OneDrive is a cloud-based storage and sync service from Microsoft. As with any storage medium, it’s common to have duplicate files in OneDrive, which can take up space and make it harder to organize files. This article will show you how to automatically find and mass remove OneDrive duplicate files such as duplicate photos.
OneDrive comes with 5 GB of free storage. You can also pay for extra storage. In either case, every bit of storage matters. Deleting duplicate files in your OneDrive account helps free up storage space. File organization is also made easier.
There are 2 common types of duplicates in OneDrive. It’s recommended to learn about them.
#1 OneDrive duplicate files with computer name
If you see them in your account, it may be time to refresh your credentials. Doing so may stop OneDrive from creating duplicate files.
There’s another possible cause. OneDrive creates duplicate file name with PC name when it detects a conflict. If a file is edited on multiple computers before it has had a chance to sync everywhere, this will happen. OneDrive saves different versions of the file to prevent data loss. In such a case, you can check the versions and decide which one(s) to delete or edit etc.
#2 Exact duplicate files
This type is the focus of this article.
If two files are exactly the same regardless of filename, you can consider them exact duplicate files. They are likely to be created during upload.
Will OneDrive upload duplicates? No and yes. OneDrive is designed to avoid duplicates by detecting and skipping the reupload of an existing file. But if you upload the same file separately to different folders in your OneDrive, the detection won’t work, resulting in exact duplicates. The detection also fails in some other scenarios.
Additionally, OneDrive’s “camera upload” feature can generate duplicate photos and videos.
The best way to deal with OneDrive duplicates
OneDrive itself can’t deal with the existing exact duplicates in your account. It would be very time-consuming and tedious to get rid of them one by one by hand. The easiest way is to use OneDrive duplicate finder software. Below you will find how to use such software on PC and Mac.
The software I use is Cisdem Duplicate Finder. It can help you easily find and remove all types of duplicate files (such as duplicate photos) on computer’s hard drive, external hard drive, USB flash drive, OneDrive and more.
1. On your Windows PC, install and set up the official OneDrive app to sync files between OneDrive and computer. Please see this tip for instructions and important information.
2. Download and install Cisdem Duplicate Finder. Open the software.
3. From File Explorer, drag one or multiple OneDrive folders (or the main OneDrive folder) into the software.
4. Click Scan.
5. Once the scan is done, the All tab will display all the duplicate files found in your OneDrive. The Images tab will display all the OneDrive duplicate photos.
6. View, sort and preview the duplicate files as you wish.
7. The software already automatically selects duplicate files for you to mass delete. Or, if you want, you can choose a selection rule or select by hand.
8. Click Delete to delete the selected duplicate files.
Once it’s done, the OneDrive app on your computer will sync the changes. You can go to OneDrive online to verity the removal of duplicates.
Bonus tip: How to set up and sync OneDrive on Windows
1. On your Windows PC, download and install the OneDrive for Windows app.
2. In the taskbar, click the OneDrive icon . Click Sign in.
3. Enter your email address and click Sign in.
4. Enter your password and click Sign in.
5. Click Next.
6. In the Your OneDrive folder screen, stick to the default OneDrive folder location (or change location). Click Next.
7. Click Open my OneDrive folder, which will open the main OneDrive folder in File Explorer.
8. To scan an OneDrive folder for duplicate files, right-click the folder and choose the Always keep on this device option. To scan multiple folders, choose the said option for these folders.
9. Wait for a while. Once a green tick icon appears in the Status column for the one or multiple folders, you can start looking for duplicate files in OneDrive.
If you want to scan your entire main OneDrive folder for duplicate files, right-click OneDrive in the Navigation pane and choose Always keep on this device. Note that this will download all your OneDrive files and folders to your computer, which may take a lot of space on your hard drive.
Please make sure that the OneDrive app is running and working properly during the whole process, from the setup to the completion of removal of duplicates.
2. Click OneDrive app’s icon in the top menu bar. If it says “OneDrive is up to date”, then the sync is finished.
3. Download and install the OneDrive duplicate finder. Open it.
4. Click the plus icon (+), select the OneDrive folder and click Open.
5. Click Scan.
6. The scan is done. The All tab lists the duplicate files found in your OneDrive. You can easily check and preview them. Also, you can view them by file type by going to the related tabs (e.g. Images).
7. Cisdem Duplicate Finder automatically and smartly selects duplicates for you to bulk delete with a click. If not satisfied, use a desired selection rule instead.
8. Click Delete to eliminate selected duplicates.
9. Click Yes.
Now, the duplicate files are removed from the OneDrive folder on your computer. The OneDrive app will automatically detect and sync the changes right away, so the OneDrive duplicate files in the cloud are also deleted.
Get the duplicate file finder now!
Below are some tips that may be useful.
In Step 4, if you add the entire OneDrive folder for scan, all the duplicates in it will be detected. To scan a subfolder in it, just add the subfolder. To look for duplicate files across multiple OneDrive subfolders, add them all.
Cisdem Duplicate Finder offers three preview modes, letting you preview photos, documents, audios and videos. In Step 6, you can preview OneDrive duplicate photos and other duplicates, if needed.
Bonus tip: How to set up and sync OneDrive on Mac
1. Open the OneDrive app. Sign in with your Microsoft account.
2. The Your OneDrive Folder interface lets you know the default location of your OneDrive folder. You can select a location of your choice if needed.
3. In the Sync Your Files to This Mac interface, choose to sync all files and folders (or only selected ones).
4. Click the Open OneDrive Folder button to find out its location.
5. The sync already starts automatically. Wait for it to finish.
You can find the sync status in OneDrive app. To access the app, click its icon in the top menu bar on Mac.
If your OneDrive only has a small number of files, then it’s possible to find duplicate files by hand.
1. Open your browser and go to https://onedrive.live.com/.
2. Sign in.
3. Go to My Files where you can find all the files in your account.
4. Click the view options menu and choose List.
5. Click the sort menu and choose Size. If two or more files are identical in file type and file size (and similar in filename), then changes are very good that they are duplicate files.
6. When it comes to OneDrive duplicate photos, you can right-click a photo and click Preview. To preview a document, you can open it with Microsoft Word Online.
7. Select the unwanted duplicate files and click Delete in the toolbar at the top.
The OneDrive duplicate files issue is not uncommon. Different situations require different solutions. If your OneDrive creates duplicate files and adds computer name to the filename, then you can consider clearing credentials or recall if there is any update conflict. If the duplicate files are identical in content regardless of filename, you can remove the unwanted ones.
Rosa has worked in Mac software industry for more than eight years. She believes that the purpose of software is to make life better and work more productively. In addition to writing, Rosa is also an avid runner.