Stop Creating the OneDrive ‘Attachments’ Folder

When you open your Microsoft OneDrive folder, have you ever noticed a folder called “Attachments” that you didn’t create and you don’t want? The folder is almost always empty, it’s randomly created by Microsoft, and it will continually reappear even after you delete it. Here’s how to stop the folder from appearing.

Issue at a Glance 
DiagnosedMarch 2017
SolvedMay 2017
SystemMac OS 10.12
ApplicationsOneDrive, Terminal

Open the Terminal utility to hide the OneDrive ‘Attachments’ folder forever

From your Mac desktop or laptop:

  1. Open your “Applications” folder.
  2. Open the “Utilities” folder.
  3. Double-click Terminal to launch it.

onedrive-attachments-folder-terminal-utility

Terminal allows users to write sophisticated code to do complex tasks on their Macs. It is important to be careful when using this utility, but please note: I am not a developer, and I know very little about Terminal. All you have to do to hide the dreaded One Drive “Attachments” folder is to write this within Terminal:

chflags hidden [*enter the unique path of YOUR folder here*]

For the “[*enter the unique path of YOUR folder here*]” part indicated above, I recommend you literally drag the offending OneDrive “Attachments” folder into the Terminal app. Your code will then look similar to this:

chflags hidden /Users/YourName/OneDrive\ -\ FolderName/Attachments

Now, hit return. You’re done! The “Attachments” folder will be hidden from view.

Here is what my Terminal app looked like when I was done with this one-line solution:

onedrive-attachments-folder-terminal-code

If you want to make the now-hidden folder visible again, you’ll need to enter some additional code in Terminal. Wilson Mar wrote this helpful piece and quips, “Terminal is your friend, who only speaks a foreign language.”

Why Automator won’t disable the ‘Attachments’ folder from being auto-created

I tried for weeks to use the Mac application Automator to hide this Microsoft-made monster. Similar to Terminal, Automator is a complex tool mainly for developers and engineers. In my opinion — I’m not an engineer, just a Mac enthusiast of 20+ years — Automator is a near-worthless application, because it doesn’t automate anything.

Automator will run workflows that you create, but you must manually start them. They won’t simply run in the background continuously.

To hide the One Drive “Attachments” folder permanently, my initial vision was to create a new workflow (or folder action? I could never tell which was appropriate because it’s incredibly unclear) within Automator to automatically hide the folder every time it was created.

I tried nearly every permutation possible within Automator, usually something like this:

onedrive-attachments-folder-automator-fail

But the wretched ‘Attachments’ folder kept reappearing, every day, for weeks. It would automatically re-create itself every 6-12 hours. I succeeded once in hiding the OneDrive folder using Automator — however, Automator had also moved all of my other OneDrive folders into the trash. I averted the crisis, but I was done with Automator.

Why adjusting your Microsoft Office 365 webmail preferences won’t work either

If you do some online research surrounding this pariah of a folder, you’ll notice that many people associate this bug with Microsoft’s e-mail program, Outlook. If you send an attachment in an e-mail, that may trigger this folder to be created. In some accounts, the auto-created folder is called “E-mail attachments” while for others, the folder is simply called, “Attachments.”

My contention is that this issue appears to be connected to OneDrive for Business. Despite what you may read on the discussion boards, the “Attachments” folder will not respond to the presumed common cure for this plague:

  1. Sign into Outlook webmail
  2. Click Settings > Mail > Attachment options > Attachment preferences
  3. Select “Always attach them as copies”

This method may work for an “E-mail Attachments” issue, but not for the folder simply named “Attachments” in your OneDrive.

Why won’t Microsoft fix the problem?

Because they’re Microsoft? I have long loathed Microsoft and their cold, clunky products. While their applications have certainly improved over the years, they still:

  • do too much thinking (and doing) for the user
  • usually offer limited customization options, from Word to Powerpoint to OneDrive
  • occasionally offer customization, but it’s too convoluted

The secondary problem here is one that plagues all tech companies. The aforementioned online discussion boards alert companies like Microsoft to bugs for months — and often years — before anything is done.

I recently asked OneDrive via Twitter to fix this inane folder issue, and they were so dense they referred to it as a “feature.”

1 thought on “Stop Creating the OneDrive ‘Attachments’ Folder”

  1. Hey,

    For those not using a Mac (I use a Mac and can say it works on Mac but should work on non-Macs), I’ve found you can simply rename the “Attachments” folder and it won’t respawn. Then you can dump files that were in another folder, delete that folder, and now it’s “gone”!

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