What can odrive do for me?

After watching numerous youtubes today about odrive, I signed up so I can organize my many strung out cloud files. In the videos, it appeared to imply any cloud folder on my hard drive could be dragged into the odrive folder to be synced & managed. I have a number of clouds that aren’t listed in the links & don’t know if they can be included. A few are FTP, which looks like I can use with odrive, but I’m still confused about what works & what doesn’t. And what is “.cloud” & “.cloudf” & how do “placeholders” get set up? Can those extensions help me use outside clouds with odrive? Newbie need help, plz. Thx :wink:

Hi Roseillus,

So you’ve signed up and downloaded the desktop client. You can then link your various remote sources (whether cloud storage or FTP servers, etc.) from your odrive home on web at www.odrive.com. You can also get there by clicking on the desktop tray icon in your sync client and selecting “Manage links” from the menu.

You will notice that you have an odrive folder in your user profile folder on your computer. You can click into any of the top-level folders which should match the storages you linked. No need to “drag in any cloud folder”… At this point, you could uninstall any other cloud storage sync clients and just use odrive.

Go to your odrive folder in your user profile directory. When you first click into your storage folder (e.g. Google Drive.cloudf), it will expand this folder and show you the contents of your storage without downloading anything. Everything is represented as a .cloud (placeholder for a file) or .cloudf (placeholder for a folder) file and takes up miniscule space on your computer’s hard drive.

Doubleclicking on a placeholder folder will expand that folder and show you its contents. Doubleclicking on a .cloud file will download it and open it so you can view/edit the file as normal. You can also right-click on a placeholder file or folder to sync it (e.g. if you want to expand an entire folder tree or download lots of stuff in a folder at once without opening the files).

Dragging in a new file into a folder will sync the contents to your outside clouds. Likewise, if you were to put something into an outside cloud directly, we would sync the change and you can see the new content from within your odrive folder.

When you’re done with a file, you could right-click to Unsync it to return it to a placeholder file (you currently get a 7-day trial of our Premium plan which includes Unsync capabilities). This is useful if you have a lot of content in your clouds and want to save local disk space on your computer.

That’s all you need to get started with odrive. Does that help / answer your questions? Please feel free to keep asking away.


P.S. There are some more useful links on this FAQ forum list: Where can I get more information about odrive features, pricing, use cases, FAQs, and general functionality?

1 Like

By the way, once you’re comfortable about how odrive’s Progressive Sync works, feel free to explore our free sharing features. You can share a weblink to any file in your odrive to anybody and secure it with a password or expiration date for free. You can even set up collaborative shared storage with another odrive user using our Spaces feature. Go to https://www.odrive.com/features/sharing or https://www.odrive.com/features/spaces for more information. It’s all free.

We also have paid Premium capabilities such as being able to configure direct sync for any folder on your desktop directly to a cloud (you can leave your folder in-place rather than having to operate out of the odrive folder), automatically configuring emptying trash or unsync, zero-knowledge encryption… and lots of other goodies coming out every day. Try these out within the first 7 days during your free trial of Premium if you want to get a feel for how they work!

1 Like

Thx so much for your attention, Jeff. Ok, you said feel free to ask away, so . . .

Are you saying once everything is working correctly, I can uninstall the cloud software? And Odrive software takes over to access all my files in the partner clouds? Uninstalling the other sync clients sounds awesome, since they are bogging down my hard drive! But just out of curiosity, do I HAVE to uninstall them?

I’ve already linked my cloud accts & 1 FTP cloud acct (the ones odrive allows, anyway-- my understanding from the ads & videos was that odrive enables us to access “ALL cloud files, in one place,” not just SOME of them. :disappointed: ).

I have a lot of clouds for personal & business, so besides the listed links, I also use the following clouds: Mega, MediaFire, HubiC, 360.com, pCloud, Google Photos (separate from Google Drive), Shoebox, & occasionally Adobe Creative Cloud, iCloud, Hightail, & SFShare. Is there a way to use odrive for ALL my files in all locations? If not, will there be any time soon?

