With Windows 8.1, Microsoft added in cloud services like back up and syncing directly to its operating system. It was the best thing the company ever did for those looking to embrace cloud storage. With a few clicks – or none at all – every file, every setting is synced to a new PC from your old one. Many use OneDrive to keep stuff synced between their devices without issue. Sometimes, OneDrive syncing things, like your background, is a bad idea.
The problem with OneDrive syncing is that many users don’t realize that tthey’ve set it up until it has become a problem for them. Many more don’t realize that OneDrive syncing is tied to their Microsoft Account. A Microsoft Account is the username and password that you create whenever you use a Microsoft service or device. For example, Microsoft Accounts are created when you sign up for an Outlook email account. They’re used on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. All of this cross-platform stuff is great when you’re tying your personal stuff together. It’s not altogether a good idea when you have a PC that you have to use your Outlook.com email address on. for business. Your personal background could end up as your background at work.
Here’s how to stop OneDrive syncing your background in Windows 8.1.
For the purposes of this tutorial, you’ll need to direct your attention to the personal Windows 8.1 device that you have. What we’re going to do is turn off syncing there so that it doesn’t affect your device at work. That’s not the way you have to do it; Microsoft makes it possible for users to kill OneDrive syncing on a per device basis. If you’re someone who wants your personal devices to sync between each other, it’s a better idea to kill off OneDrive background syncing from your work machine. Do what works for you.
Place your finger on the right edge of your display and slowly slide it towards the left edge to reveal the Charms Bar. If you don’t have touch, place your mouse cursor in the top-right corner of your screen.
Now tap or click on Settings.
Tap or click on Change PC Settings from the fly out menu on the right side of your screen. In our example, it is at the bottom.
Welcome to the Windows 8.1 Settings app. On the right of your screen you should have quick ways to add a password, change your Microsoft Account picture and change what picture appears on your lock screen. Right now, you don’t want to change any of those settings. Instead, look to the left for OneDrive. Tap or click on that menu option. It’s the third menu item from the top.
Tap or click on Sync Settings.
This is the OneDrive Sync Settings area. From here you can turn off practically the entire OneDrive syncing experience. If you setup OneDrive with your device, chances are that every toggle on this screen is turned on. You could flip the master switch at the top of your screen to kill all OneDrive settings syncing, but I’d suggest a more surgical approach.
Flip all three toggles under Personalization Settings to get rid of all of your theme changes syncing between multiple devices. If you’d just like to stop your background from syncing turn the Desktop Personalization switch to off.
There you have it. That’s all you need to do. It’s important to remember to only turn off the settings you don’t want syncing. I wouldn’t suggest turning them all off since sometimes it they can be helpful. Many Windows 8.1 users solve this problem by creating a local account that isn’t tied to a Microsoft Account. That’s a bad idea since doing so means you can’t use the Windows Store or apps like Xbox Music. It’s a better idea to create different accounts.
Good luck with your Windows devices.