Fix: Windows Folders and Files Not Refreshing Automatically

Read in this article how to fix the issue where your folders and files are not refreshing automatically in Windows.

The Files and folders in the Desktop or Windows Explorer are set to refresh by default, so if your folders and files are not refreshing automatically, there are some settings you need to adjust.

This issue can be caused by having the wrong settings in Windows Explorer, a missing Registry entry, or your device being linked to One Drive.

To fix this issue:

  1. Open any folder on your PC to open Windows Explorer.
  2. Then click on the three dots () on the top of your folder.
  3. A menu will appear, select Options:
  4. On the General tab, click on the Restore Defaults:
  5. On the View tab, click on the Restore Defaults:
  6. On the Search tab, click on the Restore Defaults:

This should fix your issue.

(If your Windows Explorer border lines are missing, read my article on how to fix Windows Explorer border missing in Windows.)

If the problem persists, try to change your Registry as shown next.

How to Fix Windows Folders and Files Do Not Refresh Automatically in the Registry Editor

In this step, we will change the registry entry’s value to ensure your folders refresh automatically.

Before making any changes, back up the registry by clicking on File > Export on the Registry Editor.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Type Registry Editor in Windows Search and click on Run as Administrator:
  2. In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following path:
  3. Click on the Update key (folder).
    (If there is not such a folder, right-click on the Control folder and click on New > Key. Name the new folder as Update.)
  4. Right-click on the UpdateMode entry and click on Modify:

    (If you created the Update folder in the last step, right-click on the empty space next to the folder and click on New > DWORD (32-bit) Value, then name the new entry as Update Mode.)
  5. Change UpdateMode value to 0:

If this doesn’t work, undo the changes by importing the registry backup you created.

If you use OneDrive, the reason your folders and files are not refreshing might have to do with it.

Unlink OneDrive from your PC to Refresh Folder and Files Automatically in Windows

Some users reported that unlinking OneDrive from their PC made their folders and files refresh automatically. Here is how to unlink OneDrive:

  1. Click on the notification area arrow to see more icons.
  2. Click on the OneDrive icon in the notification area to open OneDrive:
  3. Click on the Gear icon in the upper-right corner of OneDrive, then click on Settings:
  4. On the Account tab, click on Unlink this PC:

(If you get the message “other people are editing this document on OneDrive” when you open Word files on OneDrive, check the article I’ve written about it.)

If this also didn’t work, try to restart your Explorer in Task Manager.

How to Restart Windows Explorer in Task Manager

Sometimes restarting Windows Explorer is all that it takes to end Explorer-related issues. To restart your Windows Explorer follow the steps below:

  1. Press CTRL + SHIFT + ESC to open the Task Manager.
  2. Find the Windows Explorer process, right-click on it and click on End task:
  3. In the Task Manager windows, click on File > Run new task:
  4. Type explorer.exe and press the OK button:


If your folders and files are not refreshing automatically in Windows, try to open Windows Explorer’s options and click on the Restore Defaults button on the General, View and Search tabs to restore your Explorer settings to default.

You can also try to modify the value of the UpdateMode entry to 0 in the Registry Editor in the path HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Update\. Or try to unlink OneDrive from your PC.

If the option to create a new folder is missing from your context menu, make sure to check my article on how to fix create new folder is missing on Windows 11.

If you get the Autopilot.dll error in the Event Viewer, I’ve written an article on how to fix Autopilot.dll WIL error was reported in Windows Event Viewer.

Laerthe Côrtes

Laerthe Côrtes

My first desktop computer, back in the 1990s, opened a whole new world for me; since then I am a heavy PC user (who will never get used to smartphones.) I worked for five years in the PC software industry, and my favorite version of Windows is still Windows 95.

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