The Navigation Pane, also known as the side panel in Windows 11/10 Explorer is occupied by OneDrive folder prominently just below the Quick Access section. This is so because OneDrive comes bundled with Windows 11/10 to help users store their documents and other data online in the cloud and sync it between their computers.
If you don’t use OneDrive, you can also remove this icon with a simple registry tweak or a change in the GPO. It should be noted that the setting won’t uninstall OneDrive from the system, it’ll just hide or remove the OneDrive folder icon from your File Explorer sidebar.
Remove OneDrive icon from Windows Explorer
Using Registry Editor
Open the Registry Editor and then navigate to the following key:
Searching the key can quite be a task especially if the folder contains hundreds of entries. If you’re having trouble finding the key, Just move to Edit tab > Find in the Windows Registry menu, copy and paste the key, and then let the Registry Editor find for you take you the correct path.
Later, in the right-pane, you should see a DWORD entry labeled System.IsPinnedToSpaceTree. Its value is set to 1. For removing the OneDrive folder from the side panel of Windows 10 Explorer, double-click on DWORD and set the value to 0.
Now, click OK to save your changes and then close the Registry Editor.
OneDrive will now no more appear in your File Explorer sidebar. If it does, try closing all the running programs and restart your computer. As mentioned earlier, the tweak doesn’t remove OneDrive from your system. It just removes or hides the OneDrive folder from your Windows 10 side panel of Explorer.
Here’s a screenshot of the original Windows 10 File Explorer with OneDrive.
Here’s the Windows 10 File Explorer without OneDrive after the registry hack.
Using Group Policy Editor
If your Windows OS ships with the Group Policy Editor, you cn do the following:
Run gpedit.msc to open the Gropu Policy Editor and navigate to the following setting:
Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > OneDrive.
Locate and double-click on Prevent the usage of OneDrive for file storage policy setting in the right pane
Set it to Enabled and click OK.
This will disable access to OneDrive and its folder icon will be hidden from File Explorer.
I hope this works for you!