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OneDrive shared folders on Windows 11 suddenly became internet shortcuts like some virus

Update July 2, 2024: A detailed update has been provided on the issue by Microsoft.

A OneDrive logo next to an alert icon

Shared folder, a major feature in Microsoft OneDrive, is seemingly bugged at the moment according to several user reports online. We were informed about this issue by a Neowin reader. The folders that are added using the "Add shortcut to My files" option seem to have been replaced by internet shortcuts.

The problem appears to have been first reported by PradeepSG on the Microsoft forum. They wrote:

Folders Shared with me are syncing as internet shortcut in OneDrive on Windows PC

Hi. I had some folders shared from different users in my OneDrive account. I had added the folders to my OneDrive with Add Shortcut to OneDrive button from Shared folders in cloud. The account is logged into a windows pc and every files including the folders shared with my were syncing fine until yesterday. Yesterday night the shared folders were completely removed from the Windows pc and folders are replaced with internet shortcut. .... I have tried unlinking the account and linking it back, changing the location of OneDrive on my windows pc and tried to get a new folder shared to my account and adding it to OneDrive. Nothing works so far.

This query has been upvoted by 240 others at the time of writing indicating that the problem is quite widespread. Here is another one of such posts published by a user נדב שביט which has also been upvoted by 50 others at the time of writing.

Another user kaydee8888 who also faced the same issue was able to figure out a workaround too:

I have my One Drive account for several years. I have my main account signed in on my laptop. I have 4 other users sharing their folder with edit access to my main account. I add them as short cut to my main account. In the past, on my laptop, they function as folders. Meaning, I can move, delete, add files and they essentially function as a folder. Now, all my shared folder from my other users suddenly becomes short cut. When I open the folder, it brings me to the browser for me to sign in and view them.

Edit Update: I am able to fix this by logging into One Drive with my other user account. Seems like not all accounts are affected only some. I know its not a fixed but at least a temporary solution.

Hence, it seems whatever the bug is, it does not affect all accounts the same way as the user was able to sign in via a different account to access shared folders. This is also evident from some of the responses to these threads.

Here is how it appears, courtesy of Denny Rosyadi on the Microsoft support forum:

OneDrive shared folder became internet shortcut

Interestingly, a user on the Feedback Hub suggests Microsoft might allegedly be removing the option altogether. The user claims that they were informed about this change by "customer support." The user Richie V writes:

onedrive shared folder shortcut on personal accounts

I have been informed by customer support that adding a shared folder shortcut to the "My Files" section is being removed from onedrive personal accounts. This is a big bummer.

Curiously, this was posted a month ago which is prior to when most reports began emerging. However, it also has only a couple of upvotes which means not many people had the same experience. We will have to wait for Microsoft's official word on the matter.

Thanks for the tip, TReKiE!

Edit: Added an image and a link to another thread.

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