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.
Knowing these facts helps you understand why there are duplicate files in your OneDrive and how to effectively deal with them.
Why does OneDrive create duplicate files?
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.
Below are the common fixes to the sync issue that causes OneDrive duplicate files with computer name added.
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.
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.
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, external hard drive, USB flash drive, OneDrive 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.
3. From File Explorer, drag one or multiple specific folders in OneDrive (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 all duplicates for you to delete with at once. Or, if you want, you can choose a selection rule or select by hand.
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 . 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.
4. On the next All your files, ready and on-demand screen, you’ll see 3 sync status of OneDrive files. Click Next.
8. Click Open my OneDrive folder, which will open the main OneDrive folder in File Explorer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. To view duplicate photos only, go to the Image 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.
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.
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.
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 the OneDrive app. Once the OneDrive file has successfully downloaded, you'll see a green tick icon next to the folder.
If your OneDrive only has a small number of files, then it’s possible to find duplicate files by hand.
Usually, duplicate files have the same file size. OneDrive allows you to sort files by file size so you can easily identify duplicate files.
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.
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.
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.
OneDrive backup creating duplicates with "copy" added to filename. And sometimes, when you use the same OneDrive account on more than one device and import the same file while offline, OneDrive doesn't recognize these duplicates and will upload them with the device name added to the filename. Therefore, we 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.
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.
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.