Ubuntu Google Drive Client with Grive and Grive Tools


We have created a new Google Drive client solution called overGrive.

overGrive is a complete Google Drive desktop client for Linux.

There is no official Google Drive Client available for Linux at the moment, but a command line program called Grive provides an open source Linux solution. What was missing was an easy setup, install and desktop integration on Ubuntu. I decided to create the missing parts and so Grive Tools came to be - Ubuntu Google Drive desktop integration made easy

All comments and improvements are very welcome as this is purely a personal project at this point and must be considered a work in progress. 

* Update April 2015 : 100 000+ downloads and counting on Launchpad. 


  • Grive Tools will assist in the installation and setup of Google Drive on your Ubuntu desktop. 
  • Grive Tools consists of the following components:

    • Grive Setup - The main setup installation program to get started.
    • Grive Indicator - Application indicator for Google Drive. 
  • A GUI installation will guide you through the the installation process and setup Google Drive in your home folder.
  • You will be able to access your Google Drive files locally* as well as synchronize your files with your Google Drive online. (* excluding Google Docs)
  • Auto Sync - Grive Tools keeps your Google Drive synchronized automatically by detecting changes in your local Google Drive folder. New files and folders will be uploaded to your Google Drive automatically after a few seconds. 
  • Bi-Directional Sync - When you Sync your Google Drive new files online will be downloaded to your local folder and new local files will be uploaded to your Google Drive online.
  • The Grive Application Indicator supports both light and dark desktop themes.
  • On Screen notifications of Google Drive activity.
  • Supported Desktops include Unity, Gnome, KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon and LXDE
  • Supported languages : Afrikaans, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Malay, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish (more translations soon)
  • For users that require more features like choosing which folder to sync with Google Drive, and interval sync of online files, have a look at overGrive.



  • Add the Grive Tools PPA to your software sources and install Grive Tools. Open a terminal window and enter:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:thefanclub/grive-tools
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grive-tools
  • Search Ubuntu Dash for Grive Setup and start the application.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions (see screenshots below)


  • Auto Sync only detects changes in your local Google Drive files and folders.  
  • Symbolic links are not supported
  • Downloading Google Documents is not yet possible.
  • Very long filenames or filenames containing special characters can cause sync problems and prevent your sync from completing successfully. 


  • To un-install Grive Tools simply remove via the Ubuntu Software Center or from command line with : sudo apt-get remove grive-tools
  • Installation log files can be found at : ~/.grive-setup.log 
  • For detailed logs after each sync see ~/.grive-last-sync.log
  • The application has been tested on Ubuntu 12.10, 13.04, 13.10, 14.04 and 14.10 - 64bit and 32bit.

Translators Wanted:

  • We are in the process of adding translations for Grive Tools
  • If you would like to contribute and assist in translating the software please contact us.
  • Extra languages we would like to support listed below, but all other languages are also welcome.

    • Urdu
    • Bengali

How to setup Google Drive using Grive Tools :

1. Getting Started - Launch Grive Setup.

  • Start the application from the dash by searching for Grive Setup


2. Sign in to Google Drive and allow the Grive app.

  • Once Grive is installed, you will be asked to give Grive permission to access your Google Drive.

  • When you click Next a browser window should open and present you with Google Login page.
  • Log in to your Google Account.

  • You will then be asked to give Grive permission to access you Google Drive.
  • Click Accept to continue.

  • You will then be give a Google authentication code to copy and paste into the Grive Setup box provided. 

  • Copy the code from your browser and paste in the Grive Setup box. 


3. Watch your Google Drive files appear on your Desktop.

  • If everything went well,  your Google Drive folder will open and your files will be downloaded from your Google Drive. 
  • Please note that this first sync can take a long time especially if you have a lot of files stored on Google Drive.

  • When the first sync is complete the installer will quit.


4. The Google Drive indicator and desktop launcher icon.

  • After installation you will find a Google Drive and Google Drive Indicator launcher icons in your Dash.
  • Click on the Google Drive Indicator to start.
  • Drag the Google Drive icon to your Unity launcher.