Is .cloud & .cloudf the extension the files get converted to when used in odrive? Did I undestand correctly that I can drag & drop files from one cloud to another, without adding duplicate files anywhere? Is there an easy fast way to find & discard duplicate files in oDrive?

Lastly, can you explain the concept of placeholding? Is it safe to trust the clouds to retain my original files without having them backed up elsewhere or at least on a hard drive of my own somewhere? Is the ability to unsync only included in the paid version?

Thx again! Looking forward to a reply, & experiencing odrive! :wink:

Yes, you can uninstall any cloud software for sources which you can link with odrive. For example, if you have Dropbox installed and odrive, the same files would exist synchronized locally within your dropbox folder and also within your odrive folder (though when they exist as placeholder files in odrive, they take up hardly any space). Since you don’t need two sync clients to the same backend, you could just use odrive.

With regards to available links, we already support a lot of different sources, in addition to common protocols such as FTP, SFTP, and WebDAV (which many cloud sources also support, so you can use these protocols to link to them). We’re constantly adding and improving upon support to more and more sources on an ongoing basis. You can add your two cents in for each source in the Feature Requests portion of the forum. :wink:

Files don’t exactly get converted to placeholders (unless you unsync them). It’s more like they start out that way. So when you first link a source, we think it’s wasteful to try to sync everything in it; some people have a LOT of stuff in the cloud. So we let you link and see what’s available quickly by showing you placeholder files. This allows you to only download and keep synchronized the files that you need.

You cannot drag and drop placeholder files from one cloud to another, but you can sync files from one cloud, and, once they are fully downloaded / local, you can move them into another folder that is tied to another cloud storage backend. This will effect the move operation that you want.

There isn’t an out-of-the-box deduplication feature yet, though you could potentially script something using the odrive Agent (a command line interface client).

For placeholders and whether or not you should trust the individual clouds… it depends on the cloud storage providers. For example, if you use Amazon S3, your files have multiple copies out in the cloud to ensure availability (you can even control this and the cost by using their reduced redundancy storage class). Dropbox has some knowledge of your content–maybe not direct knowledge, but some signature so they can deduplicate on their backend and also scan for copyrighted material… if you don’t like this, don’t use dropbox. Or use our zero-knowledge Encryption feature when using Dropbox storage. If you want to keep a local copy of everything, then just right-click --> Sync and select to download everything (free), including subfolders (free), and save the folder sync rule (paid). You really do have a lot of options.

The ability to unsync is only in the paid version, but there are ways you can revert everything back to placeholders if you need to (e.g. unlink and relink the source)… unsync and the other offerings in the paid Premium plan are an amazing deal when you add it all together, so we hope you find it useful enough that you will want to upgrade.


Thank you for the answers.

Is there supposed to be an odrive folder inside my .oldrive folder? Or did something get messed up? And there are also a lot of new added little files inside my linked cloud folders now, which I don’t recognize (host, info, instance, instance1, etc.) What are all those?

Is there a way to overlap synching so my larger clouds that files in my clouds that are synced with odrive are also being synced in my non-odrive larger clouds, but only on my hard drive once?

Is there a tutorial for using WebDav & Odrive File Server to connect other clouds?

I’m trying to get organized & familiar with odrive, but this is all new to me & a bit overwhelming. I am determined to make it work–& the more organized I can get, the better!


There isn’t usually an odrive folder inside of your .odrive folder. There really isn’t any reason to do anything inside the .odrive folder at all (just use the regular “odrive” folder without the dot in front of it).

If you want to try to reset yourself just in case, you can go to the tray menu --> Authorized User --> Deauthorize. Then register your user to this desktop client again. This would mean you would need to resync files down again, though, since when you switch authorized users, you start over from placeholders again.

There isn’t an overlapping sync mechanism like that exactly. We are working on a Backup feature which does something like it but it is definitely not the same use case. The new Backup will let you back up files from a local desktop folder into any folder on a remote cloud. And you will be able to configure multiple backup jobs against the same folder so that you can backup to two different sources. It’s backup, though, and not sync… so a different use case. The kind of sync you’re taking about is pretty difficult to get right (what are your concerns? There may be better ways of achieving the end results you want without making it too complicated).

