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How to Mount Your Microsoft OneDrive in Linux

Imagine having your Microsoft OneDrive mounted like any other part of your Linux file system. With onedriver you’re not reduced to using OneDrive in your browser. Here’s how to set it up.

Microsoft OneDrive and onedriver

Microsoft’s OneDrive comes in several flavors. There’s a free-to-use version for home and personal use which gives you 5GB of cloud storage. You can buy more storage if you need to. OneDrive for Business can be purchased as a subscription or is included in other subscriptions such as the Microsoft 365 range of services.

Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive share a common drawback. Neither one has a native Linux client. To address that shortfall, configuring the details of your Google account in GNOME’s Online Accounts settings allows the file browser to directly access your Google Drive, which is very useful.

The onedriver application provides the same type of easy access to your Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage. Your OneDrive will appear in the locations sidebar of the file browser, and as a regular directory in the terminal window.

An important point to note is that onedriver isn’t a file sync tool, it provides working access directly to your OneDrive files. Create a file locally on your Linux computer and it’ll appear in your OneDrive. Take a photo with OneDrive on your smartphone and it’ll be accessible on your Linux machine. That might sound like syncing, but it isn’t quite.

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The difference becomes apparent when you open and work on files. Because onedriver isn’t a sync tool, there’s no lengthy sync process to complete before you can use your files. Your files are accessible immediately. Files are only downloaded when you access them. If the file has been modified in OneDrive since you last used it locally, it is downloaded again.

Changes that you make to existing files—and new files that you create—are reflected in your OneDrive. However, if the same file has been modified on your local computer and in OneDrive, the next time you use that file locally the modified copy from OneDrive will not be downloaded. This prevents local changes from being lost. The two sets of changes won’t be merged.

Because of this, onedriver is best suited for use with private, unshared OneDrive accounts where you’ll be the only person editing your documents.

Installing onedriver

On Manjaro, you can install onedriver from the Arch User Repository (AUR). To do that you’ll need to install a suitable tool. yay works well. If you don’t have yay installed you can install it with:

sudo pacman -Sy yay

Installing yay from the Linux command line

You can then use yay to install onedriver . Note that you don’t use sudo with yay .

yay onedriver

Installing onedriver from the Manjaro Linux command line

On Fedora, we install onedriver from COPR, the Cool Other Package Repo. To enable the COPR repository type:

sudo dnf copr enable jstaf/onedriver

Enabling the COPR repository on the Fedora Linux command line

And to install onedriver use dnf as usual:

sudo dnf install onedriver

Installing onedriver from the Fedora Linux command line

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Ubuntu users have a little more work to do. Enabling the repository in the normal fashion didn’t work for us, but these steps did. We were using Ubuntu 21.04.

In your web browser, navigate to the package details page of the onedriver repository.

The onedriver package download page with the arrow icon highlighted

Click on the arrowhead icon beside the package name. A list of files appears.

List of onedrive package files, with the ARM architecture option highlighted

Click on, and download, the appropriate “.deb” file for your architecture. That’ll be AMD for regular desktops and ARM for “System on a Chip” devices such as a RaspberryPi.

Locate your downloaded file. If you’ve chosen the default download location, it’ll be in your “Downloads” directory.

Downloaded .deb file in the Downloads folder

Double-click on the “.deb” file to start the installation. The Ubuntu Software application launches and describes the package.

onedriver package description in the Ubuntu Software application

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Click the green “Install” button to install onedriver on your computer.

On all distributions, you’ll find onedriver in your application launcher, sporting a familiar icon.

The onedriver icon in the GNOME app launcher

Configuring onedriver

Configuring onedriver is easy. We need to create a mount point to mount your OneDrive storage on, and we need to enter the credentials for your OneDrive account.

To create the mount point, we simply create a directory. Here, we’re creating one called “onedrive” in our home directory.

mkdir OneDrive

Creating a directory at the Linux command line

Find onedriver in your application launcher and launch it. When you first start onedrive you’re met with a slightly underwhelming blank application window. Click the “+” button to add your OneDrive storage.

The unconfigured onedriver application window

A file selection window allows you to select the mount point you wish to use. Highlight the directory you created and click the green “Select” button.

Selecting the mount point in the onedriver file selection window

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You’re prompted for your OneDrive account ID. Enter it and click the blue “Next” button.

Entering the OneDrive account name in the sign in screen

If your email address is used with more than one Microsoft account, you’ll be asked to indicate which account type you’re going to link to.

Account type selection screen

Click “Work or school account” or “Personal account”.

You’re prompted for the password for the account you clicked on. Enter the password then click the blue “Sign In” button.

Entering the OneDrive account password in the password screen

Microsoft then points out that the app will have access to your OneDrive files. Click the blue “Accept” button to indicate that you understand.

onedriver permissions screen with the accept button highlghited

Depending on what security settings you’ve used with OneDrive, you may need to accept a notification sent to your smartphone.

And now, we have something in the onedriver application window.

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The new OneDrive account is listed, along with its mount point (~/onedrive). If you have multiple OneDrive storage accounts you can add several or all of them, as long as they are mounted on different mount points.

Alongside each OneDrive entry are three buttons.

  • Slider button: This mounts or unmounts your OneDrive account.
  • Tick button: Selecting this will automatically remount your OneDrive when your computer boots.
  • Trash can: This deletes your OneDrive account from onedriver.

Using onedrive

Your file browser will have a new location in its sidebar.

File browser sidebar with the OneDrive entry highlighted

The directory you’re using as a mount point will have a OneDrive logo badge on it.

onedrive mount point folder icon with a OneDrive badge on it

Entering that directory by double-clicking its icon, clicking on the location in the sidebar, or changing to that directory in a terminal window will let you access your OneDrive storage.

OneDrive files in the Linux file browser

There’s already a file called “Doc1.docx” in my OneDrive cloud storage. We’ll create another file called “Doc2.docx” and another called  “How-To Geek.docx.”

I opened the OneDrive app on my smartphone and took a photograph. After that, my onedriver directory looked like this.

onedriver directory with new files added

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The new files are present, and the uploaded photograph is available too.

These files were all accessible through the OneDrive app on my smartphone.

Android oneDrive app showing uploaded files

Opening one of the files shows the editing that was done on the Linux computer.

A file edited in Linux and uploaded to OneDrive, opened in the OneDrive Android app

Simple is Best

With onedriver your OneDrive remote storage behaves exactly like a part of your local file system. Using it feels perfectly natural and there are no special steps to interfere with your concentration. It’s just like using any other directory.

If you have OneDrive cloud storage that is languishing unused because of the lack of a Linux client, you owe it to yourself to try onedriver.

Dave McKay Dave McKay
Dave McKay first used computers in the industry when punched paper tape was in vogue and he has been programming ever since. His use of computers pre-dates the birth of the PC and the public release of Unix. He has programmed in everything from 6502 assembly to Lisp, and from Forth to C#. He is now a technology journalist and independent Data Protection and Compliance consultant. Read Full Bio »

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