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I have a Windows 10 laptop with Microsoft OneDrive installed however I haven't been using it until tonight when I did a Sign-in. OneDrive stepped me through a couple of prompts and then I realized that it had moved all of the files from my Desktop, Documents, and Pictures folders from the normal location of C:\users\myuser into a OneDrive folder and was busy doing a synch into the cloud of multi-gigabytes of files that I had no desire to be anywhere other than this laptop.

Now when I navigate to where those user folders were before I did the OneDrive, those folders are empty and everything seems to have moved to a folder C:\users\myuser\OneDrive.

I'm now trying to roll back all of these changes:

  • I have signed out of OneDrive
  • I have modified the settings of OneDrive to unlink the laptop PC
  • I have signed into the OneDrive cloud storage using a browser and deleted all copies there
  • after doing delete I emptied the Recycle Bin and signed out within the browser

So at this point all the files and directories uploaded into the cloud are deleted and OneDrive is not signed in so is not synching. It also looks like like I have things set so that:

  • the laptop OneDrive is no longer linked to the cloud OneDrive
  • OneDrive is no longer auto starting at Windows startup

Next I want to put everything back the way it was:

  • move the material in the folders that are in the C:\users\myuser\OneDrive folders back
  • rollback the changes OneDrive made to redirect My Documents, Desktop, and Pictures to the OneDrive folder

My impression from what I have read I can just move the material from the OneDrive area back to the original locations.

So has what I've done eliminated the copies on the cloud, stopped OneDrive from trying to backup everything to the cloud, and can I roll back the change in file locations?

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It's recommended to backup all files and subfolders in My Documents, Desktop, and Pictures first.

And then you'd better check the desktop folder default location. More information, please refer to "Windows 10 User Shell Folders Restore Default Paths".

This post provides you the list of User Shell Folders in Windows 10 and their default paths. If you’ve moved a shell folder earlier, you can restore it to the default location via the folder properties Location tab in most cases.

However, there are situations where the Location tab option can’t be used — i.e. when two special folders such as Music and Videos become merged and point to the same location. In that case, clicking Restore Default in the folder properties Location tab causes an error.

Note: The Location tab will only display in the Properties dialog if the folder is a special shell folder such as Documents or Pictures.

Please make sure the data values for My Documents, Desktop, and Pictures are correct.

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(Please note, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Before you modify it, please remember to back up the registry for restoration in case problems occur.)

After change the registry, you could restart your computer to check these Windows known folders under your Windows account folder.

Then, please copy the contents backed up in advance to the corresponding folder in turn.

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Yes, if OneDrive is not syncing changes anymore you can just move the folders and files back.

But what was done by you previously wasn't necessary. You could avoid moving folder by disabling Backup in OneDrive settings. You could also stop backup after it's enabled. This is configured in Backup > Manage backup settings:

disable OneDrive backup

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    What is that I did previously wasn't necessary? I don't know if you are talking about deleting the files that OneDrive had uploaded into the cloud or what. Could you provide more detail about that? Dec 29, 2021 at 3:53
  • Yes, deleting files wasn't necessary. Once backup is enabled and starts syncing you just go and disable it after which all files stay in the original place.
    – Hardoman
    Dec 30, 2021 at 14:48
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    How do the files that were uploaded into the cloud get deleted if I don't delete them? I would assume that once files are uploaded and OneDrive is no longer synching then nothing will change in the cloud copy of the files. I deleted those files in the cloud because I did not want them up there. Dec 30, 2021 at 15:56

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