!!

    My next steps will be:

    1. Backup all data
    2. Delete everything from OneDrive
    3. Do clean install of Windows.
    4. Reinstall all my programs (sigh !!)
    5. Leave the default folders (Documents etc) on C:/ - and DON'T use them.
    6. Keep my own folders on another drive (e.g. D:\) with different folder names
    7. Do use OneDrive to copy (NOT move!) selected folders I want to share with others.
    8. BUT Never, never, ever turn on full sync'ing.

    • Marked as answer by Bertram12 Tuesday, January 21, 2020 9:59 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Bertram12 Thursday, January 23, 2020 12:30 PM
    Tuesday, January 21, 2020 10:54 AM
  • Update on the above - Sting in the Tail !!

    I've spent the last two days reinstalling Windows from scratch. I haven't gone anywhere near the buggy OneDrive and don't intend to.

    However, even after a clean install of Windows, File History still won't backup my D:\Documents folder. Everything else backs up OK. I've pinned this down to a sub-folder which OneDrive seems to have corrupted in some way. I tried moving the folder from Documents to Desktop but got the following error:

    It looks like loads of people have had similar issues. See here.

    I do have all these files on old backups but, before going any further, I'd like to understand why OneDrive still has its teeth into my computer, EVEN AFTER A CLEAN RE-INSTALL OF WINDOWS.

    This is very troubling and I am terrified that OneDrive is just waiting to start secretly corrupting everything else.

    Update
    Just ran Robocopy from the CMD prompt. It throws up the same error message although, unlike File History, it does at least back up all my other folders under D:\Documents.

    • Edited by Bertram12 Thursday, January 23, 2020 11:16 AM Additional Info
    Thursday, January 23, 2020 10:44 AM
  • I am gradually rebuilding all my files in a new folder called D:\Documents-2. It is taking hours and hours as the above error message keeps appearing at random. In some cases it pops up when I try to MOVE a document. In other cases, it happens when I try to COPY.

    This cannot be right after a clean install of Windows 10, 

    It would be greatly appreciated if someone from Microsoft could explain the behaviour of OneDrive and why it is still corrupting access to my files after a clean install.

    Saturday, January 25, 2020 8:40 PM
  • The error might occur if in a previous use of OneDrive you had File on Demand enabled at times. In that case the local file would just be a link to the file that is (or was) stored in the Cloud. Hence an error if, for example, the file is no longer in the Cloud or OneDrive is not running or not syncing.



    Saturday, January 25, 2020 9:40 PM
  • Thanks. A worrying explanation but entirely plausible. Luckily I have backups that predate December when I first started OneDrive sync'ing.

    A real pain having to recover like this!

    Sunday, January 26, 2020 10:02 AM
  • Well, after a month, I think I have at last recovered all of my files. As above, I kept getting the obscure message "Error 0x8007016A: The cloud file provider is not running". I had to laboriously move each folder, one-by-one, into a new folder area on my D:\ drive and, each time this message occurred, I ditched the corrupted files and recovered them from my various backups. Took ages and ages!

    It has taken over a month to get my computer back and it all started when I turned on OneDrive sync'ing in December. 

    Sadly, the only answer I can recommend is "Don't use OneDrive"!!


    • Marked as answer by Bertram12 Monday, January 27, 2020 7:26 PM
    Monday, January 27, 2020 7:26 PM
  • I noticed that you marked your last post as the answer. Whilst I sympathise, I doubt Microsoft would agree that "Don't use OneDrive" is a valid solution!

    It sometimes seems to me that Microsoft regard most of their users as idiots and try to remove user control from Windows to make it idiot proof. Of course it doesn't quite work that way but OneDrive is mostly usable for those who leave everything about Windows in default mode and put their trust in MS.

    For benefit of anyone who may read this thread in future I think your problem arose from three specific actions on your part: 1) You changed the default locations for documents, pictures, etc and the One Drive folder 2) When you turned on OneDrive you opted to use the relatively new Backup facility for the default folders as well as the longstanding Sync of anything you choose to manually place in the OneDrive folder 3) You didn't realise that "Backup" entails silently moving the default folders into the OneDrive folder and tried to recover your "lost" files.

    I have avoided using the default data locations for as long as I can remember because I like to keep my data away from the system drive and to know exactly where it is. However, I have also learned to be wary of using automated Windows facilities such as File History and more recently OneDrive Backup.


    • Edited by misar1946 Monday, January 27, 2020 10:27 PM
    Monday, January 27, 2020 10:23 PM
  • I found the solution to be this. 

    1. Go to My PC   or This PC

    2. Usually you see your standard folders listed on the top of the right side pane, like Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music, etc.

    3. right-click on Documents. Go to Properties.  Go to "Location" tab.

    4. These is a button for "Restore Default".  Click that.  It changes it in the edit field to your default.

    5. If that's what you want and you're happy with it, then just click OK. 

    6. It should prompt you "Do you want to move the files from the old to the new location?" or something like that.  Click OK.

    7.  Now do the same for Desktop, Downloads, Music, Pictures, etc. as you wish.

    I'm on Windows 10 Pro v1909.  So not sure if these steps above don't work on earlier or later versions.

    Friday, February 14, 2020 10:15 PM
  • That was the killer issue. Once OneDrive had nabbed these folders, the "Location" tab no longer showed up under Properties, which meant I couldn't move them back.

    If the "Location" tab had still been there, I wouldn't have wasted six weeks sorting out the mess, including reinstalling Windows (twice) and hunting down (one by one!) which files had been lost. For the latter, I used "FolderMatch" which compares two folder structures side-by-side. It was a shock to find files still visible in File Explorer weren't, according to FolderMatch, actually there at all. Ditto File History, which still had these folders in its backup plan but wasn't actually backing them up (and without so much as a warning message).

    Luckily I have plenty of backups, but it took ages and, of course, any latest changes were lost.

    Saturday, February 15, 2020 10:21 AM