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How to automate Google Drive installation using Syncdocs

The Syncdocs installation wizard asks the user for various settings about their PC and Google Drive account during setup.

If you are deploying Syncdocs for your users, you can do a fully automated installation without your users having to set up anything. No wizard is shown.

It is also easy pre-configure all the settings for your users.

Installation steps

An automated installation script typically has these steps:
1. Installing the Syncdocs.msi package on the target PC
2. (Optional) Setting advanced features in the appsettings.xml file
3. Running Syncdocs with installation parameters set on the command line.

So a simple batch file to install Syncdocs will be:

msiexec /I Syncdocs.msi /QB-
syncdocs.exe -user my_user_name@gmail.com -oauth -syncfolder C:\GDrive -IacceptTerms

The first line installs Syncdocs without asking the user for any options in the setup wizard.
The second line starts Syncdocs, specifying the username, security method (OAuth), the main sync folder to use and the acceptance of the licence terms.

More details on command line options

Specifying User and Password

-user username@domain.com specifies the user

-password secret specifies the user’s Google password as “secret”

-oauth specifies that OAuth should be used instead of the password.
OAuth will pop up a browser window asking the user to log in to their Google Account to give Syncdocs the Google Drive and Docs access. This way Syncdocs is only given the rights it needs and the Google account password does not need to be disclosed in the command line.

Note that -user is optional when -oauth is used, as Syncdocs will get this data from Google.

Agreeing to the licence terms

-IAcceptTerms To agree to the licence terms on behalf of your users, so they are not shown a dialogue asking them to.

To specify the main sync folder

-syncfolder option will set this. This will set the main sync folder to what you specify.
for example:

-syncfolder “C:\Users\My Google Drive”
or
-syncfolder “%USERPROFILE%\Some Google Files”

To add other folders (links)

To sync folders outside the main sync folder, add them via the Syncdocs menu, or specify the folders in file.

To create the links, you’ll need two things: a file with the folder names for the links and the -addpaths command:
 -addpaths “C:\Install Files\links_file.txt”

links_file.txt is a standard text file with the folders you wish to link to on each line.  For example it can contain these lines:
c:\Python
"c:\Users\User Name\Scanner\Images"
\\ServerName\ShareName\FolderName
%USERPROFILE%\GDrive

this will create links to these folders in your main sync path, equivalent to adding them via the menus.

Notes:

  • Make sure you specify the full path of this file, “C:\Install Files\links_file.txt” not just “links_file.txt”.
  • Adding links to folders that are already symlinks or junction points is not recommended.
  • Do not use a trailing slash after the folder name.
  • Links folders that don’t exist will just be skipped, but the user will be shown a warning.

Putting it together

Simple examples

Here are some example install scripts.
msiexec /I Syncdocs.msi /QB-

Install using OAuth, main folder is “d:\tmp\test one 2 3”, add the additional folders in “d:\tmp\links\links_file.txt”
Syncdocs.exe -oauth -syncfolder "D:\tmp\test one 2 3" -addpaths "d:\tmp\links\links_file.txt" -IacceptTerms

As above, but using a specified password. This will result in a completely prompt-free install for the user.
Syncdocs.exe -user my_user_name@gmail.com -password secr3t -syncfolder "D:\tmp\test one 2 3" -addpaths "d:\tmp\links\links_file.txt" -IacceptTerms

Advanced Syncdocs Settings

Not everything can be specified by the command line. The Syncdocs config, appsettings.xml , contains many more settings.

For example, to set Syncdocs as the default office suite on the system, during step 2 above in the installation, replace the line

<DefaultOfficeSuite>false</DefaultOfficeSuite>
with
<DefaultOfficeSuite>true</DefaultOfficeSuite>

Automated install tools like Altiris, or a simple find and replace on the appsettings.xml file can change these settings.

You may also with to copy a pre-configured appsettings.xml file during step 2 of the installation.

