ownCloud file sync on desktop on demand

Virtual Files

Let users sync a virtual file instead of the full file, downloading the real thing on demand only. It saves on storage and bandwidth.

Community Edition
Standard Edition
Enterprise Edition


Save on bandwidth and storage by enabling Virtual Files

With the virtual file system enabled, your ownCloud Desktop Client only transfers files to your hard drive if and when they are being used. Until then, they exist locally as placeholders only. They can, however, be shared directly from within the file manager and be opened like regular files – they then just need a moment longer to open since the file is downloaded first.

Users can activate the virtual file system feature in their desktop clients. They can then, in their native file manager, choose which folders and files to sync just virtually or in full, e.g. depending on how often they plan to work on them. On windows, users can run the ‚free up space‘ command to remove files synced through ownCloud and replace them with virtual ones.

On windows, the placeholders also reflect the size and file type of the original file. On macOS and linux, the virtual file system are available as an experimental feature. There, virtual files all have a size of 1 byte and the file extension .owncloud, making size estimation and file association with local software harder. Our team members nevertheless uses this feature merrily and fruitfully on their Macs and a bunch of Linux machines.

Screenshot of the Desktop App preferences showing that Virtual Files are enabled for this connection

Ready to get started?

Learn more about Virtual Files