  • You will then be able to right-click and view the menu options.


5. How To Synchronize your Google Drive.

  • All options for Grive Tools are available from the application Indicator menu.
  • Click on the Google Drive Indicator in your dash to start the indicator for the first time. (See step 4 before)
  • Auto Sync is ON by default so no need to sync manually. If new files are copied to your Google Drive folder or file are changed, these files will automatically be uploaded to your Google Drive online after a few seconds.
  • If you prefer to manually synchronize your Google Drive folder, simply de-select  Auto Sync and click on Sync Now from the Google Drive Indicator menu. 


6. Google Drive Indicator Preferences

  • From the application indicator menu you can select your preferences.

  • Lubuntu / LXDE users and users that use Light Themes need to select the Prefer Light Icon Theme or they might not be able to see the default white application indicator icon as shown below.

  • Just click on the white icon, select preferences and select Prefer Light Icon Theme


7. Gnome Indicator Display on Top Bar (optional)

  • For users that prefer to have the application indicators displayed on the the top bar of Gnome Desktop can do so by installing the TopIcons Gnome Shell Extension.
  • Simply visit the Gnome Extensions page at https://extensions.gnome.org/extension/495/topicons 
  • Click on the toggle switch to enable the extension. You might need to log out en back in before the changes will take effect or use Alt+F2 and r as the command and press enter.



is it possible to change the

is it possible to change the sync folder?

Currently it is not possible,

Currently it is not possible with Grive Tools, but with our new project overGrive it is.

- Version 1.1 Released :

- Version 1.1 Released : Added Google Drive Application Indicator, Auto Sync feature, Preferences as well as light icon theme support. Users updating from version 1.0 should first un-install the previous version before installing version 1.1

Now it works very well for me

Now it works very well for me on Ubutnu 13.04! But there are two questions left for me: - Is there a multiple Folder-Support now included? - Does it also work with Debian? Thanks! Great Tool!

Great to hear Max. Yes -

Great to hear Max. Yes - multiple folders are supported and it should work on Debian, but it has not been tested.

Grive Tools PPA Launched :

Grive Tools PPA Launched : You can now add the Grive Tools PPA to you software sources and stay up to date with the latest releases. https://launchpad.net/~thefanclub/+archive/grive-tools

Thanks! Works like it should

Thanks! Works like it should and the instructions were simple!

- Version 1.2 Released : -

- Version 1.2 Released : Grive install from GitHub removed. Setup updated to install Grive 0.3.0 from the Grive Tools PPA. Instructions updated. Ubuntu 12.04 not supported in this PPA release because of Grive dependencies on json-c and yajl preventing a launchpad build of the latest code for Ubuntu 12.04. For Ubuntu 12.04 installation instructions visit : http://www.thefanclub.co.za/content/how-install-grive-tools-ubuntu-1204-64bit

I have added the ppa, but do

I have added the ppa, but do not see the 1.2 update for precise. IS there a way to use 1.2 with 12.04 ?

Ubuntu 12.04 is not

Ubuntu 12.04 is not officially supported as explained in the instructions above. Version 1.2 is for 12.10 and later. See http://www.thefanclub.co.za/node/151 for Ubuntu 12.04 instructions.

Will this pick up symilnks in

Will this pick up symilnks in the Grive folder pointing at other files / directories?

Symlinks are not yet

Symlinks are not yet supported in Google Drive

I just installed the new 1

I just installed the new 1.2beta on my second PC. Now it only sync a single Folder and says sync is done. Tried to sync a second time but the client wont sync the folders and files..

Re-Run the Grive Setup again

Re-Run the Grive Setup again and do a new setup deleting the local Google Drive folder. The first sync can take some time, wait for it to finish before syncing a second PC. It does work on more than one PC.

Ok. Everythings works fine

Ok. Everythings works fine now. I was just a little bit unpatient. ;) But I have the feeling that the PC slows down a lot while the Sync. Grive needs to sync 45+gb for me, so my PC is one hole day slow. Is that a known issue?