Notes

  1. A sample install script is shown below.
  2. This sample and a sample uninstall script and config file are available here.
  3. Make sure that the user has access to destination folder.
  4. You need Syncdocs version 4.27 or above.
  5. Syncdocs is a .NET app. If it is the first time a .NET app like Syncdocs has been run on the PC, it may take a few seconds for Windows to initialise it.
  6. Environment variables are supported on the command line and in the links file.
  7. Syncdocs needs access to the Internet in order to work. You may need to setup a fire wall rule via “NETSH advfirewall firewall add rule name …” in order for it to work.

A sample install script

rem Batch File to demonstrate installing Syncdocs
rem The script has 3 stages:
rem 1. Install the msi package without any user intervention
rem 2. Optional. Copy the config files with any pre-configured settings
rem 3. Set user, password, agree to TOS and run Syncdocs

rem  Stage 1
rem  Run the installer in quite mode.
msiexec /I Syncdocs.msi /QB-
rem  For “all users” on the PC: msiexec /I Syncdocs.msi /QB- ALLUSERS=1
rem  Syncdocs is now installed on the PC, but not set-up. If no previous setup
rem  is available, then it will ask the user for account settings etc when
rem  first run, unless it is pre-configured by copying the appsettings.xml
rem  file as shown below:

rem  Stage 2 – optional copy advanced settings file
rem  If you want to pre-configure settings for user1, fill in the xml fields
rem  you want in appsettings.xml and then copy appsettings.xml for user1,
rem  for example:
xcopy \\server\share\syncdocs\user1\appsettings.xml %APPDATA%\Syncdocs\user1@gmail.com\
rem  For Windows XP, use “%APPDATA%” instead of %APPDATA%
rem  Use a text or xml find-and-replace util or AutoIT or Altiris to set
rem  the values in the appsettings.xml file to your desire

rem  Stage 3
rem  Now run Syncdocs
rem  For Windows 7/Vista/Server 2008, the path is %LOCALAPPDATA%\Programs\Syncdocs\Syncdocs.exe
rem  For XP this will be “%ProgramFiles%”\Syncdocs\Syncdocs.exe
%LOCALAPPDATA%\Programs\Syncdocs\Syncdocs.exe -user my_user_name@gmail.com -password secr3t -syncfolder “D:\tmp\test one 2 3” -addpaths “d:\tmp\links\links_file.txt” -IacceptTerms

rem  If you wish to use OAuth (Google authentication) to give Syncdocs permissions
rem  then use -oauth instead of -password:
rem  %LOCALAPPDATA%\Programs\Syncdocs\Syncdocs.exe -oauth -IacceptTerms

rem  Troubleshooting
rem   In stage 1, make sure you have uninstalled the old version first.
rem   If you see the setup prompt after stage 3, then some settings in
rem    appsettings.xml are not valid for this PC (typically paths that do not exist).
rem    or you are installing and older .msi file, Syncdocs version 4.27 or above is
rem    required.

Syncdocs supports new Office file formats and OAuth

We’re happy to announce a new version of Syncdocs, version 4.1.

What’s new?

Google recently announced that they will be dropping support for exporting older Microsoft Office formats. Syncdocs has been updated to reflect this Google change.

Syncdocs also now supports the Google OAuth 2 protocol. This means that you can authenticate/de-authenticate Syncdocs using the standard Google permissions console.

Syncdocs will also now support single-sign-on (SSO) solutions like OneLogin and SSOEasy.

How to upgrade

As usual your old version should ask if you want to update automatically in the next few days, if you want the fixes now, right click on the Syncdocs taskbar icon, go to Preferences -> Advanced -> “Check for Updates”

You can also download the new version and install it over the old one.
http://www.syncdocs.com/download-syncdocs

USB Portable versions

This have also been updated. Grab the version that runs from a USB stick here.

The new 64 bit portable version is still undergoing testing with Office 64 bit.

