Multiple Instances on a computer

Hi, I have a family computer which everyone uses. Each person has their own account. We have a shared Google Drive for everyone. Now if I install oDrive on this computer and add the same account on each user account; I will get multiple instances of oDrive running in the background, and I am not sure if it will not corrupt my data.

Can you please confirm what is the best way to handle this ?

Hi @Hany,
Are you using Windows and making use of fast user switching?

Having multiple instances of odrive running will not cause any sort of interference between instances unless you have moved the odrive folder to the same location for the separate odrive users. By default, the odrive folder is installed inside the user profile home directory, so it will be tucked away from any other users. Just make sure to keep these directories separate and you will be good to go.

odrive should actually work very well in this case, as progressive sync is an ideal way to deal with storage growth on a multi-user system.

Well actually, I have moved the odrive folder to a single location for everyone so we don’t have duplicates of the same data; and at the same time; if anyone modifies the files, they are updated in the cloud.

What is the best way to fix this ? Would there be a way to run oDrive as a service with a separate account ?

I strongly recommend having a separate odrive folder for each user and using the default locations that are created during the initial odrive run for that user.

Chances are that each family member is working on different files, which odrive facilitates better than anyone else with “progressive sync”. You’ve probably already seen this in action, but odrive allows you to sync exactly what you need and nothing more. So, each user can navigate directly to the file they need and work on that specifically, without downloading anything else. This is different than Dropbox, where everything is downloaded by default, regardless of if you need it or not. The result is that you only have duplicate data if users are working on the same exact files.

I realize there may be instances where users will want to access the same files (shared media, for example), but I can’t recommend pointing separate user instances of odrive all to the same odrive directory. Honestly I’ve never tested it, so I can’t say for certain what the result would be. Just off the top of my head, I can imagine some trouble when dealing with placeholder files.

For example, user A expands folder1, and placeholder files are laid down. User B’s odrive instance now sees a new folder appear and foreign placeholder files (it did not create these). Since it did not create the placeholder files it remove s them and lays down its own. User A’s odrive instance may see the removal of the placeholders before the new placeholders are put down and see that as a delete of the file. The item will end up in the odrive trash for user A. Then it will pick up the new placeholder file that User B’s instance put down and see that as foreign and delete it… etc… etc… Since this would be timing-based, it may eventually work out, but I can’t say for certain.

So, bottom line is: don’t smash all the odrive instance folders together. The good news is that odrive has enough safeguards that you shouldn’t lose any data, even with the different instances trying to reconcile all of the foreign local changes that are happening. You could end up seeing stuff randomly appear in odrive trash, though, and other strange behavior…

Hi Tony, thanks for your feedback and detailed explanation of how it all works.

It is good that you have enough safeguards to make sure files are not randomly deleted in this situation. I might test it with a test account and folder just to see how it will work.

I would like to add this as a feature request, since as your rightly said, common media is one of the main shared items that we have on this home computer, we also have common school files that we share with the kids, and financial files which we need to have sync’d but also we all edit in the family.

I am also still thinking about running the odrive as a service (which would be another feature request), since that would allow me to create a single instance for oDrive with everyone’s folders in one place, and it would be running regardless of who is editing or logged in to the machine.

Let me know where you end up here. I am curious about this use case.