Synchronized files use Windows 10 encryption locally but not on the OneDrive for Business site


This article contains information about how to use the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client (onedrive.exe).

NOTE: To determine which OneDrive sync client you're using, see Which OneDrive sync client am I using?


Consider the following scenario:

You use the following method in Windows 10 to encrypt the contents of a file or a folder: 

  1. Right-click the folder or file that you want to encrypt, and then click Properties.

  2. Click the General tab, and then click Advanced.

  3. Select the Encrypt contents to secure data check box, click OK, and then click OK again.

You use the OneDrive for Business sync application to synchronize the encrypted file or folder:

In this scenario, when you view the synchronized file or folder on your OneDrive for Business site, Windows 10 encryption is not applied to the file or folder. However, the Windows 10 encryption is applied to the same file or folder on the local hard disk.


This is expected behavior. Windows 10 encryption occurs only on the local disk on which the file or folder was encrypted. When a file is moved from the local disk to the OneDrive for Business site, the Windows 10 encryption from the client computer is no longer applied.

More information

The following additional information applies to files that are encrypted in Windows 10 and are uploaded to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online:

  • Files and folders that are uploaded to the SharePoint Online Document library are available to users through the usual SharePoint Online permissions.

  • A Windows 10 client won't encrypt the files or folders within the OneDrive for Business library on the site.

  • On the OneDrive for Business site, when you create a file or a folder that's configured to synchronize by using the OneDrive for Business sync application (onedrive.exe), the item will synchronize to the local computer as a file or folder without encryption. For encryption to occur, you must move the file or folder from the encrypted synchronized folder (such as OneDrive – Contoso) to the desktop or another folder, and then move it back to the encrypted folder in Windows 10.

NOTE: This article doesn't describe data encryption in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. 

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