Grive builds a view of all

Grive builds a view of all files and folders that need to be synced bi-directionally. If you have thousands of files this can take while to do on-line, especially on the first sync depending on your connection speed. The computer itself should not be slow. The more complicated your sub-folder structure and number of files - the longer things take on the first sync.

- Version 1.3 Released :

- Version 1.3 Released : Fixed grive progress issue. Fixed multiple grive instance issue. Improved Setup. The Grive Tools PPA contains versions for Ubuntu 12.10 - 13.10. For Ubuntu 12.04 installation instructions visit : http://www.thefanclub.co.za/content/how-install-grive-tools-ubuntu-1204-64bit

i prefer selective sync,

i prefer selective sync, because of lot of file in my GDrive, it's possible to make this feature?

Heh. I was writing a client

Heh. I was writing a client very similar to this in Java after InSync started charging but I see you guys beat me to it. Looks good. Good job, guys! I like it. This just wraps around the CLI grive program, right? How did you do the timing to detect Cloud-side file modifications? It was easy on client side and that's where my production stopped. Lol

Thank you. Yes is wraps Grive

Thank you. Yes is wraps Grive. Cloud-side file mod notifications are not yet implemented, only local Google Drive folder changes. Files from the cloud side changes get synced when a local sync is initiated for now.

Maybe - currently per file

Maybe - currently per file and folder selection is not possible. Grive tools does synchronizes only files and folders that have changed.

Is there a way of changing

Is there a way of changing the Folder's icon to the Google Drive's Icon?

Yes you can. Simply right

Yes you can. Simply right click on the folder icon and select properties. Click on the current icon to replace it with a new icon.

- Version 1.4 Released :

- Version 1.4 Released : Fixed Ubuntu 13.10 install issue

This guide is on of the

This guide is one of the easiest to follow and I ( a complete Windows toxic) have managed to have it working in no time!!! Thanks a lot!!!

Great work!! Are you thinking

Great work!! Are you thinking in allow multiple login feature like in the android app?? Would be fantastic if I could sync my personal and my work accounts.

Good idea, maybe in a future

Good idea, maybe in a future release.

Is grive itself being

Is grive itself being developed? I installed version 0.3.0-1+git20131016~thefanclub~saucy1 but github says last commits to grive happened in May, which puzzles me a bit. Also, is it possibleto change the folder to sync to?

Hi Tomas, the date on the

Hi Tomas, the date on the grive build we did was just a snapshot date, it does not refer to commits in github. To answer your question - yes, Grive is being taken over by another group of developers that will continue the development work. Currently changing the folder is not possible.

Hi, thank you for your great

Hi, thank you for your great app. It is better than google-drive-ocaml for my use; it is simpler and faster to use. I'd like to ask one more feature, i.e., no animation light theme. The indication icon on the right above seems to keep animating, even when I am not editing files in Google Drive folder. Thanks!

Is it possible to limit the

Is it possible to limit the size of the synced files, to prevent syncing big files saved in the google cloud ? thanks

No, per file settings not

No, per file settings not available yet.

Hi, I'm new to Ubuntu, I'm

Hi, I'm new to Ubuntu, I'm using Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, the application is very good and useful for my works... I have setup everything as per the instruction in an Administrator user account, but I cannot do that in a standard user account, I provide the administrator password when it asked for but still not accepting the password... please guide me on this

Just log in and install as

Just log in and install as the user you want to use the software - no need to switch users. Use sudo as per instructions and enter the users password when asked not the admin users password.

Why only some folders are

Why only some folders are synced? How can I change that?

All files and folders in the

All files and folders in the Google Drive folder will be synced. No way to change this.

Hi! I installed Grive a

Hi! I installed Grive a couple of weeks ago (Ubuntu version 13.10) and it worked perfetly fine the first week, but now the synchronisation with the web application stopped, so that I end up with a different set of files on my computer and in the cloud. When clicking on "Visit Google Drive on the web", it get to my Drive account, so it doesn't seem to be a problem related to using a wrong user account. Grive is, however, happily synchronising, I just don't know with what :) Has this occurred before Many thanks!

Just delete the local google

Just delete the local google drive folder and run the setup again to start fresh. Make sure the first sync is done before making any changes.

