Stop OneDrive from Syncing Windows Desktop Shortcuts in a Few Steps

How to Stop OneDrive From Syncing Windows Desktop Shortcuts
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When using OneDrive on both Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, you may notice broken desktop icons on some of your devices. This happens because OneDrive automatically syncs your desktop files to its cloud storage, causing issues with shortcuts. To resolve this, you can make OneDrive stop syncing your Desktop folder while still keeping other folders, like Documents and Downloads, synced.

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How to Stop OneDrive From Syncing Windows Desktop Shortcuts

To do this, follow these steps:

  • Click on the cloud-shaped OneDrive icon in your notification area.
  • Click the gear icon at the top-right corner and select “Settings.”
  • In the OneDrive Settings window, click “Manage Backup” to control which folders are backed up.
  • Disable the “Desktop” option by clicking the switch next to it, then confirm by clicking “Stop Backup” and “Close.”
  • Keep in mind that any files you place on your Desktop won’t sync with OneDrive after disabling this option. If you want them backed up and synced across your PCs, move them to another synced folder.

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Making OneDrive Desktop Icon Sync Less Annoying

If you prefer not to disable Desktop sync entirely, you have alternative options to manage the annoyance of broken desktop icons:

1. Hide Your Desktop Icons:

You can hide desktop icons to avoid constantly seeing the broken shortcuts on your desktop.

To do this, right-click on the desktop, go to View, and toggle “Show Desktop Icons” on or off.

2. Move Shortcuts to the Public Desktop Folder:

OneDrive syncs everything in your Windows user account’s Desktop folder.

However, Windows also shows shortcuts from the “Public” user account’s desktop folder, which is not synced.

You can move shortcuts you don’t want to sync to this folder.

To move the shortcuts, follow these steps:

  • 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 that you may need to repeat this process when new shortcut files are created by installing Windows applications in the future.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage OneDrive’s desktop icon sync behaviour on your Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs, either by stopping the sync entirely or by using alternative methods to reduce the annoyance of broken shortcuts.


In conclusion, OneDrive’s automatic desktop file syncing between Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs can sometimes lead to broken desktop icons on certain devices. However, there are effective ways to manage this issue.

To stop OneDrive from syncing desktop shortcuts, you can simply disable the sync for the Desktop folder while keeping other folders synced. This prevents broken icons from appearing on your desktop.

Alternatively, if you want to retain desktop sync but minimize the annoyance of broken icons, you can hide desktop icons or move the shortcuts you don’t want to sync to the “Public” desktop folder, which won’t be synced by OneDrive.

By following these steps, you can easily control OneDrive’s behavior regarding desktop icon syncing, ensuring a more streamlined and organized experience on your Windows PCs.