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How to get started, Part 3: The Desktop App

Posted by Dirk – 6. April 2020

About this guide: This is the third post in a series meant to get you up to speed. You’ll learn how to use ownCloud’s Desktop App to clone your data in the cloud to your computer, and vice versa, and keep both places updated – automagically.

All posts on Getting started:
1. How to personalize your account
2. How to use the Web App
3. How to use the Desktop App
4. How to use the Mobile App
4a. Special features on iPhone and iPad
5. How to create Public Links
6. How to create Public Upload Folders


Congratulations! Your organization is now using ownCloud to sync and share files – and do so much more.


Get the Desktop App compatible with your operating system
Your ownCloud Desktop App makes your life a lot easier. It copies the relevant files and folders from your organizations‘ ownCloud to your hard drive or vice versa and makes sure they stay in sync. It is available for Windows, macOS and many popular Linux distributions. In large organizations, your admin team will love the Windows Installer (*.MSI) to roll out ownCloud frictionless across lots of machines.


Connect to your ownCloud
Install the Desktop for your particular Operating system. Once installed, run it, it opens the ownCloud Connection Wizard. If asked, choose if you want to allow it to send you notifications. The Wizard will then ask you for your ownCloud’s Server URL. Enter it and click “Next”. You will be redirected to your browser login. Enter your login data. Click to allow the Desktop App to access your account. You can now close the browser window.


Choose which folders to sync
Now come back to the ownCloud Connection Wizard. You now have to decide if you are going to sync “everything from server” you have access to or to “Choose what to sync”. Further down on the same wizard page, you can select the local folder on your device that you want to sync to. If you choose an existing folder that already contains something, you need to choose wether to keep the local data or to wipe the local folder first. Then, click “Connect”. Now, ownCloud syncs the selected folders to your local device. And vice versa too, in case you chose a local folder that contains data.

After the initial sync, you can open files right from your file manager in your favorite software like it was a local file – because it is. You can also just as easily create a new file and save it in the synced folder or one of its subfolders and voila. It is then synced to the server and to the ownCloud folder of anyone also permitted to view the contents of the folder you saved it to. The visible clue is a small green checkbox icon that indicates that the file or folder is a shared one. A blue icon with white semi-circles indicates that the sync is still in process. A yellow icon indicates your sync is paused, a red one would indicate an error.

If by any chance you and a coworker should make changes to a file at roughly the same time, the one who saves first wins. The Desktop App or your editing software will warn you that the file you were working on has changed. In this case please save your version locally, reload the file and coordinate the changes with the relevant colleague. For simultaneous as well as harmonious work on commonly used office files like documents, spreadsheets and presentations, we recommend and support OnlyOffice, which is also part of ownCloud.online, our software-as-a-service Edition.

Next up: Getting started with the Mobile App. Appears on Wednesday, April 8th.

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