How to fix problems with OneDrive folder protection on Windows 10

Microsoft recommends these troubleshooting steps to fix problems trying to sync Documents, Pictures, and Desktop folders to OneDrive.

Fixing problems with OneDrive folder protection feature
Fixing problems with OneDrive folder protection feature

On Windows 10, OneDrive users can now sync their Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders and their content to the cloud service to make sure those files are protected against hardware failure and malware.

Although the new feature is useful and straightforward to configure, users can run into a number of errors and problems because there are a few limitations and known issues.

In this guide, you’ll learn the problems you may encounter using OneDrive folder protection and the steps to resolve them according to Microsoft.

How to fix problems using folder protection in OneDrive

The following list includes errors that you may encounter during the set up and what you can do to fix them:

Folder protection is unavailable

Usually, you’ll get the “Folder protection is unavailable” error because your computer may be part of a domain, in which case you cannot protect the files using OneDrive.

To resolve this issue, contact your network administrator to use another solution to backup your files in known folders.

Folder is on a different volume

You’re likely to run into the “folder is on a different volume” error, for example, if OneDrive is configured on the D: drive, and your Documents folder is located in the C: drive.

It’s not possible to protect known folders using this scenario. The only way to resolve this issue is to reconfigure OneDrive in the same drive where the known folders you’re trying to protected are located.

Right-click the cloud icon in the taskbar, click Settings, and click the Unlink this PC option. After unlinking, sign in again and choose the root folder location to be on the same volume as the folder you want to sync.

Important folders aren’t in the default locations

This error indicates that the folder with the error includes another known folder (Documents, Desktop, Pictures, Screenshots, Camera Roll, OneDrive), and they can’t be protected until the contained folder is removed to its original location.

Folder contains a reparse point

If you get a message of a folder containing a reparse point, it means that the folder you want to protect contains a special file type that links parts of the file system together.

In this case the items can’t be protected. You can quickly resolve this issue by removing the file causing the issue.

Folder isn’t selected for syncing

If the selected folder isn’t syncing, right-click the cloud icon in the taskbar, and click Settings. Click the Choose Folders option, and then make sure the folder you want to protect is selected.

If Pictures folder is the one with the error, make sure that Pictures, Screenshots, and Camera Roll are all selected (or don’t exist). Also, it’s possible that the OneDrive folder has a different name from the Windows important folder.

File type can’t be protected

OneNote files (.one, .onepkg, .onetoc, .onetoc2) as well as Outlook database files (.pst) that aren’t already in OneDrive won’t sync automatically.

To resolve this problem, move a OneNote notebook to OneDrive, or remove these files from the folder you’re trying to upload to the service.

File exceeds the maximum file size

OneDrive only accepts files up to 20GB, anything over this size won’t sync. Unfortunately, you’ll need to remove these files on the folders that you want to protect to stop getting the error.

File exceeds the maximum path length

If you get the message of a file exceeding the path length, make sure the path and file name together are less than 520 characters on Windows 10.

In the case the length is more than the supported, then try to shorten the file name and move the folder containing the file closer to the root folder.

File name isn’t allowed

File you upload to OneDrive cannot start with a space or including certain special characters, such as \ : / * ? < > ” |. To avoid problems, rename the files in question.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].