Although Microsoft OneDrive Sync and Teams technically allows this functionality, we strongly recommend against using it. It almost inevitably results in major problems like version conflicts, local hard drives filling up (which will stop all syncing), and in some circumstances data loss.
In most cases, if things go wrong, there are few solutions we can take beyond general troubleshooting, such as restarting your computer, removing/re-adding the synced folder, re-imaging your computer, or re-creating/replacing all the error-synced files outright.
The bright side is that there are alternative workflows we can suggest. In many cases, these alternatives will more than make up for the extra step or two involved since they won’t be as prone to syncing errors.
However, if OneDrive Sync is enabled for your organization, you understand and accept the risks, and you'd still like to try it out, below is how to sync and how to stop sync.
Sync Teams files
Please note that you must be signed into the OneDrive Sync app, which is a blue cloud icon that shows up in the bottom right task tray on your screen.
- In Teams, navigate to the file library you want to sync, then click Sync.
- You'll see a notification that it's getting ready to sync, and you'll see another brief notification when it's done syncing. Once it's done syncing, it should eventually show up in File Explorer.
It's important to note two items here:
- You will not find the Team-synced folder in your OneDrive folder in File Explorer. Instead, you'll find it in the folder that has the small office building icon. Each Team file library you sync will appear within this folder.
- In the example above, you can click into the "CTDTeamsGuestTest - General" folder and then you will find the folder and files within that Teams file library.
Stop syncing Teams files
If you're running into storage or other issues, or if you simply no longer need a Teams file library synced, follow these steps.
- Click the OneDrive icon in your task tray at the bottom right of your screen, then click the Gear icon, and then click Settings.
- A new window will open. In the Account tab, find the file library you want to stop syncing, then click the Stop sync option to the right of it. It will now no longer show up in File Explorer.
- Please note that while the sync is now stopped for that folder, a local copy of the folder still exists. You will need to manually delete the local copy of the folder to free up storage space on your computer. When you navigate to the folder in File Explorer, you will see a Sync status column. The blue cloud icon indicates that a folder is syncing.
"Sorry, we can't sync this folder" error
So you went to click the Sync button in a Teams library that you wanted to sync...
... but then you encountered the "Sorry, we can't sync this folder" error:
That means you may have added a shortcut in your OneDrive to a folder within that library already. At this point, you may be wondering how you did that and how to fix it. We'll de-mystify that for you. 😎
Part 1: How did add a shortcut to my OneDrive?
There are two common ways to do this, either through opening a Teams file library in SharePoint, or by opening a Teams file library in OneDrive, then subsequently adding a shortcut to your OneDrive.
Shortcut created via SharePoint
Some people choose to open a Teams file library in SharePoint by clicking Open in SharePoint:
Doing so opens a new browser window. You may have navigated to a subfolder of that library, then clicked to Add shortcut to OneDrive in one of three ways, highlighted in the image below:
1) Right-click on a folder and select Add shortcut to OneDrive, 2) Click Add shortcut to OneDrive at the top, 3) Click the Add shortcut to OneDrive folder, which looks like a folder with a chain link on it.
Shortcut created via OneDrive
Some people choose to navigate to a Teams file library in OneDrive through the Quick access menu on the left side bar. Just like in the SharePoint interface, there are the same three ways to "Add a shortcut to OneDrive" or "Add shortcut to My files".
Part 2: How do I find the shortcut?
It's easiest to locate the folder shortcut in the OneDrive website interface.
- Open a web browser and navigate to office.com. Sign in with your work email address and password.
- Navigate to the OneDrive app in office.com. You may need to click the apps menu at the top left.
- Navigate to My files on the left side bar. What we are looking for is a folder icon with a blue chain link on it. That indicates that it is a "folder shortcut".
- In the example below, we can see that the folder titled "Subfolder A" is a shortcut to a folder that is located in "CTDTeamsGuestTuest" (the name of the Team where that folder lives).
Part 3: How do I remove the folder shortcut?
Once you've found the shortcut you want to remove, simply right-click on it and select Remove.
Once you removed all OneDrive folder shortcuts to the Team file library you originally wanted to sync, go ahead and try to sync the regular way again.