How to turn off folder redirect in Microsoft OneDrive on macOS


Graduating/Leaving Bowdoin:

  • How do I turn off OneDrive folder backup on my Mac and download my OneDrive contents to my laptop?
  • How do I disable syncing of my Desktop and/or Documents folders OneDrive? 
  • How do I download files from my OneDrive to my Desktop?


OneDrive Files On-Demand, OneDrive Backup, and OneDrive Sync helps you access all the files in your cloud storage in OneDrive without having to download them all and use storage space on your computer. 

Files On-Demand is always enabled unless otherwise changed. When Files On-Demand is on, you'll still see all your files as online-only files in the OneDrive app and online but they won't take up space.

Desktop & Documents Backup stores your desktop and documents folder contents exclusively in OneDrive and no longer on your computer.

OneDrive Sync makes sure there is a synced copy of the contents of your OneDrive folder on your computer to your OneDrive online.



When you leave Bowdoin, you will lose access to your OneDrive contents. To ensure that you have everything that you expect, you will need to download all of the cloud-stored contents and then disable Desktop & Documents OneDrive backup. The following steps will walk you through this process

  1. Click on the OneDrive cloud icon located in your Menu bar across the top of the screen  Click the gear-wheel in the right-hand corner, labeled "Help & Settings", to open the menu, then click Preferences.  
  2. In the "Preferences" tab, under the “Files on Demand (Advanced)” section, click on Download All OneDrive Files now
    • If you do not have enough space to store the files on your Mac, you will need to move files to another location or online storage to make room.
  3. When your OneDrive finder menu icon says "complete" or "all your files are synced", then go back in the OneDrive preferences tab, click the blue folder icon Backup tab and click on Manage Backup.
  4. It will take you to a new tab, "Manage Folder Backup". Turn off Desktop and Documents backup by clicking Stop Backup, and confirm your request for each folder shown. It will warn you about files staying in the cloud, however, you have already downloaded them.    
  5. Do Not Sign Out of One drive yet.
  6. Now you can Ctrl+Click on your desktop and create folder called Bowdoin Files.  Move the files and folders from inside the OneDrive folder on your computer out to the newly created Bowdoin Files folder, by dragging the contents over to it.  (See step 7 for further information on why this step is so important)
  7. When you sign out of One drive (or when your Bowdoin account is deactivated after graduation), you will no longer have access to any files and folders within the OneDrive folder on your computer, including the "Desktop & Documents" folders inside that folder. This is a Microsoft security mechanism that can not be changed.
  8. Once the move is complete, you can now sign out of One drive to stop using the sync service.
  9. We highly recommend signing up with another service such as DropBox, OneDrive for personal use, or iCloud storage to ensure that your data continues to be backed up in the future.

If you need further assistance, please contact the Bowdoin College Service Desk



Article ID: 156307
Wed 6/21/23 12:32 PM
Tue 8/15/23 8:27 AM
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