How to set up OAuth

During installation, simply click on the link shown below, rather than entering your credentials into Syncdocs:

How to switch to OAuth

In the Syncdocs Preferences, Account tab, click on the checkbox shown below:

 
 

New Syncdocs Release has Notifications, Hybrid search

We’re happy to announce a new version of Syncdocs.

What’s new:

Hybrid search combines local PC and Google Drive search results. You can open local files or Google Docs directly from the search results.
Pop-up notifications. See taskbar notifications for new shared files, or for changes by others to files you have shared.
– Your Google Contact list is backed up once a day.
– The low bandwidth mode uses less bandwidth and now only syncs every 30 minutes despite local changes.
– Syncdocs can execute an external program at the end of the sync.
– some small user interface changes and bugfixes

How to upgrade

As usual your old version should ask if you want to update automatically in the next few days, if you want the fixes now, right click on the Syncdocs taskbar icon, go to Preferences -> Advanced -> “Check for Updates”

You can also download the new version and install it over the old one.
http://www.syncdocs.com/download-syncdocs

USB Portable versions

These have also been updated. Grab the version that runs from a USB stick here. There is also a 64 bit portable version.

 

Improve Security with Two-factor Authentication for Syncdocs

As Google expands into more and more of our lives it is worth thinking about what would happen if you lost access to your Google account.

Syncdocs provides extra security: in case your Google account is hacked, your files will not be accessible and can be protected by “military strength” AES encryption. However, it is better if you don’t lose you account to hackers in the first place.

A good way to add extra security is to enable Google two-factor authentication. This lets you use your cellphone or landline as a way of recovering your password. Your account is much safer and less likely to get hacked.

Matt Cutts provides more reasons to turn it on in his blog.

Syncdocs supports accounts with two-factor. Just click on “generate password” in the “application specific” password section. You can revoke access at any time without changing your password, too.

See this how to guide for a detailed walk-through on setting things up, or look at the screen-shot below for a brief explanation:

Google Two Factor setup

Collaborate between Office 2013 and Google Apps

Using the new Microsoft Office 2013 (Office version 15) you can easily save documents to your web SkyDrive account. You can share this online document with other Office 2013 users. However, to share to the widest number of friends possible, it’s best not to force them to use a specific product.

If you have Syncdocs installed, you can easily collaborate between Office 2013 and Google Docs, in real-time. You can also collaborate between the older Office 2003, 2007 and 2010 versions using Google Docs. This is useful if your collaborators don’t all use the same product.

Here’s how to setup online collaboration using Word 2013 and Google Docs:

First install the latest free version of Syncdocs.

Then create a document in Word 2013, here we’ve just used the welcome document. Then simply save it to your Syncdocs synced folder on your desktop.

In Google Docs you can edit or share the file.

Any changes you make online are automatically synced back into your MS Word in real-time.

And Word 2013 changes are synced up to Google Docs.

This way you can easily share and collaborate on the web using any version of Office from the last 10 years and Google Docs.

One way “syncing” to Google Drive

Sometimes you only want to upload or download your files to or from Google and not do a full sync.  The main reason for doing this is backups.

Syncdocs can easily do this. In the ‘Preferences’ menu look at the options in “Customized Sync Control”.

For example, if you only want to upload files to Google, then un-check “Download Google files to this PC”.

For more info on these options, see the Google Drive Backup guide

How to sync Google Drive to SkyDrive

Syncdocs works fine in along with with SkyDrive. You can sync to both Google Docs/Drive and SkyDrive simultaneously. You can also select a subset of folders in either to sync.

Why Multiple Syncing?

There are a few reasons one might want to sync to Google Drive and SkyDrive at the simultaneously. The main reason is to get your SkyDrive files synced with Google Drive and back. This means you can easily edit SkyDrive files online, share them to anyone and access them on any device.

SkyDrive has better support to remotely access your PC than Google Drive, and it also has a more familiar Microsoft Office viewer with Office 365. Google Drive has better Google Docs integration, however.

