OneDrive syncs desktop icons: How to avoid this behavior

After installing Windows 10 or Windows 11, the icon of OneDrive always appears in the application bar, in the area of traybar. We know how much the Redmond company urges users to use a Microsoft account. Thus, since the first access to the desktop of Windows, all the contents of the system folders are automatically copied to the cloud servers of the Redmond company.

The same object files as backup with OneDrive, they are then synchronized with all the devices of the same user. In other words, if you sign in to another PC with the same Microsoft account, the files copied to the cloud from OneDrive they are still available and accessible. Folder OneDrive accessible from File Explorer (left column) by pressing the key combination Windows+Ehelps keep track of files contained in the backup. The OneDrive icons shown in thewindows interface indicate whether each file is only available on the cloud, whether it is available on your local device, and whether it is syncing.

OneDrive also restores Desktop icons on other systems

By default, OneDrive backs up your folders Destkop, Documents e Images so that their contents are also available on the user’s other devices. To check it, just click once on theOneDrive icon in the traybar (the area next to the system clock), click on the gear symbol, on Settings so on Manage your backup.

OneDrive, backup and sync

Carry out the backup del Desktop it makes sense because the Desktop is the area of ​​the system where many users usually save, more or less temporarily, personal files, folders and memos. We also wondered if so many icons on the Desktop can slow down the PC or not.

There is, however, a fundamental problem. The Desktop in Windows in fact, it contains many links to the applications installed on the system. This is a large number of files with the extension .lnk which point to executable files and to various local or network folders. OneDrive automatically backs up these items as well.

The result is that the backup copy stored on Microsoft’s cloud servers also contains the list of links on the Desktop of each user’s machine. Such files come synchronized on all devices with obvious consequences: restoring connections from another system causes the appearance on the Desktop of “broken connections” referring to non-existent resources on the local system.

The obvious solution is to access the OneDrive settingsas seen above, and turn off the “switch” next to Desktop. In this way OneDrive refrains from creating cloud backup copies of the entire contents of the Desktop. The operation must obviously be repeated on all Windows machines.

Create a OneDrive Desktop backup, excluding shortcuts

We said earlier that the Windows Desktop often hosts important information for each user configured on the machine. Exclude backup of the Desktop from OneDrive can therefore prove to be penalizing.

Come avoid that OneDrive does the link backups present on the Windows Desktop? Waiting for Microsoft to add a special box to the OneDrive interface to request file exclusion .lnkyou can apply a simple trick.

The Microsoft cloud backup solution avoids creating a copy of the contents of the Public folder. This system directory is intended to allow the file sharing and resources between computer or local network users. It is a preconfigured share folder that is accessible by most user accounts on the same system. It is in the path C:\Users\Public and it can be used, in fact, to share documents, images and multimedia files.

How to move shortcuts from Desktop to another folder while keeping them always accessible

Moving in the Public folder the links present on the Desktop, these are no longer taken into account by OneDrive and will no longer be erroneously restored on other Windows machines. To do this, you can type cmd in the Windows search box then choose Run as administrator.

At this point, by issuing the following commands, all the links saved in the local user’s Desktop system folder are copied to C:\Users\Public:

move %userprofile%\OneDrive\Desktop\*.lnk c:\Users\Public\Desktop
move %userprofile%\OneDrive\Desktop\*.url c:\Users\Public\Desktop

Other user accounts that may be configured on the same machine will see the shortcuts appear on their desktops. However, OneDrive will no longer take them into consideration and they will no longer appear in the backup archive shared between the various PCs of the same user.

The opening image is taken from iStockphoto and has been acquired under license.

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