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I've recently encountered a very frustrating issue where all of my friend's important documents were on OneDrive when he had a compromised Microsoft account.

I called many Microsoft numbers to reset the account ownership and change the password, but Microsoft claims the "Account Reinstatement" process can take many months to give a response, and even then they might not reply.

He thought that all of his files in his documents folder (Windows 10) were held locally, and also backed up to one drive, but it turns out that despite those files being held physically on his computer, they're all access locked.

I'm not asking what to do with Microsoft at this point, I consider them a lost cause, I just want to know if there's a way to unlock my files so I can access them locally again, or not.

He still has OneDrive on his machine but they can't sign in. Are these encrypted files, or is it something as easy as changing a file extension, or disconnecting from the internet?

Microsoft's Account Reinstatement page leads me to believe that this is a common thing with no solution, since it's a featured problem on the dropdown for "reason". Additionally, there is a locked forum post from 2018 with someone complaining about the same issue. Are these files as good as gone?

Update: I booted the hard drive in linux, and it says most of the files are symbolic links, but still have a file size. When I transferred them over to a USB stick, they all became 20 byte files.

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