Stop OneDrive from Syncing Windows Desktop Shortcuts in a Few Steps

OneDrive, a popular cloud storage service, offers seamless syncing of files across Windows devices. However, users may encounter issues with broken desktop icons due to automatic syncing. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to stop OneDrive from syncing desktop shortcuts and offers alternative solutions to manage this annoyance.

How to Stop OneDrive From Syncing Windows Desktop Shortcuts:

  1. Click on the cloud-shaped OneDrive icon in your notification area.
  2. Click the gear icon at the top-right corner and select “Settings.”
  3. In the OneDrive Settings window, click “Manage Backup” to control which folders are backed up.
  4. Disable the “Desktop” option by clicking the switch next to it, then confirm by clicking “Stop Backup” and “Close.”

Note: Files on your Desktop won’t sync with OneDrive after disabling this option. If you want them backed up and synced, consider moving them to another synced folder.

Making OneDrive Desktop Icon Sync Less Annoying:

  1. Hide Your Desktop Icons:
    • Right-click on the desktop, go to View, and toggle “Show Desktop Icons” on or off.
  2. Move Shortcuts to the Public Desktop Folder:
    • Open a Terminal or Command Prompt window as Administrator.
    • Change the working directory to your OneDrive Desktop folder with the command cd OneDrive\Desktop.
    • Move all shortcut (.lnk) files to the Public desktop folder with the command move *.lnk c:\Users\Public\Desktop.
    • If you have web shortcut (.url) files, move them to the Public desktop folder with the command move *.url c:\Users\Public\Desktop.
    • Note: You may need to repeat this process when new shortcut files are created by installing Windows applications in the future.


In summary, while OneDrive’s automatic desktop file syncing can sometimes lead to broken icons on Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, there are effective ways to manage this issue. By following the provided steps, users can either disable the sync entirely or use alternative methods to reduce the annoyance of broken shortcuts. This ensures a smoother experience when using OneDrive across multiple devices.

Leave a Comment