OneDrive troubleshooting on Windows 8.1

I had a serious problems with OneDrive on Windows 8.1. I wasn't able to access my folder or OneDrive settings (to at least login to OneDrive account and start syncing). I wasn't evan able to start OneDrive or see its icon in file explorer. Ultimately, I gave up and "resolved" my problem by upgrading system to Windows 10. However, you may use this article as a kind of checklist to see, if you have checked everything, when resolving your problems with OneDrive under Windows 8.1.

I have installed Windows 8.1 on my wife's computer in June 2014 and I did something (after 1,5 year I simply don't remember what) to completely rip here OneDrive off the Windows. She was using her PC and Windows 8.1 for one year and a half without any problems and without need to use OneDrive, as we were using Dropbox for years. Now, a time has come to say bye-bye to Dropbox and start using OneDrive. And then, it turned out, that... there is no OneDrive at all!

Note, that there are general, many and strange problems with OneDrive on Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 only, as on these systems it runs as pure background service, accessible only via OneDrive folder in File Explorer and through Control Panel. On Windows Vista and 7 and back again in Windows 10, OneDrive runs as standard background program and is accessible via its taskbar icon, just as Dropbox and many similar services are. This assumption was my key point, when I decide, that I will resolve all my problems with OneDrive by upgrading Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.

But, supposing, that this is not an option in your case, here is a list of things, you may consider to look after, when troubleshooting your OneDrive:

  1. Download and installation of OneDrive client is not an option, because OneDrive is (should be in my case) integrated into Windows 8.1. Installer starts and ends without any message or error.
  2. For sure, I haven't disabled OneDrive using registry editor (copy of this article), because I can't find any occurence of DisableFileSync flag, anywhere within my registry.

  3. Running SkyDrive from command-line with or without parameters brings absolutely no effect.

  4. I have Windows 8.1 Home Edition, Polish, up to date (with all Windows Update updates installed). My wife has been using local account for 1,5 year. I have switched it to Microsoft account today, but this also brought no effect.

  5. Any regular OneDrive troubleshooting guides or FAQs (like this one, this, this one or maybe this) is not an option for me, because it starts with "Right-click the OneDrive icon..." and I don't have a OneDrive icon anywhere within my Windows 8.1 (not in task bar and not in file explorer).

  6. Running OneDrive Troubleshooter ends with error, that OneDrive folder is not accessible.

  7. Searching for OneDrive icon in classic shell and executing it ends up with empty, white screen (named "OneDrive") and never-ending loader bar moving in the top. I can access OneDrive settings from Control Panel, but can't access OneDrive files / folder itself.

  8. As above, searching for OneDrive icon in classic shell, right-clicking it, pinning it to task bar and then trying to execute it from there ends up c:\Windows\FileManager\FileManager.exe's runtime error "The application has requested Runtime to terminate in an unusual way".

  9. Because of point (6) above, I've tried to use guides like this one, this or this one to recreate (or check) OneDrive default folder on my PC or to force-rune OneDrive client from it. It brought no effect, again.

  10. I have assured, that I have folders C:\Users\[username]\SkyDrive and C:\Users\[username]\OneDrive as well as %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\ folder. In my case, rolders C:\Users\[username]\SkyDrive and C:\Users\[username]\OneDrive are empty. Folder %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\ has a number of files and sub-folders, all with date set to today, about three hours ago, thus they all should be up-to-date (newest version of OneDrive?).

  11. Running OneDrive.exe directly from %localappdata%\Microsoft\OneDrive\, by any mean (Start > Run, Pin to Task bar, command-line, Send to Desktop) brings no effect (no window, no error, no icon in task bar or in file explorer).

  12. Restoring Windows to some restore point is not an option for me, because -- as I wrote in the introduction -- many things suggests, that I ripped off OneDrive from my wife's computer about 1,5 year ago. Right after Windows 8.1 installation.

It seems for me, that I have checked everything, I can think of, and still ended up with nothing. If you went through above list and also ended with nothing, then accept my sincere apologies, as it seems, that refreshing or reinstalling your Windows 8.1 or upgrading it to Windows 10 are the only options, that are left for you.

This article is an enhanced version of this Super User question and answers.

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