How to access your Google Drive account using overGrive

Despite revealing way back in 2012 that they are working on a Linux client for their Drive cloud storage service, Google is yet to launch it. Thankfully, there are several third-party clients available that can do the job for you. If you are looking for a decent Google Drive client for Linux, you've come to the right place as we've already covered a couple of clients - Grive and Gdrive - here at HowtoForge.

Not limiting our coverage on the topic to just two clients, here in this tutorial, we'll be discussing another Google Drive Linux client dubbed overGrive. Before we proceed with our explanation on this tool, please keep in mind that all the commands and instructions mentioned in this article have been tested on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.


Despite starting as a GUI-based front-end to Grive, the OverGrive project is now not in any way related to the former. Unlike the clients we've covered here at HowtoForge so far, overGrive is neither open source nor a free software (and as already mentioned, it's not command-line based as well).

This means that you'll have to purchase the software if you want to use it. Thankfully, the client comes with a free 2-weeks trial for users to judge whether or not its worth spending money on. 


To install the software on your Ubuntu machine, first download the relevant package from the tool's official website. The downloaded package will be in the form of a .deb file which you can install either using Ubuntu Software Center or the dpkg command.

Installation through the Software Center is very easy - just double-click the .deb file icon to open the file in Software Center, and once there, click the Install button. Of course, the tool will ask you to provide administrator password in order to proceed with the installation.

overGrieve in Ubuntu Software Center

As for the dpkg method, the following command should do the job for you:

sudo dpkg -i [your-deb-file-name-here]

For example, in my case, the command would have been:

sudo dpkg -i overgrive_3.2.3_all.deb

Note: Aside from Ubuntu, the tool supports many other Linux distributions, including Debian, Mint, Raspbian, CentOS, Fedora, openSUSE, and Arch Linux. And as for supported Linux desktop environments, the list includes Unity, Gnome, KDE, Xfce, Cinnamon, and LXDE. The tool supports a number of different languages as well - for the complete list, head to the official website.

Following is a special note the overGrive website contains for users of Ubuntu 16.04 OS: "Ubuntu 16.04 users note that after installation with the new Gnome Software Center, it could report: Could not find 'overgrive', but the software is installed correctly if your search for the application.".

overGrieve Setup and Features

Once installed successfully, you can launch the tool from Unity Dash. When you'll launch the tool for the first time, you'll be asked to setup and authenticate your Google Drive Folder. Click the Connect account.... button in the window below to initiate the process and follow all the steps carefully in order to complete it successfully.

overGrieve setup

After the authentication process is successfull, you'll see a trial period notification window. 

Trial Period window

Just click the Continue button here. And in the following window click the Start Sync button.

overGrieve Sync

You'll see that the overGrive icon will now appear in the system tray:

overGrieve in System Tray

So as you can see, you can configure overGrive to Sync Now or keep it in Auto Sync mode. Should you require, you can open your Google Drive folder that the tool creates locally (stuff that you want to be synced to Google Drive should be kept here), and even visit the Web client of the cloud storage service. 

Following are the preference options overGrive provides:

preference Options

Moving on, overGrive offers several features - following are the ones listed on the official website:

  • Auto Sync Google Drive to your computer
  • Auto Sync Local Files to Google Drive
  • Select Google Drive Folder
  • Select Google Drive Folders to Sync
  • Convert Google Docs to Office File Formats for offline editing
  • Convert Office Files back to Google Docs formats
  • Sync Multiple Accounts
  • Support

While overGrive - as mentioned in the list above - allows you to sync multiple accounts, you need to have a separate license for each account. Also, the ability to convert Office files back to Google Docs formats is only there for original Google Documents.

Here are some other noteworthy points about overGrive:

  • Files in your Shared with me folder will only be synced if they are dragged to My Drive on Google Drive online. Only files and folders in your My Drive will be synced.
  • Before syncing for the first time, the developers of the tool suggest you clear all Trash files from your Google Drive online.
  • It is important to allow overGrive to finish the first sync completely. If the first sync does not complete it will open the overGrive setup screen again on restart. You can simply select Start Sync again to complete the synchronization process.
  • Gnome desktop 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 - for more info, head here.

And here are some of the known overGrive limitations that you should keep in mind as well:

  • The tool doesn't support symbolic links.
  • Forward slash ( / ) symbol in filenames isn't supported as well.
  • Google Drawings converted to SVG or other local file formats cannot be edited and converted back to Google Drawings format. This does not apply for the other Google Docs formats.
  • Google Maps and Google Forms are not supported.


Agreed, overGrive is a paid software, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth it. Individuals may prefer free and open source software, but organizations usually go for paid stuff in part due to the dedicated support that's mostly included with the product.

The good thing about overGrive is that it lets you access most of its features during the trial period. This should give you a clear idea about how good the software is, and whether or not you should shell out the $4.99 amount that developers ask for each license.

Did you ever use overGrive? How was your experience? You're welcome to share all the valuable details in comments below.