I have complete the

I have complete the instalation. However, it does not completely sync all files in my google drive. My google drive has around 35 GBs, and it downloads around 15 GBs only.

35GB will take many hours to

35GB will take many hours to sync even on a fast line. You need to let it complete the first sync then everything should be there. If you have more than 16000 folders it will not sync all because of a linux kernel limitation in monitoring folders (this can be increased if needed)

Excellent app. Is it possible

Excellent app. Is it possible to selectively synchronise folders? Or will this possibly be a future feature? Our company uses Google drive and we currently have gigs and gigs of data

When there will be support

When there will be support for shared folders? I mean folders what other users have shared to "my" usage from behind of their accounts.

When enough people donate

When enough people donate towards the development work.

any updates on changing the

any updates on changing the sync folder? i have a larger drive where i like to sync files to and this would be helpful option in preferences or during initial grive setup. thanks.

Not at present. If you donate

Not at present. If you donate towards the development work I will be able to make the time.

Sync with non-default account

Just a quick tip. The grive-setup script uses xdg-open to open the google/grive authentication URL. This opens the URL with the default web browser, which on my computer is google chrome logged into my personal google account. I want my google drive to be synchronised with my work account, so I imply copied the URL from the URL bar, opened a chrome browser logged in as my work google account and opened the URL. This then linked grive to the work account. You can use the same trick with different browsers to determine which google account your drive is connected to. However you can only have one drive and one account linked.


Hello man, can you provide a git link ? I'm under Archlinux and i realy love use it

Grive Git link

Grive Tools is not available on Git but you can have a look at the Grive code at : git://github.com/Grive/grive.git

Change default folder

Very good work! I only hope that in future change of default folder will be possible (even if I need to manually edit setting file).


Try to make link, man :)

Google Document files

Hi, Regarding syncing Google Document files (spreadsheet, etc) have you thought of integrating the functionality of Ooo2gd into your code? Though I believe some of the code needs fixing due to Google changing their APIs. https://code.google.com/p/ooo2gd/

Google Document Files

Hi Shaun - good idea, we will hopefully have the functionality in a future release.

Start Sync from command line

How do I start a manual sync from the command line?

Grive Command line

Navigate to your Google Drive folder after setup and run grive. See http://www.lbreda.com/grive/installation.

well done

Thanks a lot for this google sync application. It works out of the box. Greetings form germany

* Version 1.5 Released -

- Fixed Ubuntu 14.04 application icon display issue. - Fixed icon animation issue. - Converted application icons to svg. - Added translation support. - Added translations for Afrikaans, Spanish, French, German, Russian and Japanese.

* Version 1.7 Released -

- Added translations for Portuguese, Italian and Arabic.

Great tool, many thanks. I found problem...

Great tool, many thanks. I found problem with syncing on Ubuntu 13.10. Grive confirms that sync is compieted, but Grive folder doesn’t show changes made on the Google Drive on the web, and vice versa, new files visible in Grive folder are not found in the web.

Out of Sync

Hi Mike. If you add files to Google Drive online it will only sync if you do a manual Sync Now, or on the next auto sync. If you add file in your local Google Drive folder - if Auto Sync is on, it should sync to Google Drive online, and also download new files added online. Did you install Grive from our PPA ? Are you using the latest version of Grive Tools ? If all else fails - it is best to run Grive Setup again and delete the local Google Drive folder and start fresh. Make sure the first sync is complete before doing anything else.


Hi there, nice work! The only thing that doesn't work for me under gnomebuntu 13.10 is the indicator menu at the top right menu. Anyways, sync runs well. thank you for that.

Gnome Desktop Top Menu

Gnome Desktop places the application indicators on the bottom status menu by default. You will need to use a Gnome Shell Extension to move the icons to the top menu. Two Gnome Extensions to try would be 'AppIndicator Support' or 'TopIcons'


Google Dive on windows keeps the sycncing process bidirectional. When I was used to use windows (I happily switched to Ubuntu since a couple of months ago) I used G-drive to keep 2 PC synchronised via G-drive. Sort of a team-working. When I changed a file on my pc, the change was sent to G-drive and then to the other PC, that this way was kept synchronized with my pc. I'm talking of just a folder, of course. Any hope to have, in the future, the same feature here on Grive?

