OneDrive - What do the Symbols Mean

Modified on Tue, 23 Jan 2024 at 04:39 PM

What do the OneDrive icons mean?

The Microsoft OneDrive icons in desktop notification areas, menu bars, Windows File Explorer and macOS Finder tell you the sync state of the file or folder.

If you don't see any desktop notification or menu bar icons, OneDrive may be hidden, not installed or not running.

Red circle with white cross

OneDrive sync error icon

OneDrive sync error icon

OneDrive for Business sync error icon

A red circle with a white cross means that a file or folder cannot be synced. You'll see this in File Explorer or on the OneDrive notification area icons.

Click the blue or white OneDrive icon in the notification area to learn more about the problem.

For more help, read how to Fix OneDrive sync problems.

Gray OneDrive cloud icon with a line through it

OneDrive not running icon

A grayed-out OneDrive icon with a line through it means you're not signed in, or OneDrive setup hasn't completed. 

Press  Press the Windows key, search for OneDrive and then open the OneDrive desktop app.

Note: If you see the error message "You're already syncing a personal OneDrive on this computer", follow the steps to unlink and relink your account. 

OneDrive paused icon

OneDrive paused icon

OneDrive for Business paused icon


The paused symbol over the OneDrive or OneDrive for work or school icon means your files are not currently syncing.

To resume syncing, select the relevant OneDrive icon in the notification or menu bar area, select More and then Resume syncing.

Learn more about How to Pause and Resume sync in OneDrive.

OneDrive icon with sync pending arrows 

OneDrive sync in progress icon

OneDrive for Business sync in progress icon

OneDrive sync in progress icon

The circular arrows over the OneDrive or OneDrive for work or school notification icons signify that sync is in progress. This includes when you are uploading files, or OneDrive is syncing new files from the cloud to your PC.

Sync icons may also be seen online on

OneDrive will also check for other file or folder changes and may show "Processing changes". If OneDrive shows “Processing changes" for a long time, it could be because you have an online file open, a very large file syncing, a lot of files stuck in a queue. To help resolve these problems, read OneDrive is stuck on “Processing changes".

If you're seeing the sync pending icon in File Explorer, read OneDrive is stuck on "Sync pending".

Red with white bar OneDrive icon

OneDrive account blocked

If you see a red "no entry" style icon over your OneDrive icon, it means your account is blocked.

Learn more about what to do when your OneDrive account is frozen.

Yellow exclamation mark OneDrive icon

OneDrive icon with warning

OneDrive icon with warning

If you see a yellow warning triangle over your OneDrive or OneDrive for work or school icon, it means your account needs attention. Select the icon to see the warning message displayed in the activity center.

Files with this icon won't sync

You may see this icon if you sign in to OneDrive with a work or school account. It means your admin has blocked the sync of certain file types. It's most common to block Outlook data files.

If you also sign in to OneDrive with a personal account, the same restrictions will apply.

Learn how to remove an Outlook .pst data file from OneDrive.

People icon next to a file or folder

OneDrive file shared icon

If you see a "people" icon next to your OneDrive files or folders, this indicates the file or folder has been shared with other people.

Learn more about how to change sharing at Share OneDrive files and folders.

Blue cloud icon

OneDrive online file icon

A blue cloud icon next to your OneDrive files or folders indicates that the file is only available online. Online-only files don’t take up space on your computer.

You can’t open online-only files when your device isn’t connected to the Internet. Learn more about OneDrive Files On-Demand

Green tick icons

OneDrive locally available file

When you open an online-only file, it downloads to your device and becomes a locally available file. You can open a locally available file anytime, even without Internet access. 

If you need more space, you can change the file back to online only. Just right-click the file and select “Free up space.” 

Learn more about OneDrive Files On-Demand

Solid green circle with the white check mark

OneDrive always available file icon

Files that you mark as "Always keep on this device" have the green circle with the white check mark.

These always available files download to your device and take up space, but they’re always there for you even when you’re offline.

Learn more about OneDrive Files On-Demand

Gray X on desktop icons

Gray X icon overlay

This is not a OneDrive icon, but a corrupted Windows shortcut icon. If you see a gray X over your Windows Desktop shortcuts, try these tips:

  • Right-click on your Desktop and select Refresh.

  • Uninstall any backup applications that are not longer used. Restart your computer after each uninstallation.

Padlock icon

OneDrive file locked icon

OneDrive will show a padlock icon next to the sync status if the file or folder has settings which prevent it from syncing.

Learn more about restrictions and limitations when you sync files and folders.

Why do I have two OneDrive icons?

Blue and white OneDrive icons

If you have signed in to the OneDrive sync app with both work or school and a personal account, you will see two OneDrive sync icons.

The blue one is for your work or school account, the white one is for your personal account.

Learn how to add an account in OneDrive.

Chain icon on a folder

A chain or link icon over a folder means it's a shortcut to another folder that has been shared.

Was this article helpful?

That’s Great!

Thank you for your feedback

Sorry! We couldn't be helpful

Thank you for your feedback

Let us know how can we improve this article!

Select atleast one of the reasons
CAPTCHA verification is required.

Feedback sent

We appreciate your effort and will try to fix the article