Filtering by Tag: Progressive Sync

odrive tips: The power of unsync

Added on by Tony Magliulo.

Sometimes we here at odrive need to take a step back and remember that our users are not all sync experts who know the ins and outs of odrive’s Progressive Sync engine. The truth is that you shouldn’t need to know that much about sync. Our goal is to make everything work smoothly and with as little effort as possible, despite the sophistication and numerous capabilities bubbling just under the surface. Due to our desire to make things simple, we sometimes end up with awesome features that folks may not even know about. That is why we are starting an “odrive tips” series to explore the odrive features and capabilities that are available, but may not be readily apparent or understood.

Today we will delve into unsync. Unsync is a core feature of odrive; a feature that sets us apart from every other sync platform. Unsync is built on the premise of “file virtualization”, which means that we can represent files in a local file system view, natively, without requiring the actual content of those files to also exist locally. When we apply this core principle to folders as well as files, things get quite interesting. The ability to represent folder hierarchies using placeholders allows users to dynamically expand and collapse large structures, or even entire links, down into a single placeholder file. A user can then expand and sync the collapsed structures at a later time, on demand. This is very unique, and part of the foundation for odrive’s Progressive Sync technology.

Unsync: The nuts and bolts

The act of unsyncing is done via your native file browser, using a simple right-click action on either a file or a folder.

Unsyncing a file will substitute the local content of the specified file with a placeholder file. The data that was taken up by that file will be freed. For example, if you had previously synced a 4MB photo in your Dropbox account down to your desktop (my_cool_photo.jpg), a right-click-> unsync action on that file would replace my_cool_photo.jpg with a placeholder file named my_cool_photo.jpg.cloudx, and you’d have an additional 4MB of available space on your local disk!

Unsyncing folders works in much the same way, except that it applies file unsync to all of the files below the specified folder structure, no matter how deep it goes. odrive collapses everything in that folder down to a single placeholder file, freeing up all of the space that was previously occupied by the entire structure. For example: Let’s say you copied in 100GB of photos into a directory inside your linked Amazon Cloud Drive account (My Photos) and, after a time, it all synced up to the cloud. Now you want to free up that space locally. A simple right-click->unsync action on “My Photos” would go through all files within that folder structure, check to make sure each one was successfully synced to Amazon Cloud Drive, and, once verified, would unsync the entire “My Photos” folder. The result would be a single “My Photos.cloudfx” placeholder file in its place and an additional 100GB of available space on your local disk! All of the content in “My Photos” is now safely tucked away in the cloud for later access.

When to use unsync

The need for unsync can be as simple as wanting to free up some extra space for that new game, application, or movie, but there are more advanced use cases for unsync that can help you enhance your workflow or allow you to truly “live in the cloud”.

  • For users who work on projects frequently, unsync is a great last step in your project flow. It signals the end of the project and frees up the space for the next one. It also reduces your data sprawl, allowing you, and odrive, to work in a more focused and efficient manner.
  • For the more organized users, unsync gives you a great new dynamic for your organizational needs. You can now collapse structures that you want to archive away, or keep from your current focus. Use unsync to lock those sections away until they are needed again.
  • For users looking to “live in the cloud” unsync is essential to the migration process. The gigabytes of data that you may have strewn about on different computers, external hard drives, NAS, and flash drives can all be stored in the cloud using odrive. Once a batch of data has synced, you can unsync those files and load in the next ones. This is truly the only way you can get full, native access to potentially unlimited storage on your very limited desktop.

odrive, like a pro

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You are now a certified in the secret arts of odrive unsync. Feel free to utilize it liberally to help you access the vastness of your cloud on even the smallest of local storage.

If you have stumbled upon this post without having used odrive before, head on over to to get started.

Have fun odriving!

To read more about odrive sync:

Your files, your way: See what you want. Sync what you need.

Added on by Tony Magliulo.

The attraction to cloud storage is undeniable. A near-infinite resource at our fingertips to store the mountains of personal and professional data that we humans have become extremely adept at creating. As users gleefully rush headlong into the cloud storage era, pushing up anything and everything they can, new challenges are being encountered. How can the vast cloud be effectively utilized within the finite medium of a local computer?

