How to Sync Google Drive on Linux using Rclone

Introduction

In the world of Linux, where efficiency and control are paramount, syncing files with cloud services like Google Drive is a common necessity. Rclone, a powerful command-line tool, has been a go-to solution for this purpose.

However, for those who prefer a graphical interface, Rclone Browser offers an accessible and user-friendly way to harness Rclone’s capabilities. This article explores how to sync Google Drive using Rclone and Rclone Browser on the latest  Ubuntu operating system Mantic Minotaur.

What is Rclone?

Rclone is an open-source, command-line utility designed for managing files on cloud storage services and remote file systems. It’s particularly popular in the Linux community due to its versatility, broad compatibility with numerous cloud providers, and its alignment with the Linux philosophy of efficient and scriptable tools.

What is Rclone and Rclone Browser?

Rclone Browser is a graphical user interface (GUI) for Rclone, providing a more approachable way to access Rclone’s features without delving into the command line.

Key Features of Rclone

  • Extensive Cloud Service Support: Rclone integrates with over 40 cloud storage products, including Google Drive, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, making it a versatile tool for Linux users.
  • Efficient Data Transfer and Synchronization: It excels in synchronizing files between local Linux file systems and the cloud, ensuring up-to-date file versions in both locations.
  • Robust Backup and Restoration: Linux users can leverage Rclone for backing up files to cloud services, providing a secure and remote backup solution.
  • Encryption for Secure Transfers: Rclone offers encryption capabilities, crucial for Linux users concerned with data security during transfer and storage.
  • Command-Line Interface: Its command-line interface is a natural fit for Linux users, who often prefer terminal-based tools for their flexibility and scriptability.
  • Cross-Platform Functionality: While Rclone is a boon for Linux, it also supports Windows and macOS, ensuring cross-platform compatibility.
  • Scripting and Automation: The tool’s command-line nature allows Linux users to script and automate tasks, a key aspect of efficient Linux system administration.

How to Install Rclone on Linux

Step 1: Download Rclon and Rclone Browser

  • Open your terminal.
  • Check for updates, by typing the below commands in the terminal window. Type your password and press enter.
   sudo apt update
  • Run the second command and press enter.
   sudo apt upgrade
  • Download the Rclone installation file from the official website for your Operating System. (We are going to install Rclon on Ubuntu 23.10 so we will download the file shown in the image below.) Click the download icon and the file will be downloaded and saved in your download folder.
  • Download the Rclone Browser installation file from Git Hub. (x86_64.AppImage). The file will be saved in the download folder.

Open the download folder and check both files for Rclon and Rclone Browser.

Step 2: Setup Rclone

  • Go to the download folder and extract the Rclon Software zip file by right-clicking and clicking Extract from the menu.
  • You will see a new Extracted folder of the same name in the download folder.
  • We will now make Rclone file executable and to do that we will be using the terminal. Open the terminal window and type the below command in the terminal window then drag the extracted folder from the download folder to the terminal windows and press enter and it will give the path of Rclone folder.
   cd [drag the extracted rclone folder to the terminal window]

Now open the Rclone folder in the download folder and there will be a Rclone file. Type the below command with the Rclone file name at the end in the terminal windows and press enter. Type your password and press enter again.

sudo chmod +x rclone

Now type the below command to configure Rclone and you’ll get the screen as shown in the below image.

./rclone config
  • Create a New Remote, type 'n‘ for a new remote, press enter and name your remote (e.g., GDrive or myremote).
  • Now you will see a list of supported storage providers (like Google Drive, AWS S3, etc.), Select the Storage Provider, and to do that type the number corresponding to your provider and press Enter.
  • The wizard will ask for various details like API keys, client ID, client secret, etc. These vary depending on the provider. Leave the client ID and secret blank (unless you have your own).
  • Choose the scope that corresponds to your needs (usually 1 for full access).
  • Follow the prompts to enter the necessary information. For some services, you might be asked to visit a URL to authorize rclone.
  • Select your preferred root folder ID or leave it blank for full access.
  • Choose whether to use a service account or not.
  • Rclone will provide a link and your default browser will open automatically or you can manually open this link in your web browser and log in to your Google account.
  • Grant the necessary permissions and you will see “All done. Please go back to Rclone” on the browser. You can now close the browser.
  • Confirm your settings and exit the terminal window.

Step 3: Running Rclone Browser

  • Go to the download folder again where we have downloaded the Rclone Browser AppImage file.
  • Right-click the AppImage file and click on properties from the menu.
  • Enable the option Executable as Program under Permissions at the bottom of the window.
  • Now double-click the Rclone Browser file and it will open as a Browser Window but it won’t have your google drive.
  • Click file from the menu and click preferences to open the settings where you can give the default download location and give path for Rclone and Rclone.conf files.
  • Click OK at the bottom right corner and you will see the Google Drive in Rclone browser now.

Additional Tips

If Rclone Bowser doesnt open even after enabling the option “Executable as Program” from its properties then reun below coman in the terminal window and then try opening Rclo Browser and it will work.

sudo apt install libfuse2

Browse Files: You can browse the files and folders in your Google Drive.

Transfer Files: Easily transfer files between your local system and Google Drive.

Sync: You can synchronize directories between your local system and Google Drive.

By following these steps, you should be able to successfully sync your Google Drive with a local folder on Linux using Rclone and Rclone Browser. Remember, while Rclone is powerful, it’s always a good idea to back up important files before performing bulk sync operations.

For a detailed, step-by-step guide on how to synchronize your Google Drive using Rclone and Rclone Browser, be sure to watch the video below. This visual tutorial will walk you through the entire process, making it easy and straightforward to get your files synced seamlessly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, syncing your Google Drive with Linux using Rclone and Rclone Browser is a great way to keep your files in order. This guide showed you how to set it up easily. With these tools, you can manage your files better and make sure they’re safe and up-to-date.

Remember, these steps are simple and helpful for anyone, whether you’re new to Linux or already know a lot about it. Keep your files synced and organized with these easy tools!

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