How to Find and Delete OneDrive Duplicate Files All at Once

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Sarah Miller
Updated on July 09, 2024 Preview 25.4K Preview 2
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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 5GB 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.

 

(Note: Cisdem Duplicate Finder also has an Android version, which can find and delete duplicate files on Android devices for free.)

Will OneDrive upload duplicate files?

The answer is no and yes.

OneDrive provides a basic duplicate detection feature, which helps avoid duplicates by detecting and skipping the reupload of existing files. This feature identifies duplicate files only by filename and extension, so it’s not accurate enough. There can be false positives, and many true duplicate files will still be uploaded.

reupload is skipped

Also, the OneDrive app’s “Camera upload” feature may generate duplicate photos and videos.

OneDrive itself can’t detect the duplicate files that already exist in your account. It’d be 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.

 

How to find and remove duplicate files in OneDrive automatically on Windows PC

The software I use is Cisdem Duplicate Finder. It can help you easily find and remove all types of duplicate files on computer’s hard drive, OneDrive and other cloud drives, external hard drive, USB flash drive, and more.

When it comes to duplicate photos in OneDrive, the software can find exactly identical photos (regardless of filename), photos that look the same but are different in resolutions, file sizes or formats, and similar photos.

1. On your Windows PC, install and set up the 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.

Free Download

3. From File Explorer, drag one or multiple specific folders in OneDrive (or the main OneDrive folder) into the software.

add OneDrive to scan for duplicates

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.

duplicate files are found and displayed

6. View, sort and preview the duplicate files as you wish.

7. The software already automatically selects all duplicates for you to delete with at once. Or, if you want, you can choose a selection rule or select by hand.

select duplicate files in OneDrive to delete

8. Click Delete to delete the selected duplicate files.

At the same time, the OneDrive app will automatically detect and sync the deletion. You can go to onedrive.live.com 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.

(If you are using Windows 11, OneDrive may already be installed on your PC).

2. In the taskbar, click the OneDrive icon OneDrive icon. Click Sign in. Then enter your Microsoft account email address and password. Click Next.

3. On the Your OneDrive folder screen, stick to the default OneDrive folder location (or change location). Click Next.

the default OneDrive folder location

4. On the next All your files, ready and on-demand screen, you’ll see 3 sync status of OneDrive files. Click Next.

sync statues of OneDrive files

5. Click Open my OneDrive folder, which will open the main OneDrive folder in File Explorer.

the main OneDrive folder is opened

6. 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.

choose the Always keep on this device option

7. 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.

a screenshot of the Status column

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.

After successfully removing the duplicates in Onedrive, you can right-click OneDrive in the navigation pane again and choose Free Up Space, which will free up your local space and sync files to cloud again.

 

How to find and delete OneDrive duplicate files automatically on Mac

multiple duplicate files in OneDrive

1. Install the OneDrive app. Sync OneDrive to your Mac. Sync OneDrive to your Mac. (Here are instructions on how to set up and sync.)

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.

Free Download

the plus icon

4. Click the plus icon (+), select the OneDrive folder and click Open.

5. Click Scan.

scan OneDrive to look for duplicate files

6. The scan is done. The All tab lists the duplicate files found in your OneDrive. You can easily check and preview them. To view duplicate photos only, go to the Image tab.

view OneDrive duplicates in all tab

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.

selection rules

8. Click Delete to eliminate selected duplicates.

9. Click Yes.

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.

In step 4, if you add the main OneDrive folder for scan, all the duplicate files in your account will be detected. To only scan a specific folder in your OneDrive, just add this folder.

Bonus tip: How to set up and sync OneDrive on Mac

1. Download the OneDrive app and install it. Open it. 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.

OneDrive folder location

3. In the Sync Your Files to This Mac interface, choose to sync all files and folders (or only selected ones).

select folders and files to sync

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 the OneDrive app. Once the OneDrive file has successfully downloaded, you'll see a green tick icon next to the folder.

 

How to handle OneDrive duplicate files manually

If your OneDrive only has a small number of files, then it’s possible to find duplicate files by hand.