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15 Comment(s)

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By: Chris

carpola app, works 'fine' only under ubuntu, uses outdated libs, **avoid**

By: unger

Not so. I have no outdated libs. Worked ok few months and at march removed almost all files. I've restored files from backup(it's lucky), and overgrive removed files again. Appealed in support. It took more than a week, I did not receive an answer.

By: Matthew

Same here. Although the developer responds, he could offer no explanation, just kept copying and pasting the same garbage solution.

By: Jack

I've been using it for a year syncing about 400 GB of data on two accounts on home server running Lubuntu. Does the job. I'd tried several other free open-source Google Drive sync programs that were not automatic (you had to manually sync up and down) or would mount remotely, and they just were headaches (HUGE headaches) to deal with on a daily basis. OverGrive has been a heaven-send for a measly $4.99 per account. (It's the cost of a burger, guys!) Highly recommend! It's not without its issues but they are FAR fewer and between than the other sync/mount programs' issues I've dealt with. I'll take (and recommend) OverGrive anyday.

By: Mattie

It does work well, but as with any third party app or mod, it can and does break from time to time when dependencies change suddenly. This is the same caveat as applies to any Linux solution. As with any sync application, local backups are a good idea for any important elements. Google need to release an API of gsutil quality. Google drive is problematic on all platforms, but if you have to try overGrive on your distro, see what it does when folders are re-arranged.....  


By: unger

good way for lost your drive data. Be careful.

By: Bad OverGrive

I purchased OverGrive over a year ago and for a while, was pleased. After an Ubuntu update, it stopped working, so I emailed support. After a few emails, it was again working, but last week, after another Ubuntu update, it again stopped working.


I emailed support, waited a couple days, and received no answer.


I emailed a second time, waited again, no answer.


Three emails, days since, no response.


Today I received this:


Subject: Re: overGrive again not working

From: Christiaan Diedericks <[email protected]>  

Date: Mon, Jun 12, 2017 1:59 pm


Wow - try and get Google or Apple to respond to emails


Yep, I agree with Christian. They're no Google or Apple.


Don't waste your time or money.

By: Rafal

Issues on Fedora  after initial configuration , status icon is missing in TOPIcons extension bar t o Fedora 26 Gnome. SO there is no way to change the overGrive preferences be cause there is no icon at the bar.

By: Matthew

I started noticing files in my trash that I had no intention of deleting, and when I looked at the file activity logs in the Google Drive web client, Overgrive was always attributed as what moved them there. I had deleted my trash several times while trying to clear up space before I noticed the problem, so who knows what I ended up losing. I couldn't remove Overgrive from my computer fast enough. Going to give Insync a shot.

By: Kiko Pavón

After a while Overgrive deleted so many folders of my Google Drive, created a lot of duplicates, and stop syncing. It was just a mess. When i mail them asking for help Christiaan Diedericks shouted at me: DO NOT WASTE OUR TIME. And then the only explanation I had was "keep trying". So, the software it is cheap but it sucks, the developer has no manners whatsoever, and it might create a mess on your Drive. My strong advice is DO NOT BUY IT.

By: Vaibhav

I purchased overgrive as the trial did not work. However, OverGrive fails to download the files of the selected folder. Also, bear in mind, that the developer doesn't seem support the Paid Customers as well.

I received my licence key only after raising dispute at paypal.

Now, when i need support as OverGrive does not work as advertized, the developer does not reply to emails.

I feel cheated by this developer.

Please don't buy OverGrive.

Note: Running on Lubuntu 17.10

By: Deepak

I tried installing it several times --both through command line and through software center. The software gets installed but when I click on the icon, it just doesn't launch. I have emailed the support a couple of days ago, but I didn't get any response.

I've been wanting to like this software....but just too many glitches...  On one of the machines I use, it repeatedly tries to sync my entire google drive (I just want to sync one folder with my most important documents).  Recently I also discovered 8 copies of the same document, so rather than "syncing" I realized it continually creates a new document whenever it syncs to the same document from different computers in the same google drive.  My experience with help have been similar to what's posted here.  I keep getting the same exact response... remove 2 hidden files from google drive directory, clear trash on google drive on line and reload...which doesn't help.  Sadly, I'm moving on to try something else, but only out $5 at least.  Even if this seems to work at first, it will only cause headaches on down the line and there is virtually no customer support.... 

By: Gerald

I have only used it for a day on Ubuntu 18.04. So far so good.

By: Mike

I tested overGrive by uploading a folder to my Google drive containing a few files and one sub folder also containing a few files; total size 1.1 Mb. At first all went well, so I made small modifications to 3 files, and found it updated 2 of them but left the 3rd untouched. I tried making a more major change to the 3rd file but it still didn't update it. Later in the day I found it had copied the original folder to my drive again, as a sub folder of the  folder it had copied to the drive originally. Deleting the extra folder resulted in it being copied again. I tried restarting overGrive, only to find it was no longer connected to my Google drive and wanted me to jump through all the hoops again to get connected. So much for overGrive.