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Delete files or folders in OneDrive

You can delete specific files or photos on Microsoft OneDrive, or you can delete entire folders and all the items in them. If you need to, you might be able to restore deleted files from the OneDrive recycle bin.

  1. On your taskbar, select File Explorer The File Explorer icon..

  2. Select your OneDrive folder, select the items you want to delete, and press the Delete key on your keyboard.

  1. Open a Mac Finder window.

  2. Navigate to the correct OneDrive folder, and select the item or items you want to delete.

  3. Right-click the item or items, then select Move to Trash. You can also drag and drop the item or items from the folder to your Trash.
    Right-click menu selection for deleting a file from OneDrive in Mac Finder

  1. Go to the OneDrive website. You might need to sign in with your Microsoft account, or your work or school account.

  2. Select the files or folders you want to delete by pointing to each item and clicking the circle check box that appears. 

    Note: The left image below shows items in List view, the right image shows items in Tiles or Photos view.

      Screenshot of selecting a file in OneDrive in tile view

  3. To select all files in a folder, click the circle to the left of the header row, or press CTRL + A on your keyboard. (You can also select several files at once by selecting one file, scrolling down the list, then hold down the Shift key while left-clicking the last item you want to select.) 

  4. On the bar at the top of the page, select Delete. (You can also right-click the selected file or folder and select Delete.)

    Note: If you do not see the Delete icon in the top navigation bar, or when you right-click a selected item, you may not have permission to delete that file or folder.

  5. To delete a folder, rather than just its contents, you may need to go up or back a level to select the whole folder.

    Selecting a OneDrive folder

    Selecting a OneDrive folder


    • A personal OneDrive folder does not need to be empty before you delete it. However, you may want to check beforehand that there are no files or sub-folders within it that you want to keep.

    • With OneDrive for work or school accounts, a folder must be empty before you can delete it, if your admin has enabled retention in  OneDrive for work or school accounts.  

Items cannot be deleted from within your Recent list, only removed.

Note: These instructions apply only if you are signed in with a Microsoft account (OneDrive for home). They don't apply to OneDrive for work or school.

  • To remove items from your Recent view, select the files or folders you want to remove by pointing to each item and clicking the circle check box that appears. On the bar at the top of the page, select Remove.

  • To delete an item in your Recent list, go to the folder in which the item is located. To find the folder, look at the item's Details to see the exact Path.

Open the Shared view, and select the files or folders you want to remove by pointing to each item and clicking the circle check box that appears.

To remove an item shared by other users, select the item, then select Remove from shared list on the bar at the top of the page.

To remove an item from Shared by me, select the item, select Information Information in the upper-right corner to open the Details pane, and then select Manage Access.

  • For files shared with a link, select Anyone with this link... and then select Remove Link.

  • For files shared with other people, select Can Edit or Can View under their name and then select Stop Sharing.


Delete from your OneDrive but not your computer

If you want to keep a file, photo, or folder on your computer, but not on OneDrive, use File Explorer or Mac Finder to move the file outside your OneDrive folder to a different folder on your computer.

Delete from your computer but not your OneDrive

If you want to keep a file, photo, or folder on your OneDrive, but not on your computer (because you don’t want it to take up space), put the file in your OneDrive folder, then turn on Files On-Demand (Windows) or Files On-Demand (Mac). You’ll still see the file in the OneDrive folder on your computer, but it will take up zero hard drive space.

You can also Choose which OneDrive folders to sync to your computer so that you only see certain folders on your computer.

Delete from both your OneDrive and your computer

If the file or folder in in your OneDrive, use File Explorer or Mac Finder to find and delete the file, photo, or folder.

Note: When lots of files are deleted all at once, OneDrive will prompt to confirm if it was intentional.

Your deleted files and folders go to the OneDrive recycle bin from which you can restore files if you need to.

First, select Recycle bin in the OneDrive left side navigation.

A screenshot showing the Recycle Bin tab in

  • To permanently delete specific files or folders from the recycle bin, select those items, then select Delete in the top navigation.

  • To permanently delete the entire recycle bin at once, select Empty recycle bin in the top navigation.

Note: Once you delete files from the OneDrive recycle bin, there may be a short delay in seeing that reflected in your OneDrive account's storage availability.

See Also

Restore deleted files or folders in OneDrive

Restore a previous version of a file stored in OneDrive

Restore your OneDrive

Choose which OneDrive folders to sync to your computer

Need more help?

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For help with your Microsoft account and subscriptions, visit Account & Billing Help.

For technical support, go to Contact Microsoft Support, enter your problem and select Get Help. If you still need help, select Contact Support to be routed to the best support option.

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Admins should view Help for OneDrive Admins, the OneDrive Tech Community or contact Microsoft 365 for business support.

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