I recently helped a client struggling with their Microsoft OneDrive installation. The issue presented itself as OneDrive initially loading fine but then subsequently silently crashing a short time later, its icon disappearing from the task bar.

Our initial checks in the event logs revealed a disappointingly generic error with no real insight. We attempted the usual re installation steps but with no success. After chatting with our client again they mentioned that the whole issue coincided with the upload of files to their Personal Vault, a specially encrypted secure portion of their OneDrive storage.

This presented a big head-ache as the program crashed so quickly, while we could unlock the vault, it crashed as quickly as we could load it up. But my suspicions were raised, was it possible a corrupt or malformed file had been included in the upload?

Not really seeing any easy way forward I turned to Microsoft Chat support to make sure we hadn’t missed something simple. This was fruitless and left us in despair as their only recommendation, to recreate the users Windows account and profile entirely, would incur a huge amount of effort. We battled on and continued to dig deeper. The following log file gave us a number of errors that suggested an issue with a file name, steeling my thoughts that a bad file was causing our issue.

C:\Users\**User Profile Name**\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneDrive\logs

A breakthrough! Eventually we discovered that while you could not operate the Personal Vault while offline, you could unlock the vault and very quickly disable or unplug the Internet. This left us with the vault open for 15 minutes and without the program crashing. We quickly moved the files out of the Vault to a safe location and tried again. Sadly this initial attempt failed but we persevered and after reinstalling once more our Vault issue was resolved! We concluded that OneDrive must maintain a list of files to be uploaded and only once we’d uninstalled it and cleared that list would the program operate correctly. To recap, to resolve the issue we did the following

  1. Restart OneDrive from the start menu icon
  2. Immediately click on the tray icon and click to unlock the vault
  3. Enter the pin code form your mobile phone to complete the unlock
  4. Immediately after the unlock has completed, disconnect your internet connection
  5. Move the suspected bad files or move all of them for certainty. Its very important to move than and not simply copy them.
  6. Reconnect your Internet connection
  7. Uninstall and reinstall OneDrive