Accidental Name Change of Google Drive - Use Aliases when puting shares in Finder's Sidebar!

First off, I am not sure what the nomenclature of the two distinct representations of a “share” in odrive and what could be considered a “synced folder”, but for the purposes of this discussion I when I use the expression “synced folder” I will mean it to be the folder that I have set to sync with a share on odrive in the cloud, not the share’s folder as it appears in ~/ordive. I sense this could be a point of potential miscommunication so I wanted to make sure that was clear.
For all of my macs, I keep shortcuts to my various odrive shares in the Sidebar of my Finder windows for easy access. On the mac that is in my work office, I am not using synced folders and instead I am directly accessing the respective folder that is within the odrive folder itself. I don’t normally do this and generally uncomfortable using that folder (for reasons that will be further reinforced in a few sentences) but it happened to be the end state after all of my synced folders lost their odrive linkage inexplicably and became static folders with diverging content before I realized they were out of sync. (This was discussed at length in another Troubleshooting issue so I wonder get into that here.)

Normally I create the Sidebar items by simply dragging the folder and dropping in onto the Sidebar where it appears, seemingly as just a shortcut. I then will typically shorten the title of the descriptive-yet-long names of my shares to make them be more visually recognizable in the Sidebar. However, today I learned that when you change the name of a Sidebar item it actually changes the name of the file or folder that it points to! I honestly never knew this, and while it seems like a bad idea to me, that’s the way it is, apparently. Therefore, when I had a share’s folder that was take directly from the odrive folder (i.e.: ~/ordrive/I_Hate_Sand/) and dropped it into the Sidebar of any Finder window thereby making it a new Sidebar item, when I later changed the title of said Sidebar item it actually changed the name of the share in ordrive accordingly, as in the name of the share as it appears in the cloud! As I have experience with changing names of synced folders like I was dealing with in my latest Troubleshooting Issue and there not being any obvious side-effects (not immediate ones anyway) so I was a bit shocked by the double discovery of what happens when you (1) change the title of a Sidebar item (2) change the name of a share’s folder in the odrive folder.

Since I moved share to a completely different name in odrive, I knew I had done something wrong when the fan quickly went to maximum velocity and I saw that odrive’s status was that it was syncing the newly-named share, apparently in its entirety. (I honestly have no idea what it was actually doing when I made this change.) I promptly changed the share name back to its original name, but I haven’t even seen what that did to my other computers which also have those same shares in sync with the ones I accidentally renamed and then restored to their original names. I have a feeling what I discover will be not good. Before odrive charged forward doing whatever it was doing when the name of that share changed in the odrive folder.

Anyway, while I don’t have time at the moment repeat the the process I used [to restore the synced folder] (Restored from Time Machine Backup, odrive empty) so its behavior is the same across all of my macs so there are less unexpected surprised like today’s. I feel like I am living proof of the need for an “odrive best practices” guide since there are lots of ways that you can get chewed up by your own actions. I might go as far as say that certain actions might benefit from having some “Are you sure?” dialogues since sometimes things have consequences you don’t expect. I actually am interested in what actually goes on behind the scenes on the computer that is the source of this name change, what’s in the cloud, and what happens on the other machines that are in sync, but I guess I will probably learn more about the last part when I get home, :-/

If you have any suggestions of things I should validate on this or my other macs which sync with those two shares, please let me know. I am trying to stay in preventative maintenance mode W/R/T odrive, so anything helps. If there is more fallout I will report it here since this is something that someone could easily do to themselves without realizing the gravity of the change they are making. One thing is for sure- going forward I will always use aliases in the Sidebar if I intend on changing the title of it! Learn the hard way I guess.


Hi @DarfNader,
Thanks for the thorough rundown of this behavior. This is actually something I’ve never run into, but I tested it and see that a rename of the sidebar item in Finder does, indeed, change the source folder it represents.

This could definitely pose a problem if that folder is used as a destination for a “sync to odrive” folder, as it would break the relationship, since it is path-based. I agree that we should have a notification or confirmation if we can detect that an underlying piece of a sync relationship, like this, is changed. I’ve passed this post over to the product team for review.

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Worse @Tony , I discovered that I made a typo-o on one of my folders and where I named one share as “Googe-Drive…” but I can’t even log into my odrive web account to confirm that everything has changed because the login issues I just reported in Troubleshooting. Hard times.

