OneDrive is a platform offered by Microsoft that provides cloud storage. It is one of the most widely used services worldwide. Onedrive is free up to a certain amount of storage space, with additional storage available for purchase. However, over time, you may find that you have reached the maximum storage capacity, and paying for more storage space is not always an option. In this blog, we will be discussing ways to free up space on OneDrive without deleting files.

Video Tutorial:

What’s Needed?

1. OneDrive account.
2. Internet Connection.
3. Computer.

What should I pay attention to?

Before you begin freeing up space on OneDrive, you must ensure to have a backup of all the important files. Always ensure to store them in a separate location or have a copy of them available, should anything go wrong during the process. Also, make sure to check if your OneDrive settings are configured correctly.

Methods to Free Up Space on OneDrive

Method 1: Files on Demand

Files on Demand allows you to see all your content in OneDrive, without taking up space on your device. When you open an online-only file, it automatically downloads to enable you to work with it offline. Here’s how it works:

1. Open OneDrive Folder.

2. Right-click on the file or folder you want to free up space for.

3. Select “Free up space” from the drop-down menu. This will move the file or folder to online-only mode, thus freeing up space on your device.

4. You can still access the file or folder, but it will require internet connectivity.

Method 2: Unsync folders or files

You can unsync specific files or folders and choose to access them only through the OneDrive website. This can free up significant space in your PC or laptop. Here’s how to do it:

1. Open the OneDrive Folder on your computer.

2. Right-click the file or folder that you want to stop syncing.

3. Select “Free Up Space” from the drop-down menu.

4. This file or folder will now be unsynced, deleting it from your computer but still keeping it safe in OneDrive.

Method 3: Clear OneDrive Cache

OneDrive cache can take up a lot of space, especially if you use the service heavily. Clearing the cache can help in freeing up space on your device, and it can also resolve synchronization issues. Here is how to clear the cache:

1. Right-click on the OneDrive icon in your notification area.

2. Click on “Help & settings” and select “Settings.”

3. Click on the “Account” tab.

4. Click on “Unlink OneDrive.”

5. Sign back in, and the OneDrive cache will be cleared.

Method 4: Delete duplicates and junk files

Duplicates and junk files can take up hundreds of megabytes on your OneDrive account, and they are usually not essential. Instead of manually going through all the files, you can use tools that will automatically identify these files and help you delete them. Here’s how you can do it:

1. Sign in to your OneDrive account on the website.

2. From the left pane, select “Files.”

3. Click on “Options” and choose “Sort by”.

4. Select “Size” so that you can view the largest files at the top.

5. Delete duplicates and junk files.

Why can’t I free up space on OneDrive?

Some of the reasons why you may not be able to free up space on OneDrive include:

1. You may have reached the maximum storage limit on your OneDrive account.

2. You may have files that are locked or are syncing.

3. You may have files that others have shared with you that you don’t have permission to delete.


It is essential to enable Files on Demand and review important files regularly. Ensure also to have a backup of all the files before you proceed. Additionally, use tools such as OneDrive Cleanup and Disk Cleanup to help you clear cache, delete duplicates and quickly identify files that may be taking up too much space.


Q. How can I turn on Files on Demand in OneDrive for Business?

A. To turn on Files on Demand in OneDrive for Business, you’ll need to:
1. Right-click on the OneDrive icon in your notification area.
2. Select “Settings.”
3. Click on the “Settings” tab.
4. Select “Save space and download files as you use them” and then click on “OK.”

Q. How can I delete files or folders that are locked or syncing on OneDrive?

A. If you have files or folders that are locked or syncing in OneDrive, here’s what you need to do:
1. Try stopping the sync and waiting for a few minutes before starting it again.
2. Quit OneDrive app on your device and then reopen it.
3. Try renaming the files/folders and then deleting them.

Q. What happens to files marked as online-only when I am not connected to the internet?

A. When you are not connected to the internet, files marked as online-only cannot be accessed or modified. You’ll need to reconnect to the internet to be able to use them.

Q. How often should I clear OneDrive Cache?

A. The frequency at which you clear OneDrive cache should depend on how often you use the service. If you use OneDrive a lot, consider clearing the cache at least once every quarter.

Q. Can I stop syncing files and folders across devices between OneDrive and SharePoint?

A. Yes, but you’ll need to sign in to the OneDrive or SharePoint website and then select “Stop syncing” from the context menu of the file or folder. You can re-sync it by choosing “Sync” again from the same menu.


OneDrive is a fantastic platform to store and access files from anywhere, provided you have enough space. By using the methods discussed in this blog, you’ll be able to free up significant space on your OneDrive account without deleting your essential files. It is essential to review your files regularly, enable Files on Demand and back up your essential files before you proceed.

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