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Using an Ubuntu One Account

Why do I need an Ubuntu One Account?

The distributors of Ubuntu (Canonical) provide a facility with allows you to upload critical files to their server. This is useful for three main reasons:

  • If you need to keep backups of critical files

  • If you want to share content (-e.g. slides, video, documents) with people in remote locations

  • If you want to buy MP3 music downloads (-see the chapter on MP3)

The Ubuntu One account is free for the default (limited) service, but for a monthly fee, you can have more space and services at your disposal. See their site at for details of the current plans available.

For this chapter, I'm going to assume you want the standard (free) service for occasional use.

Note: this functionality is currently only available to Ubuntu users

Setting up an Ubuntu One Account

If you are using Ubuntu 11.x or above, then Ubuntu One control is integrated and much simplified, so see the section on using Ubuntu One with 11.x and above for details instead.

If you are using Ubuntu v10 or below, then click on the speech bubble (-this sometimes has an “X” in it, if you are offline), in the top right of the Gnome desktop:

Chat Icon in the Ubuntu Top Panel

Now select “Ubuntu One”

Chat Option From the Ubuntu Top Panel

Now do the following:

  1. Fill in your email account and choose a new password for your Ubuntu One account, then click “Forward”:

  2. A dialogue box will open requesting an email account and a password (-note: the password does not and should not be the same as your email password). Fill in the rest of the dialogue box and click on the “Forward” button

  3. You will then be asked to enter a “Confirmation Code”

  4. Go into your email account and look for the message from “”. Highlight the confirmation code and press CTRL+C to copy the value into the paste buffer

  5. Back in the Ubuntu One setup dialogue box, click in the text box and use CTRL+V to paste in the verification code, before clicking “OK”

  6. If all went well, you should see a message saying that the process completed successfully

  7. Click the “Close” button to end the setup wizard. The Ubuntu One Preferences box should be displayed – showing the default (free) storage of 2Gb

  8. If you now click the “Services” (-in Ubuntu 10 and below) or "Cloud Folders" (-in Ubuntu 11 and above) tab, you can change the configuration options for what is synchronised up to your Ubuntu One account and what is not

Note: if you need further help, Canonical have tutorials under

Synchronising Files to your Ubuntu One Account

The Ubuntu One account allows you to backup critical files (-those you can't afford to lose) to the “cloud” (-some server(s) out there on the web somewhere).

First, we need to ensure that files are selected for backup. Click on the speech bubble in the top right of the Gnome desktop and choose “Ubuntu One”; when this displays, click on the “Services” tab:

Services Tab

Make sure that the “Files” checkbox is checked (-as it is in the above screenshot).

Use the “Places” menu to navigate to the folder/directory that you wish to backup, right click it and choose:

Ubuntu One → Synchronise this Folder

Synchronize this Folder

When you click down into this directory in future, you'll see a banner/ribbon similar to the following at the top of the pane, showing you that it's being backed up:

Synchronize the Banner

To stop the directory from being backed up to your Ubuntu One account, simply uncheck (untick) the “Synchronise this folder” checkbox:

Stop Synchronizing the Folder

Managing Files in your Ubuntu One Account

Your Ubuntu One account can be accessed by clicking on the speech bubble in the top right of the Gnome desktop and choosing “Ubuntu One”; when this displays, click on the “Manage Account” link:

Manage Account Link

In the browser window that displays, enter the email address you registered with plus your Ubuntu One password (-Note: not your email password) and click on the “Continue” button.

Logon to the Account

Once in, you will see a summary of your account:

Ubuntu One

The most useful tab is “Files”, where you can see the files stored in your Ubuntu One account (-including anything you purchased from the Ubuntu One music store):

Click in the links under the “My Storage” heading (-e.g. “~/Documents” in the example above) to view the files/folders being backed up.

Beside each filename, you will see a “More” link: click this to see the various options for this file:

Synchronized Files in Ubuntu One

For a standard account, this is going to be:

  • Download the file to your PC (-i.e. if you deleted it by mistake)

  • Publish the file to the web (-basically, this is making it readable by others)

If you click the link to “Publish File”, then it will show you the public URL that you can send to your recipients so they can view the file:

Publish File

The nice thing about this is that when you change the file on your PC,Ubuntu One will upload the new version (-always assuming you are online), so your contacts will always see the latest version! When you're done, just click on the “Stop publishing” link to make the file private again.

If you click the “Download file” link, you'll be asked what you want to do with the file, as per any other web download you access:

Open File Dialogue

Lastly, you can delete the file using the “Delete File” button: this will also stop it being uploaded from your PC in future (-if the file still exists on your PC):

Confirm Deletion

Ubuntu One also allows you to create folders, upload files and share out folders using the green links in the “Files” banner:

Ubuntu One Menus

All in all, Ubuntu One is a useful tool (-especially as it's free) and it's worth exploring in more depth if you share content on the web or need a fail safe backup solution.

Logging out of your Ubuntu One Account

To logout of your Ubuntu One account, simply click on the “Log out” link in the top right of your browser window:

Ubuntu One Logout Link

If the logout was successful, you'll see a confirmation screen:

Ubuntu One Logout Complete

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