ownCloud is an open-source and free software that can be used to create your own cloud storage solution. ownCloud servers can be set up on Windows as well as Linux platforms. The client side supports everything from Windows to macOS, Android, and iPhone. This tutorial focuses on how to create a cloud storage server using ownCloud in Windows. Are you on Linux? We also have ownCloud for Linux instructions.
Good to know: check how to set up a local web server on Windows with XAMPP.
1. Install ownCloud Server in Windows
To start using the service, you will need to host your own ownCloud server in Windows. There are different protocols that support this: XAMMP, WAMP, and the Internet Information Services (IIS). The latter is covered here.
To begin, type “Turn Windows features on” in Windows Search, and select the best match underneath. Or, go to Control Panel -> Programs and Features -> Turn Windows Features On or Off.
ownCloud requires you to install an Internet Information Services (IIS) server on Windows. You’ll need to activate it first from the Windows Features window. Check the box next to Internet Information Services.
You should also make sure to check CGI under Application Development Features of World Wide Web services.
Download PHP and MySQL Server for Windows.
Note: you can also download the WAMP Server and use PHP and MySQL server from that source, but make sure IIS and Apache are not configured to run on the same port; otherwise, they will conflict with each other and not run properly.
If you’re a private user or a small or medium business (SME), ownCloud lets you try its community edition for free. Download the ZIP file.
Once you unzip the folder, copy the entire ownCloud folder, and paste it inside the C:\inetpub\wwwroot folder, which will only appear after you enable IIS, as shown in previous instructions.
Please note that you may need to give administrative permissions to copy anything to the wwwroot folder. When you start copying, Windows will ask for administrative permissions.
After copying is complete, go to the config folder under owncloud.
Next, rename config.sample.php to config.php.
Once you’ve renamed the PHP file as above, you’ll need to open it using a desktop app. We are using Notepad.
Open the newly renamed config.php, and edit the values of dbname, dbuser and dbpassword, as illustrated in the screenshot below. “dbname” refers to the ownCloud database set during installation, which may not need to be changed. The “dbuser” and “dbpassword” can, however, be edited, if desired.
Other options can be left with the default values.
Open your browser, and go to “http://localhost/owncloud.” Please note that if you have copied all the files directly to the “wwwroot” folder, you will only need to type “http://localhost/”.
Fill in the fields and click on the Create account button to create an Admin account page.
FYI: did you know that you can run the Nginx server on Windows?
2. Install ownCloud Desktop App in Windows
After setting up an ownCloud server, you will need to install OwnCloud’s desktop app, which lets you sync files with your OwnCloud account and access remote files, as if they were stored right on your PC.
There are multiple ways to install the ownCloud Desktop app.
Download the App
Go to the Desktop app download page, and download the client for Windows.
It’s a simple installation process from here. You should be using Windows 8 or later. Make sure to install the ownCloud client on the PC you will use to sync.
Once the installation process completes, restart your computer for the configuration files to be set.
After a restart, you can access the ownCloud app from the Search menu.
Alternatively, ownCloud can also be installed from the Microsoft Store. It’s a lightweight version of the desktop app.
Tip: is Microsoft Store not working? Check out our list of fixes to quickly restore its functionality.
Using MSI Installer
For a custom installation of ownCloud, use the Command Prompt method in administrator mode. This helps you install or remove your desired features.
For an automatic installation, use the following:
msiexec /passive /i ownCloud-22.214.171.12450.x64.msi
To add a desktop app by default, use the below command. To remove it, just replace “ADDDEFAULT” with “REMOVE.”
msiexec /passive /i ownCloud-126.96.36.19950.x64.msi ADDDEFAULT=Client
If you want to skip automatic updates for the ownCloud program, type:
msiexec /passive /i ownCloud-188.8.131.5250.x64.msi SKIPAUTOUPDATE="1"
To directly launch the program, use the following:
msiexec /i ownCloud-184.108.40.20650.x64.msi LAUNCH="1"
3. Using ownCloud Connection Wizard in Windows
No matter which method you use to install the ownCloud desktop client, once you launch the app, it will take you to a Connection Wizard.
Click Add account to begin the process.
To create an ownCloud account, you will need a server address: a URL of your ownCloud instance that has been provided by an ownCloud server. This can be a generic setup URL that a company or organization uses.
If you’re using ownCloud’s community edition to host your own server, a URL will be available and can be used here. After you enter the URL, it will redirect you to a login screen. Refer to the documentation for more details.
If you’ve installed the ownCloud community server, you will be able to host your own cloud on your device for free. However, you can also choose a software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription, which comes with a 14-day free trial.
Tip: learn how to view PC startup and shutdown history in Windows.
The above will configure a basic setup of ownCloud in Windows. You can configure advanced options once you start using it. You can use ownCloud to create virtual filesystems, force folders to sync, and share photos and files from your desktop’s file manager. ownCloud is best for small businesses that don’t want to utilize expensive cloud storage for every user.
The only drawback of ownCloud is that it does not offer LAN synchronization, which means more bandwidth usage. There are ways to get more storage on your Windows PC without deleting any files. You can also recover additional space in the C drive by following one of these tweaks.
Image credit: Freepik. All screenshots by Sayak Boral.
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox