HOWTO: Use 'rclone' to Upload Data

rclone is a tool that can be used to upload and download files to a cloud storage (like Microsoft OneDrive, BuckeyeBox) from the command line. It's shipped as a standalone binary, but requires some user configuration before using. In this page, we will provide instructions on how to use rclone to upload data to OneDrive. For instructions with other cloud storage, check rclone Online documentation.


Before configuration, please first log into OSC OnDemand and request a Pitzer VDI session. Walltime of 1 hour should be sufficient to finish the configuration.  

Note: this does not work with the 'konqueror' browser present on OSC Systems. Please set default to Firefox first before you do the setup following the instructions below:
* xfce: Applications (Top left corner) -> Settings -> Preferred Applications
* mate: System (top bar towards the left) -> Preferences -> Preferred Applications

Once the session is ready, open a terminal. In the terminal, run the command

rclone config

It prompts you with a bunch of questions:

  • It shows "No remotes found -- make a new one" or list available remotes you made before
    •  Answer "n" for "New remote"
  • "name>" (the name for the new remote)
    • Type "OneDrive" (or whatever else you want to call this remote)
  • "Storage>" (the storage type of the new remote)
    • This should display a list to choose from. Enter the number corresponding to the "Microsoft OneDrive" storage type, which is "26".
    • (It is "6" for BuckeyeBox)
  • "client_id>"
    • Leave this blank (just press enter).
  • "client_secret>"
    • Leave this blank (just press enter).
  • "Edit advanced config?"
    • Type "n" for no
  • "Use auto config?"
    • Answer "y" for yes
  • A web browser window should pop up allowing you to log into box. It is a good idea at this point to verify that the url is actually OneDrive before entering any credentials 
    • Enter your OSU email
    • This should take you to the OSU login page. Login with your OSU credentials 
    • Go back to the terminal once "Success" is displayed.
  • "Your choice>"
    • One of five options to locate the drive you wish to use.
    • Type "1" to use your personal or business OneDrive
  • "Choose drive to use"
    • Type "0"
  • "Is this Okay? y/n>"
    • Type "y" to confirm the drive you wish to use is correct.
  • "y/e/d>"
    • Type "y" to confirm you wish to add this remote to rclone.

Testing rclone

Note: you do not need to use Pitzer VDI when you run 'rclone'. You can test the data transfer with a small file using login nodes (either Pitzer or Owens), or request a regular compute node to do the data transfer with large files. 

Create an empty hello.txt file and upload it to OneDrive using 'rclone copy' as below in a terminal:

touch hello.txt
rclone copy hello.txt OneDrive:/test

This creates a toplevel directory in OneDrive called 'test' if it does not already exist, and uploads the file hello.txt to it.

To verify the uploading is successful, you can either login to OneDrive in a web browser to check the file, or use rclone ls command in the terminal as:

rclone ls OneDrive:/test
Note: be careful when using ls on a large directory, because it's recursive. You can add a '--max-depth 1' flag to  to stop the recursion.