Using the Desktop App


The ownCloud Desktop App remains in the background and is visible as an icon in the system tray (Windows, KDE), menu bar (macOS), or notification area (Linux).

Used App Icons


The status indicator uses 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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


This menu provides the following options:

  • Quick access to your accounts.

  • Sync status.

  • Recent Changes, showing the latest activities.

  • Settings.

  • Help menu.

  • Pause synchronizations.

  • An option to log in or log out of all of your accounts at once.

  • Quit ownCloud, logging out and closing the Desktop App.

A left-click on your systray icon opens the Desktop App to the 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 Out, and Remove.

  • Used and available space on the server.

  • Current synchronization status.

  • Add Folder Sync Connection button.

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

Show in Explorer

Opens your local ownCloud sync folder.

Show in web browser

Opens your ownCloud via the browser.

Choose What to Sync

Select the folders and mounts in the main window to be synced. This appears only when your file tree is collapsed, and expands the file tree.

Force sync now / Restart sync

Start the sync process immediately - if none is running, or restart a running sync process

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.

Remove Folder Sync Connection

Stop all sync activity

Enable virtual file support

Enable the virtual file support for an account

The Overflow Menu
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 App. 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.

To use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), ownCloud server must have the OAuth2 app installed, configured, and enabled. Please contact your ownCloud administrator for more details.

File Manager Overlay Icons

The ownCloud Desktop App provides overlay icons, in addition to the normal file type icons, for your system file manager (Explorer on Windows, Finder on Mac and Nautilus on Linux) to indicate the sync status of your ownCloud files.

The overlay icons are similar to the systray icons introduced above. They behave differently on files and directories according to sync status and errors.

The overlay icon of an individual file indicates its current sync state. If the file is in sync with the server version, it displays a green checkmark.

If the file is ignored from syncing, for example because it is on your exclude list, or because it is a symbolic link, it displays a warning icon.

If there is a sync error, or the file is blacklisted, it displays an eye-catching red X. If the file is waiting to be synced, or is currently syncing, the overlay icon displays a blue cycling icon.

When the Desktop App is offline, no icons are shown to reflect that the folder is currently out of sync and no changes are synced to the server.

The overlay icon of a synced directory indicates the status of the files in the directory. If there are any sync errors, the directory is marked with a warning icon.

If a directory includes ignored files that are marked with warning icons that does not change the status of the parent directories.

Sharing From Your Desktop

The ownCloud Desktop App 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.


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.


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


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

Includes new shares and files downloaded and deleted.

Sync Protocol

Displays local activities such as which local folders your files went into.

Not Synced

Shows errors such as files not synced because of being excluded or any other failing status.


In Windows, double-clicking an activity entry pointing to an existing file in tabs Server Activities or Sync Protocol, will open the folder containing the file and highlight it.

On Linux, you can do the same with mouse  right-click  Show file in browser

In any of the activity tabs you can mark a single line, multiple lines or all lines with CTRL+a and copy the selected lines to the clipboard with mouse  right-click  Copy to clipboard.

Server Notifications

The desktop client will display notifications from your ownCloud server that require manual interaction. It automatically checks for available notifications automatically on a regular basis. Notifications are displayed in the Server Activity tab. If you have enabled Settings  General Settings  Show Desktop Notifications you’ll also see a systray notification.

For example, when a user on a remote ownCloud creates a new Federated share for you, you can accept it from your desktop client. This also displays notifications sent to users by the ownCloud admin via the Announcements app.


Settings Window

The Settings Window has configuration options such as

General Settings

  • Launch on System Startup

  • Show Desktop Notifications

  • Use Monochrome Icons


  • Show sync folders in Explorer’s Navigation Pane

  • Sync hidden files

    Hidden files are files starting with a dot like .filename.txt, but not files which are hidden by setting a file attribute.
  • Show crash reporter and the

  • Buttons for Edit Ignored Files (see below) and Log settings

Advanced - Approval of folder sync

  • Ask confirmation before downloading folders larger than [folder size]

  • Ask for confirmation before synchronizing external storages

While you can select whether to show or hide the crash reporter, from the Settings Window, you can also configure whether to show or hide it from the general section of the configuration file as well. Doing so can help with debugging on-startup-crashes.

Using the Network Window

The Network settings window enables you to define network proxy settings and defines limits to the download and upload bandwidth.

Proxy Settings
  • No proxy

  • Use system proxy

  • Specify proxy manually as

    • HTTP(S)

    • SOCKS5

Download and Upload Bandwidth

The following options are available:

  • No limit

  • Limit automatically
    When activated, the client limits the upload or download bandwidth to 25% of the currently available bandwidth for each operation. The available bandwidth is measured on the fly at the beginning of every operation for a very short period of time.

  • Limit to

Network Settings

Enabling this feature will affect all new transfers (next upload chunk or next download), but not affect already running transfers (current upload chunk or current download). Changing this setting or disabling this feature with take effect immediately.

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 Settings  Advanced  Ignored Files Editor

Ingnored Files Editor

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.
A restart of the client is needed in order for the changes to take effect.

Each pattern string in the list is preceded by a checkbox. When the checkbox 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 the Ignored Files section.

Removing a Sync Connection

When removing a synchronization connection, all synchronized data will stay locally and not get deleted. To remove a sync relationship, change to the account and select the synchronization relationship that should get removed. When clicking the …​ (three dots) icon, the following window appears:

Removing a Sync Relationship

Select Remove folder sync connection to remove it. If you also want to delete the related data, go to the folder and delete it.

Before removing the connection, click Show in Explorer. This will open the source folder where all the synced data is located. This eases deleting this folder as you do not need to search for it after removing the sync connection.