File Virtualization with sync

File Virtualization is the method of representing a file system structure without needing to have everything exist locally on your computer. When you add sync to the equation this solution becomes a compelling means of working with structures that cannot exist locally. Browse everything, but have nothing cached locally until you need it.  Microsoft’s changes to OneDrive on Windows 8.1 showed users the power of this type of solution, until they took it away in Windows 10 … :(

File Virtualization with sync is extremely useful, but it is a solution that will start to break down at scale. Tracking changes across a vast structure, even without local caching, can render this solution unusable or so delayed and out of sync that its utility is severely reduced. As your dataset expands, the percentage of data that you actually need to focus on shrinks. Why spend cycles monitoring and tracking storage structures that you don’t care about, especially when there is a good chance that nothing is happening there?

Progressive Sync

Progressive Sync is the evolution of file virtualization. The premise behind progressive sync is that you do not need to have visibility into every nook and cranny of your storage at all times. Instead, you need visibility into specific areas of your data. These areas can change dynamically, depending on your immediate need, so on-demand collapsing and expanding of the visible structure needs to be available.

Not using progressive sync is a bit like trying to engage in conversation with your best friend by talking to everyone you know, simultaneously. It is going to be very slow, utterly confusing, and ultimately result in a big a waste of time and energy. Focusing on that single conversation with your best friend removes the confusion and irrelevant information and allows you to prioritize for the task at hand. Communication is quick, precise, and meaningful. This is what progressive sync does for you and your files. Engage (sync folder), discuss (sync files), disengage (unsync folder), repeat.

Progressive sync is the only solution available that can allow you to efficiently use near-infinite cloud storage within the constraints imposed by today’s devices.

Sync, the way you need it.

odrive offers progressive sync for all of your storage. You choose what you need to see. You choose what you want to sync. The ability to effectively map the vastness of cloud storage to your tiny local device is available to every odrive user, for free.

When you first start using odrive you will see all of the storage you have linked available as .cloudfx stubs in the root of your odrive folder. A double-click will expand that folder, browse you into it, and sync all the the files at that level according to global auto download limit you have set.

Simply browse through the file system to expose the directories you want to see. Tweak the auto download limit to fine tune what you need synced. Utilize the “sync all” feature to bring into view an entire directory structure. Use “unsync” to collapse a specified structure, removing it from view and allowing you to focus on your next priority.

Using all of these features together gives you ultimate flexibility for utilizing and managing your storage. See what you want and sync what you need with odrive.

To read more about odrive sync:

Get OneDrive placeholder files on Windows 10 & OSX

Added on by Tony Magliulo.

Windows 10 was released last week and the general consensus is that Microsoft managed to get a lot of things right, blending the better parts of Windows 7 and 8 into a worthy successor. Even though Windows 10 is better than its predecessors in many ways, a staggering number of users have noted the significant step backwards with OneDrive functionality.

Windows 8.x introduced a much lauded feature for OneDrive users with “placeholder” or “smart” files. This feature allowed OneDrive users to visualize all of their OneDrive files without needing them to be physically cached on the system. Unfortunately for loyal OneDrive users, this feature has been taken away in Windows 10.

We have the solution you need

If you are reading this, chances are good that you are one of the unfortunate Windows 10 users that has been impacted by this change (or an OS X user that has been left out in the cold since the beginning). The good news is that odrive has you covered. One of the core features of odrive is the ability to virtualize your files.

Progressive sync

From the start, odrive has employed what is called “progressive sync”. This is the ability to instantly choose what you want to sync locally, at both the folder and file level. With odrive you get the flexibility and control you need, with all of your files.


How it works

odrive has a powerful, always-on sync engine at its core. If any local file system modifications or additions are detected, odrive will automatically and instantly begin syncing those changes to your OneDrive account. This same sync engine is what allows odrive to represent both files and folders, virtually, as “stub” files on your local system.

To ensure that you always know what is virtual and what isn’t, odrive distinguishes between virtual and physical files in a number of ways.

  • Cloud files and folders are given unique icons to set them apart from cached files and expanded folders
  • Locally cached files are given a checkmark overlay to indicate that they are in sync and physically available on the local file system.
  • A cloud file carries the extension .cloudx
  • A cloud folder carries the extension of .cloudfx.