Bi Directional Sync

Grive does do Bi-Directional Sync. The auto-sync feature of Grive Indicator will sync all changes from you local computer to Google Drive automatically. But changes on Google Drive Online will not be synced automatically. You will need to do a manual sync by selecting 'Sync Now' from the menu on your PC to sync the changes from Google Drive online to your machine.

License? Source Code?

Hi, this looks great, but what about non-ubuntu linux users (e.g: Fedora)? I would love to test it and maybe add some code to it. Is it free/open source? Where can I see the code? Thanks, and keep the good work!

License and Code

The program is published under the GPL v.3 license. The code for Grive Tools is available from Launchpad, and the source code for Grive is available on GitHub.

* Version 1.8 Released

Added translation for Serbian and Dutch. Fixed Sync Animation Bug.

* Version 1.9 Released

Fixed application indicator icon size issue for Xubuntu / Xfce desktop.

Grive notification not shown after 14.04 updates

Hello I love Grive Tools but after the last 3 major overhauls of 14.04 grive indicator stoped shown, both on unity and cinnamon, can you lease check it out?

14.04 Updates

It does work with the latest updates of 14.04. Make sure you have the latest version of Grive Tools 1.9 installed and after updates, just restart the Grive Indicator.

Not synching

After my initial install yesterday it uploaded everything from my computer. i have added several files, it says the upload is complete, but the files are not on Drive. What can I do? Thanks

More info

Garyk. Just restart the program and click Sync Now. It should work. Where did you add the files ? Local or online ?

Only syncs the last 5 folders

Why does it only syncs the recent folders? I've installed it on Mint 16 and only the last 5 modified folders are downloaded to my computer. Is there something I'm missing?

Mint 16

The program has been tested on Ubuntu only. Grive supports up to 16 000 folders/subfolders. Did you wait for the first sync to complete during setup ? Are you using the latest version of Grive Tools ? Delete all local files then run setup again and wait for all files to sync before using the indicator.

"E: Unable to locate package grive-tools"

Grive package did install succesfully. But grive-tools didn't. I get "E: Unable to locate package grive-tools".

Unable to locate package grive-tools

Hi Mohamed. See the instructions for Ubuntu 12.04 installation. Grive Tools is not available for Ubuntu 12.04 from the PPA.

doesnt upsync

I can get sync down from google drive but not the other way - I tried reset up but it broke the install entirely using Ubuntu 14.04


Hi Dan. You cannot break the install. Just run Grive Setup again and when asked delete the Google Drive folder and start again. Wait for first Sync to complete before trying to add anything to your local Google Drive folder for upload.

* Version 1.10 Released

- Added Czech and Polish translations.

Doesn't work on multiple system accounts

First of all great work. Finally Google Drive on Ubuntu! I found some issues like the manual server-side sync issue that already has been reported here. However a bigger issue is that it doesn't work for multiple system accounts (i.e. Ubuntu accounts): I have set up Grive on my (Ubuntu) account; both sync and indicator work well. Next I login to my wife's account and start Grive Setup there. I connect to Google Drive with another Google account and the setup seems to be OK. However there is no sync between the local account and the Google Drive account. When I start the Grive Indicator I see the mouse pointer change for a few seconds and then nothing. Logout and login doesn't help. I rebooted the machine and directly logged into my wife's account. Both sync and indicator worked well. However when I switched to my own (Ubuntu) account I noticed that both sync and indicator didn't work anymore for my account! So it seems the Grive functionality stops working when logging in to another account.

Multiple system accounts

Hi Jeroen, when switching accounts while grive is running will cause your problem. It will not allow another instance of Grive or the indicator to start. Exit the indicator before switching to the other account and see if that works. Also make sure a sync is not in progress when switching accounts.