With WebDAV, you usually figure out from the source how to connect to it, if they support it (whatever you’re trying to connect to should provide you with a web address to connect to). The odrive File Server product is something different, meant to be installed on a local file server for you to connect with and manage access. It isn’t a currently supported product anymore–we find that it is usually just as easy to set up a WebDAV or FTP server on your machine and connect to it (or if it supports ssh login like a mac or linux server, you can connect to it via SFTP).

Ok, that helps. I thought something went wrong cuz there were files in both folders & it seemed to be compicating how odrive is working (or not) for me, not to mention the process of my learning odrive!

I’m thinking (if I don’t hear back first about this being a mistake) I’m just gonna try to sort the working linked folders from the extra folders in both the .odrive & odrive folders & put the good ones all in the main folder, then delete the rest. If that doesn’t work, I’ll reset. My concern is that OneDrive synced a ton of (empty?) files with corresponding names as my main files (from somewhere, unsure where) onto it’s cloud without my permission, & I’m not sure if I just delete them what will happen to my main files. :confused:

I’m hoping to resolve these issues this evening when I get home, once & for all, so I can get back to a functional system prioir to my Copy cloud disbanding.


If I were you, I’d reset anyway. There’s no reason for anyone to have to go into .odrive. Disentangling it all may be more hassle than it’s worth. After all, another benefit with us is that you can simply reset and it it’s all the same again.

Deauthorizing is pretty painless…

If you’re on Windows and want to do a more hardcore reset, you can also Exit odrive, uninstall it, then clear both .odrive and odrive folders (restarting the Windows Explorer process through Task Manager or simply rebooting your machine may be required to delete everything in .odrive). And then reinstall.


I fell asleep last nite before finishing the rest, but apparently my original install got really messed up. The odrive folder was (or still is) inside the .odrive folder, with various linked clouds in both folders. I did de-authorize last nite, & I did uninstall odrive. By “clear” both folders, did you mean delete the contents? Or delete the folders? I tried deleting the .odrive, but there’s too many files in it, & Win 10 won’t let me delete them all to the recycle-bin. I can only delete if I choose delete permanently. I’m worried about my files & don’t want to lose my real files. Please see screen shot & advise. Thanks! !

Hmmm, I think I may have figured it out. You perhaps tried to drag your original Copy and Google Drive folders (which were created by their own sync clients) into the .odrive folder. You actually don’t need to do anything with the original folders that the other sync clients create. You can leave other sync clients’ files/folders alone. Just make sure you link the sources themselves in odrive by going to your tray menu and selecting “Manage links” so that they will show up under your odrive folder.

The safest thing to do then is to:

  1. Exit odrive if it’s running.
  2. Uninstall odrive.
  3. Rename the “.odrive” folder to “.blah” (a reboot may be required if it says you have files open and it won’t allow you to rename it).
  4. Rename the “odrive” folder to “blah”
  5. Reinstall odrive.
  6. Click into your odrive folder and make sure you see all of your linked sources there.
  7. Click into each of your linked sources and make sure all of your content from all of your sources is there and that you’re happy and comfortable nothing is gone or out of place.

At this point if you’re happy, then you can clean up by uninstalling other cloud client software and then deleting the old “blah” and “.blah” folders (or leave those two folders around for a few days just in case).

1 Like

Great instructions! Will do. Only one thing is that I have already uninstalled the other sync clients before I uninstalled odrive. But the rest sounds straight forward! THX so much. Will let you know what happens. :wink:

It appears to have worked, I’m pretty sure! I haven’t had time to check everything’s fully there & functional yet, so I’m leaving the renamed folders (blah & dot-blah–it would’t allow me to put the actual dot in the name, :wink: LOL!) on my desktop near the trash bin for a few more days, just in case. Now I still need to sort files, remove duplicates, & make sure all my files find a good home folder before Copy shuts off. And I’d still like to learn if & how I can set up my other clouds to sync, especially my Mega, MediaFire, 360, & HubiC accts–with either WebDav or as a backup? I am very interested in the new backup service, since that’s what I intend to use my larger clouds for (360 & Promptfile). Also, can I use webdav to back up all my devices to an external drive . . ? I’m still working on organizing, & I truly appreciate your help! As I’m just getting the hang of the palceholder concept, I’m still a bit confused, cuz to open a folder, I double click it. So does that mean that every folder I double click on to open inside my [now clean] odrive folder, in order to see it’s contents, will then sync whether I want it to or not? How do I see inside the folders without downloading then? Thanks again for all you excellent responses! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi Roseillus,

Sorry, I was traveling last week and didn’t get a chance to reply. Here’s some more info:

  1. There have been other requests for the sources you’ve mentioned (Mega, MediaFire, 360, & HubiC) as well in the Feature Requests category of the forum. If a source doesn’t support WebDAV, then users would have to wait until we can support each source’s API directly. There is no current timetable for them, but the more people that chime in, the more visibility it gets for prioritization purposes. =)
  2. Backing up devices to an external drive… kind of a complicated question. Backing up files on a device or backing up an entire disk image (including OS configuration)? You probably want to use a different commercial product since the backup feature in odrive is more meant for backing up files from folders on your computer into any cloud storage.
  3. With regards to placeholders… yes, you doubleclick on a .cloudf placeholder folder to turn it into a regular folder. Then, you should see placeholder files and folders inside (unless you have changed your “autodownload limit” setting to something else… by default, odrive is set to never download anything and keep everything as placeholders). If you want to see everything as placeholders without clicking into every folder, you can use the right-click --> Sync option. In the dialog that comes up, you can select the checkbox to “Include Subfolders” and move the Download slider bar to “Nothing”… this will then expand out your directory structure with placeholders (without downloading anything). Alternatively, you can use the right-click --> Open in Web Preview feature to look for things if you want. They’re both useful options for finding files, depending on what you’re trying to do (I like using Open in Web Preview to find specific picture files, and I use the right-click --> Sync option if I need everything to be expanded out as placeholders locally for whatever reason).

Let me know if that helps,


I’m new to Odrive. I have plenty of local storage and don’t need to download files from OneDrive since I have them all available locally. I turned off OneDrive’s “Files On-Demand” placeholders.

I thought this was an encryption service.

Hi @craigrlong,
Can you provide some details on what you would like to accomplish with odrive? What is your use case?

I thought Odrive would encrypt my files in OneDrive so that even Microsoft could not read them. But I don’t think that is what Odrive does. That’s what I was looking for. Thanks

I have 10TB of storage available on my PC but have only used 1TB so far. All files are availble in the online OneDrive and also available locally. So I don’t need placeholders really.

I believe your service perhaps provides for a third party cloud sync client for those who have a lot of cloud providers. Although I don’t believe changes I make to files on one PC will be reflected on my other PC unless of course I download a fresh copy. Or does your service sync local files? If so does it use bittorrent protocol (similar to OneDrive) to sync?

I should have started a new thread. You can put this post on a new thread if you want. Thanks again.

hi @craigrlong,
odrive will provide full bi-directional sync. We can also provide encryption features.

This is a good place to start for learning what odrive can do and how it might fit your use cases:

Here are our specific pages explaining sync: https://www.odrive.com/features/sync and encryption: https://www.odrive.com/features/encryption

Thank you. I’ll give it another look.

Can Odrive add placeholders for local files that are not in cloud storage? My problem is I have plenty of local storage with local backups but not so much cloud storage. For large files I just don’t want them sitting in cloud storage taking up space until I need them to be online. I don’t want to have to drag them in and out of a folder to do the cloud uploading and cloud removal. If I could get all my computer files indexed with cloud placeholders that would be super.

Hi @craigrlong,
Placeholders can only be used to represent cloud storage. It sounds like you are using cloud storage as a temporary holding area for items you want to be able to access or share, at certain times. odrive doesn’t have a built-in way to facilitate that other than, as you said, allowing you to move files in and out of storage.