Google Docs also provides great online collaboration and and online office suite and is accessible from more devices than SkyDrive.

You might also want to sync to multiple cloud servers for redundancy. Syncdocs uses Google Storage to store your data and SkyDrive uses Microsoft’s services.

How to Sync Google Docs to SkyDrive

You can simply select your SkyDrive folder and have it synchronize to Google Docs with Syncdocs. Here’s how:

To access the selective sync menu.

1. Right click on the Syncdocs taskbar icon, and select Preferences. Then in the folder tab, click the Select button

 

2. Click on “Add folder” and select My SkyDrive.

Note that you don’t have to Sync your entire SkyDrive folder, you can select a sub-folder inside it, too.

 

That’s it! Changes you make to stuff in SkyDrive will be synced to Google Docs and changes in Google Docs will be mirrored back to SkyDrive.

Advanced Options

You don’t have to sync the entire SkyDrive folder. You can select any sub folder or folders and only sync that to Google Drive.

This can be useful because Google gives 5GB free storage while SkyDrive gives you 7 to 25GB free.

 

Syncdocs version 3 – Even better Google drive syncing and backup

We’re happy to announce a major new version of Syncdocs, Syncdocs version 3

Improvements and New features:
– Strong encryption of files to Google Drive for enhanced privacy and security. Easily encrypt folders in Google Drive just by right clicking on the folder in Windows.
– Clearer menu options. User interface improvements bring commonly used features to main basic preferences menu, no longer confusingly hidden away.
– Very robust handling of all sorts of errors ensures your files are synced.

Minor improvements and fixes:
– mp3 playlist format compatible with more smartphone audio players.
– One click sharing of files works with Google Drive for goo.gl\xxyxx type URLs
– Better handling of files that are locked or that user is not authorized to read. These files are now just skipped with a warning and will be retried later.
– Better handling of file names with unprintable characters in them
– SSL errors from Google Drive are not interpreted as critical, and Syncdocs tries to work around them more smoothly.
– Editable sizes of files converted to Google Docs format increased to 50MB for presentations and 20MB for docs and sheets.
– New wyBuild automatic updater component, fixes update loops.

How to Update

The upgrade is free and will happen automatically. The old Syncdocs version should ask if you want to update automatically in the next few days. To update now, right click on the Syncdocs taskbar icon, go to Preferences -> Advanced -> “Check for Updates”

You can also download the new version and install it over the old one.

Enchanced Google Drive Privacy and Security

Since the announcement of Google Drive there has been some concern over the privacy of online file storage.

We’re happy to announce that Syncdocs now supports full cloud encryption of any file or folder using strong encryption.

  • It’s pretty easy to use. Files are encrypted transparently. Here’s a quick start guide
  • there’s more detailed information on the encryption settings
  • and information on secure  Sharing and syncing many PC’s
  • we’ve also started an Google Drive Encryption FAQ for common questions.

Syncdocs Google Drive encryption is still in beta phase, so we’d love to hear from you, either as comments on this page, or on the forum.

 

Extra sync

We’ve just doubled the amount of free quota to 500 files

When we started Syncdocs 2 years ago, 1G online storage and 250 files seemed a reasonable amount. Not anymore, so we’ve doubled the amount of free starting quota to 500 files.

If you have already invited friends your quota will also be increased by at least 250. You can still get more by inviting friends to Syncdocs.

 

And get more file sync quotasyncdocs on twitter and facebook

Invite your friends to use Syncdocs and both of you get a free bonus. You get a +250 bonus per friend.

The person you invited also gets an extra 250 file bonus, so starts with 750 files. They can also invite others, while staying in sync with Google Docs on all their PCs.

Invite as many people as you wish, up to a max of 10,000 files.

Go here to invite by email, or to get a link to share on your blog, webpage, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Enjoy!

-The Syncdocs team