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A number of users of Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage system have reported problems on Microsoft community relating to synchronizing files between devices. So far there has been no official response from Microsoft.

Mike Small, fellow analyst at Kuppinger Cole, has some suggestions for affected users. The full blog is below:

Microsoft OneDrive file sync problems

What is the problem? It appears that files created on one device are synced to another device in a corrupt state. This only seems to affect Microsoft Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc.) which have been created or updated since around August 27th. It does not appear to affect other types of files such as .pdf, .jpg and .zip for example. When the user tries to access the corrupt file they get a message of the form “We’re sorry, we can’t open the because we found a problem with its contents”

This problem does not affect every device but it can be very disconcerting when it happens to you! The good news is that the data appears to be correct on the OneDrive cloud and – if you are careful – you can retrieve it.

Have I got the problem? Here is a simple test that will allow you to see if you have the problem on your device:

Create a simple Microsoft Office file and save it on the local files store of the device. Do not save it on the OneDrive system.

Log onto OneDrive https://onedrive.live.com/using a browser and upload the file to a folder on your OneDrive.

Check the synced copy of the file downloaded by the OneDrive App onto your device. If the synced file is corrupted you have the problem!

What can I do? Do not panic – the data seems to be OK on the OneDrive cloud. Here is how I was able to get the data back onto my device:

Log onto OneDrive https://onedrive.live.com/using a browser and download the file to your device- replace the corrupt copy.

Do NOT delete the corrupt file on your device this will send the corrupt version to the recycle bin. It will also cause the deletion of the good version on other devices.

It is always a good idea to run a complete malware scan on your devices. If you have not done so recently now is a very good time. I did that but no threats were detected.

Several people, including me have followed the advice on how to troubleshoot sync problems published by Microsoft – but this did not work for me or them.

I did a complete factory reset on my Surface RT – this did not help. Many other people have tried this also to no avail.

Is there a work around? I have not yet seen a formal response from Microsoft so here are some things that all worked for me:

Accept the problem and whenever you find a corrupt file perform a manual download as described above.

Use WinZip to zip files that are being changed. It seems that .zip files are not being corrupted.

Use some other cloud storage system or a USB to share these files.

This example illustrates some of the downsides of using a cloud service. Cloud services are very convenient when they work but when they don’t work you may have very little control over the process to fix the problem. You are completely in the hands of the CSP (Cloud Service Provider). If you are using a service for business, access to the data you are entrusting to the CSP may be critical to your business operations. One of the contributors to Microsoft support community described how since he was unable to work he was getting no pay and this is a graphic illustration of the problem.