Using OneDrive website

OneDrive allows users to create, view, edit, and share files directly online. To help users find and organize files more easily, the OneDrive website also supports sorting files in different orders. Usually, duplicate files have the same file size. Sorting files by file size can help you easily identify duplicates.

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. Open the folder you wish to scan for OneDrive duplicate files.

5. Click the view options menu and choose List.

6. Click the sort menu and choose File 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.

You can also sort OneDrive files by Name. Scroll down the file list and find the files with equal names, or the same name with a number to the end of the file’s name. View their content to see if they are exact duplicate files.

7. 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.

8. Check the box next to the unwanted duplicate files and click Delete in the toolbar at the top.

select duplicate files in OneDrive website to delete

9. Confirm the deletion to send the duplicate files to the recycle bin.

Sometimes OneDrive creat duplicates with "copy" or the computer nameadded to the filename. Therefore, you can search for duplicate files on OneDrive by file name.

1. Type "copy" or the name of your other device into the OneDrive search box.

2. Click the arrow icon.

3. Then you’ll see the search results. Scroll down the file list and view their contents.

4. Select those duplicate files that are exactly the same and click on the Delete button.

search

 

Using OneDrive app

If you installed the OneDrive app and have enough drive space on your PC, you can find and delete OneDrive duplicate files manually with the help of File Explorer.

1. Launch the OneDrive app on your PC. Click the OneDrive icon in the taskbar.

2. Make sure you’re signed in to OneDrive.

3. Click the Settings icon. Click Settings.

4. Select Sync and backup from the left column. Go to Advanced settings.

5. Toggle on Files On-Demand.

6. Let it download all your OneDrive files to your PC. Click Continue.

download all OneDrive files

7. Navigate to the OneDrive folder location on your computer.

8. In File Explorer, sort your OneDrive files: click Sort on the top tool bar. From the drop-down menu, select Sort by > Size.

9. Then you can go through the sorted files and identify duplicates in OneDrive.

10. Right-click on the unwanted duplicate files and select Delete to remove them from OneDrive.

 

More FAQs about OneDrive duplicate files

Why does OneDrive create duplicate files with the computer name to the end of the file name?

Sometimes, OneDrive may create duplicate files with computer name. The most likely reason for this to happen is that there is a sync issue when more than one person is editing the same file at the same time. If the changes made by different persons are not synced properly, there could be conflicts. In such a case, OneDrive saves different versions of the file to prevent data loss, resulting in duplicate files. Go through such duplicate files and delete the file versions you don’t need.

OneDrive creating duplicate files with computer name

Below are the common fixes to the sync issue that causes OneDrive duplicate files with computer name added.

Why does OneDrive create duplicate files with a number to the end of the file name?

This may happen if you back up your files from 2 devices to one OneDrive account. When encountering 2 files with the same file name between 2 devices, OneDrive will add a number to the end of the filename distinguish the 2 files. By sorting your OneDrive files by name, you can easily identify and delete such duplicate files.

Other causes of OneDrive duplicate files

Duplicate files in OneDrive appear for a variety of reasons. In addition to the above two reasons, the following situations may also cause duplicates:

  • You may rename a file on your device that has already uploaded to OneDrive. Then OneDrive will recognize it as a new file and upload it again.
  • If you upload the same file to different folders, OneDrive also won’t detect it as duplicates.
  • OneDrive catching data and connection errors may also result in duplicate files.

 

Conclusion

The OneDrive duplicate files issue is not uncommon. Different situations require different solutions. For some cases, you can remove OneDrive duplicate files by clearing credentials or resetting. If that doesn't work, then the automatic and manual methods in this article may help.

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Sarah Miller
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With a passion for tech and writing, Sarah joined Cisdem, where she focuses on creating articles about using utility tools to enhance file management and simplify contact management.

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Comments (2) Leave a Reply

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  • John Stuart Smith

    I have spent a lot of time trying to find a way to get rid of all duplicate files in OneDrive. This post helped me.

    2 days ago commonReply

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  • Ernst Bernard

    I had so many files in one drive. Luckily, this app helped me cleared out almost 40 GBs. The auto select feature really make the process more efficient.

    1 years ago commonReply

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