You save my day

Thanks for your step by step post. I followed and now is working prefect on my note vaio. Unfortunately UbuntuOne is being closed and now I have to move from it. This post made it possible. Once again, CONGRATZ! Van Bastos (Ubuntu user since 2007) from Brazil - Come to see FIFA CUP. hahaha


Auto sync in Google Drive directory doesn't work if i add or modify a file, any helps ?

autosync issue

Hi Claudio. Make sure your Ubuntu version is up to date. Some important files have changed with Ubuntu 14.04 not long ago. Also do not add files to the Google Drive folder before the first sync is done during install. You can also send us your log files - see instructions for location. What version of Ubuntu are you using and what desktop?

Ubuntu 14.04 - Error while intalling

Hi, I'm note skillful on Linux and was confort to UbuntuOne now they will shut it down (too bad) I have installed using this tutorial on Ubuntu 13.10 on my Notebook and is running good. Now while installing on My Desktop running Ubuntu 14.04, I got this error msg: Erros foram encontrados durante o processamento de: /var/cache/apt/archives/grive_0.3.0-1+git20131016~thefanclub~trusty1_i386.deb E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1) Could somebody help me? Thanks in Advance. Van Bastos - Brazil.

Install problem on 14.04

Hi Van Bastos. Make sure you run : sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade before installing grive.

change accounts/multiple g-drive accounts?

Is it possible to change the g-drive account once it's set up? Or add another account to it somehow? I re-installed it, and it went to the same account automatically.

Change Account

Hi Sevil. Just run Grive Setup again and delete the current Google Drive local folder to set up a new account. You cannot add another account at present.

Installation of Grive Tools on Ubuntu 14.04 PowerPC version

I followed the installation instructions but it failed thus: "The following packages have unmet dependencies. grive-tools : Depends: grive (>= 0.3) but it is not going to be installed E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages." Is there a later (beta?) version of Grive available which I can use instead of the official 0.2 variant?


Hi, My question is kind of silly. Is the data transfer between the google's online server and Grive similar in terms of security as the official client application. I wanted to make sure that the data exchange was at least matching the official app in terms of security. Either way, I think you have an awesome application!

Can Grive Tools delete?

If I remove files from Google drive will it delete them locally? I keep finding long deleted files re-uploaded.

Local file delete

Yes it should.

* Version 1.11 - Released

Slovak, Hindi, Kazakh, Bulgarian, Swedish and Greek translations added.

Linux Mint 17 MATE & Grive Toots

Thanks for contributing the GT for us all! Using the MATE desktop, the Google Drive Indicator icon will appear in the Indication Area; if one is using the light theme there will just be a space. Clicking into the space will make the menu pop-up, which allows to configure the Preferences and check the "Prefer Light Theme" option.

Excellent work

I just though I'd say thank you and well done, this is a great tool - filling a much needed gap in Google's software.

impressive work

very nice. just works. thank you very much!

Installation fails on 14.10

Hi, there is a dependancy problem in kubuntu 14.10 version. Seems that it requires for some reason 2 versions of binutils at the same time, which generally prevents grive from being installed.

Ubuntu 14.10 - binutils

The issues with binutils on Ubuntu 14.10 has been resolved.

its worked for me

I tested it on my 14.04LTS it it worked for me

* Version 1.12 - Released

Added Korean, Hungarian, Brazilian Portuguese and improved Spanish translations.

Grive on Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce

Thank you very much for the amazing work!!! Now I can drop Dropbox and use only Google Drive :D Works fine on Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce :)

It works well

This is a lot for me and it works well on my ubuntu 14.04.

multiple accounts

Thank you for this great tool! I hope Google will buy the code from you. Is it possible to sync from multiple Google accounts? Can overGrive do that?

Multiple Google Accounts

@Bernard, thank you. Multiple Google Accounts are not supported on Grive Tools or overGrive. Maybe in the near future.

* Version 1.14 - Released

Added translations for Chinese (Traditional) and Chinese (Simplified).

* Version 1.15 - Released

- Added translations for Nepali and Malay


This really is making me very, very happy. Thanks for this wonderful app!


This is the tool I always wanted, and I find out about it too late. Oh well.