When your storage space starts to close, or if you just need to do a little cleaning, you can delete files and folders that are no longer needed in Microsoft OneDrive. This is what you need to know.
What happens when you delete files and folders on OneDrive?
You can sync multiple devices with your OneDrive account, allowing you to access files and folders stored in the cloud from each of these devices. Anytime upload a new file or folder from one device to OneDrive, it can be accessed from all synced devices. Similarly, when you delete a file or folder from OneDrive, you won’t be able to access it from any of your devices. This is because even though you can access the file from multiple devices, the file itself lives in the cloud.
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One exception is that when you sync your phone’s photo album to OneDrive and then delete an image from the album in the OneDrive account, the image stored on your phone will not be affected. In other words, if you upload your photos to OneDrive, you will have two copies of that photo instead of just one: one on your phone and one in the cloud.
You can delete files and folders on OneDrive from your PC or your smartphone. Here’s how to do both.
To delete files and folders from your OneDrive, open a browser on your PC, go to OneDrive websiteand then log into your account.
Once you are logged in, you will be in the “My Files” tab of your account. Here, select the file or folder you want to delete by clicking on it with the mouse. You can select multiple files and folders by holding down the Ctrl key (Command on Mac) and clicking on the files / folders. The selected files and folders will appear in a gray box with a blue check mark in the upper right corner.
Once a file or folder is selected, the “Delete” option will appear on the menu bar. Click on it to delete the selected files and folders.
You can also delete the file or folder stored in OneDrive from your PC. Click the OneDrive icon on the desktop toolbar and then click “Open Folder” to quickly open the OneDrive folder in File Explorer.
Once in the OneDrive folder in File Explorer, select the file or folder you want to delete and then press the Delete key. Alternatively, right-click on the file or folder and then click “Delete” from the context menu.
To delete files and folders from OneDrive with your mobile device, you will need to download the OneDrive app to ios or Android. Once installed, tap the app icon to launch it.
When your application opens, you will be on the “Home” screen. If you know the name of the file or folder you want to delete, tap the search bar at the top, and then type the name of the file or folder.
Your recent files will also be displayed on the home screen. If the file you want to delete is not there, you can tap “View All” to the right of Recent Files.
However, this only shows actual files. To view both files and folders, tap “Files” in the bottom menu.
Once you find the file or folder you want to delete, tap the three dots to the right of the file or folder name.
In the window that appears, tap “Delete”.
A pop-up menu will appear asking you to confirm that you want to delete that item. Tap the “Delete” button again.
The file or folder is now deleted.
Empty the recycle bin
When something is deleted, it doesn’t matter if it is deleted from the OneDrive website, the OneDrive folder on your PC or the mobile app, it is moved to the Recycle Bin. You’ll want to empty the Recycle Bin to permanently delete everything.
To empty the Recycle Bin with your PC, go back to the OneDrive website and then click “Recycle Bin” in the left panel.
Then click on the item you want to permanently remove. Or click the bubble next to “Name” at the top of the list to quickly select all items from the Recycle Bin.
Once selected, you will see the option to delete selected items in the header menu. This option will say “Empty Recycle Bin” if you selected all items in the Recycle Bin. Otherwise it will say “Delete”.
A message will appear asking you to confirm that you really want to delete all the items. Click “Yes” if you are sure.
Warning: Once you empty the Recycle Bin, you will not be able to restore files or folders. Only empty the Recycle Bin if you are sure that you will no longer need the files or folders.
Files and folders are now permanently deleted from OneDrive.
To empty the Recycle Bin with your smartphone, open the application and then tap “Files” at the bottom of the screen.
Then tap “Recycle Bin” in the lower right corner of the screen.
To select an item to delete from the Recycle Bin, press and hold the item with your finger. A blue bubble will appear next to it, indicating that that item is selected. To select multiple items, tap the bubble next to it. To delete the selected items, tap the trash can icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
A pop-up message will appear asking you to confirm that you want to permanently delete the selected items from OneDrive. Tap “Delete.”
Warning: You cannot restore deleted items from the Recycle Bin. Make sure you no longer need the file or folder before deleting it.
Selected files and folders are now permanently removed from OneDrive.
Having a backup of your files in multiple locations is good practice. The saying goes, if your data isn’t backed up in three different locations, it doesn’t exist. With that said, there are some privacy concerns when keeping your files in the cloud. If you have those concerns, you can disable OneDrive and remove it from File Explorer.
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