Does Unlinking OneDrive Delete Files? OneDrive Files Missing, Why?

Does unlinking OneDrive delete files? If not, then why are OneDrive files missing? Check our post to find answers and recover lost OneDrive files easily.


By Lora / Updated on April 3, 2024

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“Will I lose my files if I cancel OneDrive?”

Windows users, especially Microsoft 365 users, will be happy to use OneDrive to keep/sync/share their files online or locally.

But since it only offers 5 GB of free storage space if you don’t subscribe, many users choose to stop OneDrive.

And accidents may come out silently. A group of users finds their files missing from OneDrive after unlinking/disabling OneDrive. Some even reported that “OneDrive deleted all my files”.

Thus, they were wondering – does unlinking OneDrive delete files?


Will my files get deleted if I unlink OneDrive?


All my normal files were thrown in the trash folder and replaced with ones with a green checkmark, will my stuff get deleted if I unlink OneDrive?


- Question from Microsoft Community


Do you feel confused as well? This article will give detailed answers and explanations of why your files get lost and how to get them back.

Firstly, let’s figure out what happens when unlinking your account.

What happens when you unlink a OneDrive account?

Does unlinking OneDrive delete files? In terms of “unlinking”, we are talking about unlinking/dissociating the OneDrive app from your PC.

In fact, unlinking WILL NOT affect your OneDrive account at all. It is similar to signing out from an app, and all the info is still kept in the account.

Results of unlinking

  • After unlinking OneDrive from your using PC, the local files on this device will not be loaded up to your account anymore;
  • Meanwhile, online files (that are only available online) will be removed from your computer. But they are still accessible on the OneDrive website.
  • Whatever changes you make on this machine will also not be synced to OneDrive.


That is to say, all your files previously stored in the OneDrive will STAY on the OneDrive cloud. You can happily access them whenever you want just by signing in to your account on the OneDrive website.

Therefore, for those who have OneDrive files missing from their storage space after unlinking, they could figure out if something else led to this issue.

Then, why did your OneDrive files get disappeared?

Why are OneDrive files missing?

After excluding unlinking, we could find several culprits.

Incorrect account. You may have signed into another account, especially when using multiple Microsoft accounts. 
Shared folder. If others share the files/folders with you, you will lose access to them once the owner removes them. 
Low activity. If you have been away from OneDrive for 2 years, then the files might get removed by OneDrive. 
Moved files. You may have moved the files from a local drive to the OneDrive folder (you thought it was copy & paste), and then they will be only available online. This means they will be removed from your device after unlinking. 
Deletion. Perhaps files are accidentally deleted or deliberately removed by viruses. When detecting threats, you may find Windows automatically deleting files from your drive.

Now, with the question “Does unlinking OneDrive delete files?” solved, we could head towards solutions to help you recover lost files from OneDrive.

How to recover lost OneDrive files?

Several viable solutions are ready to assist you in getting back your missing files. Before trying to recover deleted or lost files, it will be better to check if your files are still available online.

>> Visit > log in to your account > see if you can access your wanted files.

If not, check the following methods.

Method 1. Check if you logged into a wrong account

Multiple accounts’ users may have logged into an incorrect one. If so, maybe your files are in another account.

>> Click the Account Manager button > click Sign in with a different account > log in to other accounts > see if your wanted files are there.

Method 2. Search in to target the lost files

Since now you cannot access your OneDrive desktop version, you can go to and search for the files to see if they were genuinely lost.

>> Log in > input the filename/extension of the files if you can still recall. Also, you could filter the searched files by Type/Date.


Method 3. See if the owner removed the shared files/folders

Shared files and folders are only available with the permission of the owner. Once they remove you from the folder/delete the shared folder, the folder will be inaccessible to you.

>> Contact the owner to see if they can add you or share the files with you again.

Method 4. Look into the recycle bin on the website

Deletion can be the biggest reason for data loss. Though it might not be removed by you. A bunch of Dropbox users has complained about Dropbox deleting files automatically.

Similarly, if you have logged into your OneDrive account on multiple devices without signing out when leaving, your files might get removed by others.

If so, you could manually restore deleted OneDrive files from the recycle bin.

The trash bin can help restore removed OneDrive files in 30 days.

Step 1. Visit the OneDrive website > sign in > click the menu button > Recycle bin.


Step 2. Choose the removed files > click Restore.


It is also feasible to recover a deleted folder in OneDrive from this trash bin.

Method 5. Recover lost OneDrive files after permanent deletion

As is known, the files are only available in OneDrive to recycle bin within 30 days. If you cannot find your target files in the bin, your files might have been permanently deleted.

Since it is difficult for ordinary users to get permanently removed OneDrive files back, it will be easier for users to choose an efficient Windows data recovery app to help them.

MyRecover, equipped with advanced scanning techs and features, is trustworthy in data recovery.

MyRecover - recover OneDrive files easily
  • Apply to several situations: deletion, formatting, recycle bin emptying, virus, etc.
  • Support data recovery from internal and external HDD/SSD/SD card/USB.
  • Select deleted and missing files to restore in 3 steps.
  • Keep the original filename/format/directory when recovering the deleted files.
  • Support Windows 11/10/8/7/Server.
Download SoftwareWin 11/10/8/7/Server
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Step 1. Install and run MyRecover > Hover the mouse over the drive saved deleted files before, and click Scan.


Step 2. Search and sort the files by Date modified, Type, Size, Path, etc.


Step 3. Go to Deleted files > head over to the OneDrive folder > select files you need > click Recover x files.


This way, you can restore deleted/missing OneDrive files. 

Wrap things up

This article answers users' question, “Does unlinking OneDrive delete files?”.

If you noticed OneDrive files missing from the drive after unlinking, there must be other problems. You may have logged in to another account, lost a shared folder, deleted the files accidentally, etc.

Check out this post to fix it and restore lost OneDrive files in a breeze.

Lora · Editor
Lora is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is also a tester and editor of AOMEI Data Recovery Tools. -- "Keep testing, write the most useful tutorials for helping people recover the lost data for Windows and phones" is the most meaningful thing for her. Dedicated to creating helpful tutorials, she hopes her tutorial can assist users to effortlessly solve data loss problems on their personal computers and mobile phones.