With odrive, interaction with virtualized files and folders is extremely intuitive. A simple double-click or right-click sync action will expand cloud folders or locally cache cloud files. Decide in-line and on-the-fly what you need, instead of being forced to preemptively choose what you want synced from a separate, cumbersome UI. With the option to set an automatic download threshold and the ability to recursively sync the folder structures of your choice, odrive gives you the power and flexibility you are looking for, for all of your storage.

A few examples of the control you will gain with odrive's progressive sync:

  • Do you want to see all of the files and folders available but have no files cached? No problem. Set the auto-download limit to “never download” and right-click “sync all” on your OneDrive folder.
  • Do you want to only cache one file out of thousands to focus your efforts? You can with odrive. Just drill directly to the file you need and sync it.
  • Do you need to save some space on that tiny laptop SSD? It is easy with odrive. A right-click “unsync” action is all that it takes to free up that valuable space.

All of your bases are covered

With odrive, the “placeholder” functionality that users fell in love with in Windows 8.x is available in Windows 10…. and Windows 7, and OS X. Not only is progressive sync available for OneDrive, but it is also available for all of your other storage. Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, Amazon Cloud Drive, file servers, you name it, odrive has you covered, for free.

To read more about odrive sync:

What is Progressive Sync?

Added on by Aric Johnson.

Building sync is really, really hard.

When we started building sync on Oxygen, we ran into a lot of challenges along the way. How can sync work smoothly when there is a ton of data? How can it still be easy and usable without adding a million configurations to your settings? How can we make it just “work” without creating additional obstacles to manage all the different stuff you are syncing?

We created Progressive Sync with the mission to let you sync a lot of things quickly and in the most effortless way possible.

It’s unlimited - sync as much as you want 

Typically with traditional sync, you are limited by how much physical storage space you have. In other words, you can only sync as much as your hard drive can fit.

But with Progressive Sync, it is unlimited and you can use it to sync as much data as you want. The key with Progressive Sync is that it doesn't automatically download entire folders or directories right away. It is progressive because it only “syncs as you go” - it will only download the folders you are browsing and not everything else at the same time.

So on odrive, a .cloudfx is an unsynced folder stub. Once it is synced, you can click through and view or edit everything inside. 

Similarly for files, unsynced files are displayed with a .cloudx stub. A synced file on the other hand, has a normal extension and a check mark, letting you know the file is local and available. 


It’s automatic - it always syncs what you want

There are some applications that give you the option to do selective sync, so you can manage your settings and change your configurations to figure out what specific folders you want or don’t want.

We took that one step further with Progressive Sync and made it automatic. It syncs as you browse, so you don’t have to configure anything. Double-click on the files and folders you need and we will automatically sync it for you, so it’s seamless as you interact with the system. 

Progressive Sync also prioritizes what you want at the moment over what might be syncing in the background. If you right-click to sync a file, and there is already a folder with tons of other stuff syncing at the same time, we will re-prioritize the sync jobs to sync the file you want first, so you don’t have to wait.

To help save on bandwidth and disk space, odrive will also skip the large files until you choose to sync them. That way your odrive stays fast and doesn’t bog down your network.

It’s flexible - sync what you want and unsync what you don't

You can choose to sync just a file or a whole folder with one-click. Not only can you sync, but you can also unsync anything you don’t want. Done working on a project? Easily unsync the whole project folder through the right-click. Unsync will remove the files from your local computer without deleting them from their original storage location. You don’t need to configure anything either. We will continue to show you a stub of the anything that has been unsynced, so if you need it again in the future, just double-click and they will instantly sync back.


It works with everything!

Because we just want to help you get all your sh*t together.

As we develop progressive sync, we created a foundation that allows us to extend our sync model beyond Oxygen to other content storage sources as well. That’s really how odrive was born – we built a really awesome sync platform to sync everything.

Okay, so maybe it doesn’t work with absolutely everything everything... yet. But we’re getting there. We’re adding new apps all the time so you can really #synceverything. Right now you can use odrive to sync Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, Oxygen Cloud, Facebook photos, Instagram, Salesforce, Gmail, FTP, WebDAV and even your file servers. You can also link multiple accounts if you have more than one for some apps.

We’re always in the process of adding more stuff to sync – so if there is something you want to sync, tell us! As long as there is a high demand and there is an API, we will try our best to make it happen for you. :)

- Julia

To read more about odrive sync: