What Do The OneDrive Sync Icons Mean?

The OneDrive app is a great tool to sync your files from OneDrive and SharePoint, but it can occasionally run into problems. Luckily, it’s very good at telling you if you know what to look for! Here, we’ll look at the most commonly seen icons and what they mean.

Where to view status

There are two key places that you will see OneDrive sync status; the first is in the system tray in the bottom right hand corner of Windows. If this is hidden, I recommend that you move it into view so you can keep an eye on it.

You can click on the OneDrive icon to see more information about the status of the sync.

The other key place is in Explorer, next to the files themselves.

Let’s take a quick look at both locations.

System Tray

The system tray icon is the main place to see the overall sync status and health of OneDrive. you should keep it visible at all times in case there are ever any problems.

Default – All OK


The default blue cloud icon (or, if you are using the free Outlook.com version, grey) is what you should see most of the time. This means OneDrive is signed in and running.



If changes to a file are syncing, this is displayed. You can check sync progress on the individual files by clicking on the icon.

If you have open Office documents you are working on, you’ll also see this icon as changes are syncing in real time. But, if you are seeing this al the time, it can indicate that the sync cache is corrupt or stuck. See here our guide on how to reset OneDrive if it’s not working.

Red Cross


This means there is an error on one or more files. If you click on the icon, typically you will be advised what files have the problem, what the problem is, such as a conflict of changes that couldn’t be automatically reconciled, or something else. It usually prompts you how to fix as well, usually by simply opening the file to resolve the conflict.



This means that sync is paused. This is useful if you on a slow connection and want to preserve bandwidth. It’s also switched on automatically on laptops when in battery saver mode to save power as wireless connectivity and data transfers are a fairly big drain on the battery (that’s why your phone battery lasts so much longer on airplane mode)

Exclamation Mark


This usually means that there is a problem with your account, and it’s usually just resolved by signing in again.

Grey Strikethrough


The grey cloud with a strike through line means the account is not signed in at all. Click on the icon and follow the prompts to sign into your relevant account. If you are using OneDrive for the first time, see our guide on setting up OneDrive backup to sync your most important folders.


There are typically fewer icons displayed in explorer, because they relate only to the files themselves, rather than the account or application as a whole. But, they give you an instant at a glance overview.

Blue Cloud: The file is available online but has not been downloaded to the computer.

Green Tick (white background): This means the file has previously been downloaded and a copy exists on the computer. It may not be the latest version, though.

Green Tick (solid background): This means that the file has been selected to always be kept on the computer, and will be the latest version.

Red Cross: There is a problem with the file. Open it to see the issue, or check OneDrive in the system tray for more information.

More Information

For some more information on the icons, including some slight differences for Mac, see this useful Microsoft article: What do the OneDrive icons mean? – Microsoft Support

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