OMG it’s doing a full sync of all my directories even when I had the name right.

I give up.

@Tony I made the name match. Please look for yourself for my account under

share is “Google_Drive_-_Darfnader”

I set this to sync and instead of matching it is putting the entire structure into /Google_Drive_-Darfnader/Google_Drive-_Darfnader and it is on a home machine which I cannot stop. Unless I am dyslexic this text is the same name. It is clear this approach to syncing existing folders is extremely problematic aside from getting the name not quite right, it is clear there are other issues that can cause the same very much unwanted behavior. Worse, as this is happening I am trying to do my actual job which this is interfering with so I am not sure how much patience I am expected to have about this issue. All I can say is devs need to rethink their approach to syncing existing folders altogether because this is awful.

Hi @DarfNader,
I’m sorry to hear this.

I don’t have access to your account, so I cannot look at your data. I could look at a diagnostic if you would like to send one.

If the name is the same then it should not deposit it inside the folder, but just use it. I have seen instances where the name on Google Drive actually has a space in it, or some other special character that throws things off.

I realize this may be too late, but you can try to break the sync by revoking the odrive access to the account from

When you remove odrive access, odrive will not be able to make queries to Google Drive anymore and will prompt for authorization. Once you reauthorize it can continue. You can do that until you can ‘remove sync’ from that folder when you get home.

As for the ‘sync to odrive’ folder, I would try copying the name of the local folder (copy and paste the text) and then pasting that as the name of the target remote folder, just to eliminate any doubt of a mismatch or special/alternate characters between the two. Then you can try to setup the sync folder again.

HI @Tony,

I was able to remote desktop to the machine that was the source and stop the transfers before it got too out of control. It ran for a few hours just blindly uploading, I did confirm that the name for both folders (The Finder folder to sync and the Share in Odrive) were literally identical, so I have no idea what happened. (I didn’t check for unprintable Unicode, but I have no idea how that would have gotten into either name, and since after cleaning up and trying again without changing the name, it would seem that was never the problem.

The only thing I found was that under “Sync to Odrive” there was an entry for this same folder that said something like [inaccessible] after the name or something. (It wasn’t [missing], but something else.) My only theory is that the folder or share in Odrive was still half bound to a folder which apparently wasn’t working so when I tried to sync another one to it by the same name from the same host, I didn’t know what to do so did the only thing it could, which was create a subdirectory of the same name. (I just totally made that up. The reason for it amy be completely unrelated, but since this made zero sense, I had to come up with something for my own sanity.) After removing all traces of the Sync configuration and tried it again (after deleting the duplicate subdir from Odrive web) and it synced like it was supposed to because, like I said, the names were literally the exact same.

There really needs a better way of doing this. The fact that it is relying on name matching alone which sometimes apparently doesn’t work is basically guesswork and prayer. You really should be able to sync two folders even if their name doesn’t match anyway if you tell it to. You should be given an explicit option to either sync a directory or make it a subdir. I am not sure why odrive devs insist on the action it does as it seems needlessly risky (it has caused more problems with me that both of us can count!) and while I am sure someone thinks its elegant, it’s frankly dangerous, like how easy it is to change a share name.

Things overall need to be more explicit with odrive’s operations. The fact that there are little to no commands or preferences is probably by design to make it “simple”, but in reality it is “unpredictable” and you need to know the secret sauce before trying things. Why it isn’t more guided is a mystery. So much agony would be avoided. Also, when syncs are broken, there really needs to be some kind of alerting. The fact that you can lose sync for whatever reason and not know it for days or even weeks is really bad. Other cloud solutions will at least give you a warning in their app like a red dot or exclamation point or something that you can see. odrive is completely silent. Sync folders will just disappear and you’ll never know things are unlinked. It’s super noisy about items it “cant handle” or when you have things in the Trash, as is sends multiple notifications about that stuff, but not a peep about losing syncs- a far more serious situation!

I know I sound like a broken record and whenever you see my name you probably assume it’s just more bad news, but I hope you see that what I am suggesting is reasonable, and that I believe enough in what you are doing to put up with a lot in hopes that your developers finally get the problems wrangled.


Hi @DarfNader,
Your comments are appreciated.

Your feedback, along with others, has definitely been considered and has been kept in mind as we have been developing the new interface. It will allow more visibility and feedback, including a better way to setup these types of sync relationships.