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How SharePoint and OneDrive Sync Files Differently

SharePoint and OneDrive are both cloud-based services from Microsoft. This article is split into two sections. Section one will educate you regarding the SharePoint icons mean and section two describes the how the two systems sync differently. Both SharePoint and OneDrive allow you to store, share, and collaborate on files. However, there are some key differences between the two platforms.

What if OneDrive Sync stops working?

If OneDrive stops syncing, your company could lose data. Here is what you need to know so that your employees can identify early on if a problem arises. If you use an IT support company like Cambridge Support, we will be able help you if an error is identified.

OneDrive should always display a blue or white cloud symbol. As shown below.

If these icons do not appear, you could be experiencing syncing problems.

Firstly, it could be that you are not signed into OneDrive. So, you would need to sign in again by selecting the OneDrive App and following the simple steps to sign in again.

Secondly, if that is not the issue, you can check if there is a padlock symbol (shown in chart below) over the OneDrive icon. If you are seeing this is means that there are certain settings that are preventing it from syncing. If you need help with knowing which setting to change, please contact us on 01223 921 000.

Thirdly, if you see a yellow warning triangle, it means your OneDrive storage is nearly full. So we would advise clearing up your files and deleting any unwanted files.

What the SharePoint icons mean

How do SharePoint and OneDrive work?


SharePoint is a team collaboration platform. It’s designed for businesses that need to share files and work on projects together. SharePoint includes various features like document libraries, lists, and workflows that make it easy to organise and manage your content. It also includes a range of features that allow you to communicate with your team and stay up-to-date on projects.

SharePoint operates by storing your files in the cloud. You can access these files from anywhere, on any device. SharePoint also allows you to share files with other people, either within your organization or outside of it.


OneDrive is a personal cloud storage service. It’s targeted and designed for individuals who want to store their files in the cloud and access them from anywhere. It includes features like file synchronisation, version history, and mobile apps that make it easy to stay organised and keep your files safe.

OneDrive works by storing your files in the cloud just like SharePoint. You can also access these files from anywhere, on any device. OneDrive also allows you to share files with other people, but the sharing options are more limited than SharePoint.

How does SharePoint and OneDrive sync your files?

SharePoint and OneDrive use a technology called file synchronisation to keep your files up-to-date on all the devices you have. When you add, change, or delete a file in your SharePoint or OneDrive folder on one device, those changes are automatically synced to your other devices.

Here’s how it works:

  1. When you install the SharePoint or OneDrive app on your device, it creates a local folder on your computer. This folder is called the SharePoint or OneDrive sync folder.
  2. The app then starts syncing your files from the cloud to the SharePoint or OneDrive sync folder on your computer.
  3. Whenever you make a change to a file in the sync folder, the app automatically syncs those changes back to the cloud.
  4. This way, your files are always up-to-date on all of your devices.

However, there are some slight differences in how they sync files, as shown below.

For more information please contact us or phone us on 01223 921000.