Using the Synchronization Client

The ownCloud Desktop Client remains in the background and is visible as an icon in the system tray (Windows, KDE), status bar (Mac OS X), or notification area (Linux).

Status icon, little cloud with green circle and white checkmark

The status indicator uses overlay icons to indicate the current status of your synchronization. The green circle with the white checkmark tells you that your synchronization is current and you are connected to your ownCloud server.

Status icon, little cloud with blue circle and white semi-circles

The blue icon with the white semi-circles means synchronization is in progress.

Status icon, little cloud with yellow circle and vertical parallel lines

The yellow overlay icon with the parallel lines tells you your synchronization has been paused. (Most likely by you.)

Status icon, little gray cloud with gray circle and three horizontal white dots

The gray icon with three white dots means your sync client has lost its connection with your ownCloud server.

Status icon, little cloud with letter "i" in white circle

When you see a white circle with the letter “i” that is the informational icon, so you should click it to see what it has to tell you.

Status icon, little cloud with red circle and white x

The red circle with the white “x” indicates a configuration error, such as an incorrect login or server URL.

Systray Icon

A right-click on the systray icon opens a menu for quick access to multiple operations.

the right-click sync client menu

This menu provides the following options:

  • Quick access to your accounts
  • Sync status
  • Recent Changes, showing latest activities
  • Settings
  • Help menu
  • An option to log in or log out of all of your accounts at once
  • Quit ownCloud, logging out and closing the client

A left-click on your systray icon opens the desktop client to the account settings window.

Account settings window

Configuring ownCloud Account Settings

At the top of the window are tabs for each configured sync account, and three others for Activity, General and Network settings. On your account tabs you have the following features:

  • Connection status, showing which ownCloud server you are connected to, and your ownCloud username.
  • An Account button, which contains a dropdown menu with Add New, Log In/Log Out, and Remove.
  • Used and available space on the server.
  • Current synchronization status.
  • Add Folder Sync Connection button, which is active only when you have removed synchronization on an account (see Remove Sync below).

The little button with three dots (the overflow menu) that sits to the right of the sync status bar offers four additional options:

  • Open Folder
  • Choose What to Sync
  • Pause Sync / Resume Sync
  • Remove folder sync connection

Open Folder opens a file explorer window displaying the client-side folder that is being synced.

Choose What to Sync opens the folder sync tree view. Use this to sync all or only some of the folders in the folder tree.

Pause Sync pauses sync operations without making any changes to your account. It will continue to update file and folder lists, without downloading or updating files. To stop all sync activity use Remove Sync.

Resume Sync resumes sync operations.

Remove Sync removes the sync connection without removing the account. This stops all sync activity, including file and folder list updates. If you want to synchronize the folder tree again then click the Add Folder Sync Connection button, and re-select the folder tree that you want to sync.

Extra options for sync operations


ownCloud does not preserve the mtime (modification time) of directories, though it does update the mtimes on files. See Wrong folder date when syncing for discussion of this.

Adding New Accounts

You may configure multiple ownCloud accounts in your desktop sync client. Simply click the Account > Add New button on any account tab to add a new account, and then follow the account creation wizard. The new account will appear as a new tab in the settings dialog, where you can adjust its settings at any time. Use Account > Remove to delete accounts.

Sharing From Your Desktop

The ownCloud desktop sync client integrates with your file manager: Finder on Mac OS X, Explorer on Windows, and Nautilus on Linux. (Linux users must install the owncloud-client-nautilus plugin.) You can create share links, and share with internal ownCloud users the same way as in your ownCloud Web interface.

Sync client integration in Finder on Mac OS X.

Shared ownCloud files in Finder on Mac OS X

Right-click your systray icon, hover over the account you want to use, and left-click “Open folder [folder name] to quickly enter your local ownCloud folder. Right-click the file or folder you want to share to expose the share dialog, and click Share with ownCloud.

Sharing from Windows Explorer.

The share dialog has all the same options as your ownCloud Web interface.

Share dialog in Windows Explorer.

Use Share with ownCloud to see who you have shared with, and to modify their permissions, or to delete the share.

Activity Window

The Activity window contains the log of your recent activities, organized over three tabs: Server Activities, which includes new shares and files downloaded and deleted, Sync Protocol, which displays local activities such as which local folders your files went into, and Not Synced shows errors such as files not synced.

Activity windows logs all server and client activities.

General Window

The General window has configuration options such as Launch on System Startup, Use Monochrome Icons, and Show Desktop Notifications. This is where you will find the Edit Ignored Files button, to launch the ignored files editor, and Ask confirmation before downloading folders larger than [folder size].

General window contains configuration options.

Using the Network Window

The Network settings window enables you to define network proxy settings, and also to limit download and upload bandwidth.


Using the Ignored Files Editor

You might have some local files or directories that you do not want to backup and store on the server. To identify and exclude these files or directories, you can use the Ignored Files Editor (General tab.)


For your convenience, the editor is pre-populated with a default list of typical ignore patterns. These patterns are contained in a system file (typically sync-exclude.lst) located in the ownCloud Client application directory. You cannot modify these pre-populated patterns directly from the editor. However, if necessary, you can hover over any pattern in the list to show the path and filename associated with that pattern, locate the file, and edit the sync-exclude.lst file.


Modifying the global exclude definition file might render the client unusable or result in undesired behavior.

Each line in the editor contains an ignore pattern string. When creating custom patterns, in addition to being able to use normal characters to define an ignore pattern, you can use wildcards characters for matching values. As an example, you can use an asterisk (*) to identify an arbitrary number of characters or a question mark (?) to identify a single character.

Patterns that end with a slash character (/) are applied to only directory components of the path being checked.


Custom entries are currently not validated for syntactical correctness by the editor, so you will not see any warnings for bad syntax. If your synchronization does not work as you expected, check your syntax.

Each pattern string in the list is preceded by a checkbox. When the check box contains a check mark, in addition to ignoring the file or directory component matched by the pattern, any matched files are also deemed “fleeting metadata” and removed by the client.

In addition to excluding files and directories that use patterns defined in this list:

  • The ownCloud Client always excludes files containing characters that cannot be synchronized to other file systems.
  • Files are removed that cause individual errors three times during a synchronization. However, the client provides the option of retrying a synchronization three additional times on files that produce errors.

For more detailed information see Ignored Files.

All documentation licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.