Surely there's a way to force OneDrive to prioritize/force sync a single folder or file...

So often I find myself waiting impatiently, frantically, HYSTERICALLY, for a folder or file to sync across OneDrive, darting between two computers and waiting for the iterative blue arrows to transform to comforting green check marks... It could be a folder with just tens or hundreds of megabytes, which I know would easily upload or download much faster than it's happening. WTF? Can I force it to just go?


That's quite a moving target with the changes in the OneDrive itself, yet - what works for me is to restart it - this forces a sync op (YMMV though).

Two simple commands in cmd/batch file:

%localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\onedrive.exe /shutdown
start %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\OneDrive.exe /background

Yes, but it's painful.
Assuming files/folders are uploaded on onedrive, go to the location where you wish to draw the synced files from. It's easier if you switch into list view, rather than icon/tile view. Select the files/folders you wish to use. click the download button. They will download into a zip file. Extract the zip file as appropriate.

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    You mean no. You can't force a single file to sync, but you can download a single file. – thelem Nov 2 '18 at 12:05
  • I mean yes. Downloading the file will cause it's syncing to be prioritized. Just place it in the same location as the original. It's a work around that will accomplish the questioner's objective. – Charles Goodwin Nov 2 '18 at 16:19
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    @Charles Goodwin, Please add your comment to your answer. This is definitely important for understanding your answer. Without this, it looks like you are answering a different question. – PatS Feb 21 '19 at 1:43
  • This doesn't work if it's new files you want uploaded, it seems. – Sepster Jan 9 '20 at 14:31

This isn't as efficient as a built-in feature could be, but Microsoft isn't interested in helping out... So, here's the brute force method.

  1. Right-click the folder/file and select "Free up space"
  2. Wait for the cloud icon to show
  3. (optional) Right-click and select "Always keep on this device"

Step 1 removes the file from local storage, so the next time you attempt to access it, it downloads a fresh copy - instant sync. If you simply open it, it will have a green/white checkbox indicating that it is temporarily saved to the device. If you select "Always keep on this device", it will keep the copy long term. That may or may not be interesting depending on what you plan to do with the file.


A potential work-around that worked for me in a specific case: 1) Requires two OneDrive accounts (personal and business), 2) one account is busy (the problem) and the other is not, and 3) you need online access to the file or folder in question that has yet to sync:

Move the file or folder in question to the other OneDrive and it prioritizes it.

Worked for me in this moment. Will not work for everyone.


For a file that seems to persistently not sync ... I've had luck with renaming the file (append 1) and then naming back. This seems to make OneDrive notice a change to that specific file, and push it up the queue as a simple update. FWIW ~


The most easy way that worked for me was to open the onedrive location in browser, open the local PC folder in File explorer, drag and drop the files you want from the file explorer into the onedrive folder (open at web browser) and you just have forced onedrive to "upload" those files manually.

It might take some time though for your computer to realized that you have forced sync some files and change the status of those files to "synced".

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