Sync without versioning

What is the problem you are having with rclone?

When conducting rclone sync, a new file version is created if the local file is different than the existing file on the cloud. I would like to sync without creating a new file version; that is, I would like to completely remove the old existing file on the cloud.

There may be two possible approaches, but neither works well:

  1. Delete old versions of the files after syncing. However, rclone cleanup doesn't accomplish this for GoogleDrive - it only empties the trash. Manually removing all the old versions is inconvenient.

  2. Delete the targeted files on the cloud before syncing. I don't know a good (and automatic) way to do so, other than parsing the output from rclone sync --dry-run.

Any suggestions and thoughts are welcomed :slight_smile:

What is your rclone version (output from rclone version)


Which cloud storage system are you using? (eg Google Drive)


The command you were trying to run (eg rclone copy /tmp remote:tmp)

rclone sync E:/Test GoogleDrive:/Test
rclone cleanup GoogleDrive:/Test

The rclone config contents with secrets removed.

Not applicable. I only have credentials in the config file.

A log from the command with the -vv flag

Not applicable.

What's the actual issue with having more versions of a file?

You could do a dry run, delete everything and run a new sync which requires some scripting.

I don't think the API provides a way to delete all versions while copying it so not sure this would be an easy item to do.

Deleting files before sounds awful if something bad happens too.

Thanks. Because multiple versions of a file count toward the storage. Due to my account setting (part of an education account), the versions are kept permanently unless I manually delete them. I am not the organization admin and cannot change the setting, hence the ask.

I was just wondering if there is any other approach beyond what I had written in the main post. What you said is what I had known, which is bad news :hushed:

Other than scripting, I'm not aware of any other way to do it.

OneDrive and Jottacloud backends have option no_versions for this. Could perhaps be implemented for Google Drive as well..

I don't see it in the API:

Am I missing something?

No, I'm not saying that. I was mostly just pointing out that we had such options in rclone for some backends...

Actually the Jottacloud implementation of it does perform a delete of existing file before uploading the new file.

And Google Drive API does have revisions list and revisions delete endpoints.

Seems like a sensible idea. I don't see an obvious way to implement it though other than reading the revisions list and deleting the old revisions after a successful upload which would take quite a few transactions.

BTW this should be possible with --delete-before

 --delete-before     When synchronizing, delete files on destination before transferring

Thanks Nick for the tip on --delete-before. But it doesn't seem to solve my user case - maybe I'm doing something wrong. I find it only deleting the files that no longer exist on the source directory. If a file exists on both source and destination and if the two don't match, --delete-before won't delete the file from destination; it still uploads on top of the file and makes a new version. What I was hoping is to delete (before syncing) not only the files that no longer exist on the source side, but also those files that need update. In other words, I was hoping to delete every file that doesn't match the source and then do a clean re-upload.

I thought delete before is for deleting files not in the destination and it does that before the sync starts as opposed to after so I don't think it fits for your use case.

Yes you are right, didn't think that through...

You could use rclone check --differ to find files which are present on both sides and then feed that into rclone delete to remove them before you sync, something like this

rclone check --differ modified.txt E:/Test GoogleDrive:/Test
rclone delete --files-from modified.txt GoogleDrive:/Test
rclone sync E:/Test GoogleDrive:/Test

That scans the directories twice, but it should do what you want. Test carefully before using for real!

Thank Nick! Exactly what I wanted :laughing: Much appreciated! :slight_smile:

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