Faculty Backup Using Box


If you are currently a BYU faculty, or staff member, you will have access to unlimited cloud storage through Box. Think of it like Dropbox or Google Drive, but from a different provider. If you wish to access files on multiple devices, you may find Box to be useful.

To access the web client, go to https://box.byu.edu and log in with your Net ID and password. If, however, you use Box heavily, you will probably want to download the client software on your devices. For Windows, Mac, and most mobile devices, you can use the official client. On Linux devices, you will need to use rclone.

Once you are no longer a faculty or staff member (e.g., retirement), BYU will no longer provide unlimited storage in Box. Plan on copying all important files from your Box account to a different location before you retire.

Windows and Mac clients

Box has official clients for Windows and Mac.

  • Download and install the client from this link (https://www.box.com/resources/downloads/)
  • Once it shows the login page, use “netid@byu.edu” as your username
    • It will redirect you to BYU's login page
  • Log in with your Net ID and password

Box will now show up as a new location in your file explorer.

If you wish to keep a folder available on your computer, right-click it and select “Make available offline.

This is recommended if you frequently access a folder with large files, as it will be quite slow if it has to download the files when you want to access them. It will still need to download the files, but this will allow it to download them earlier so they are ready whenever you request them.

Mobile device clients

For mobile devices, download the official Box client from the appropriate app store:

Linux clients

There are clients for Windows and Mac OS but unfortunately there isn't a Box client for Linux distributions. The work around for this is using rclone. Rclone is “a command line program to sync files and directories.” Although not officially supported, rclone should allow you to access your Box files from a Linux client.

Using rclone to access Box files in Linux is not officially supported by Box, BYU, or the CS department. These instructions are provided with no guarantee of reliability or compatibility.

Installing Rclone

These packages are NOT installed on the CS open lab computers, and we have no plans to install them. Only use these instructions on your own Linux machine.

Since we are using rclone to connect to Box, we will need to install it first. Optionally, you might also want a GUI for rclone, which is also shown below.

  1. Download the installation package(s)
    1. Select the appropriate package for your setup
      1. For example, if you're using a 64-bit Debian-based distro (such as Ubuntu), download the AMD64 '.deb' file
  2. For each .deb file:
    1. Open (single-click from Chrome downloads, double-click from most other locations)
      1. This will open the package with your distro's software manager
    2. Click “Install” and authenticate
Rclone is available in the default Ubuntu repositories (available via apt install rclone), however, this is a slightly older version that does not support Box. If you wish to use rclone with Box, you will need to download the newer version available at the link above.
There is another install method at the link below that involves running a script from the Internet with sudo access. DO NOT do this without first reading the script to check for malicious or otherwise dangerous functionality. If you are not comfortable evaluating the code, use a different install method.

Further reading on rclone: https://rclone.org/downloads/ Further reading on rclone GUI: https://martins.ninja/RcloneBrowser/

Configuring Rclone

Next you will need to add your Box account as a remote location to rclone. Unfortunately, there is no GUI method for configuring remotes, so you will need to configure it using the terminal.

  1. Open a terminal window (usually Ctrl+Alt+T will work)
  2. Run rclone config
  3. Type n to create a new remote
  4. Enter a name for the remote (tip: make it fairly short and easy to remember, like “box”)
  5. Type 6 or box to configure a Box remote
  6. Press Enter without entering anything for both client_id and client_secret
  7. Type n to skip the advanced config
  8. Type y to use the auto config
  9. Authenticate with Box
    1. Your web browser should automatically open the Box login page
      1. If it doesn't open automatically, copy and past the link listed in the terminal
    2. Log in and grant rclone access to your Box account
    3. It should then give rclone an access token for your Box account and allow the configuration to continue
  10. Type y to accept the remote configuration
  11. Type q to exit the configuration

Rclone should now allow you to access your Box files. Verify that it's working by using the following command:

rclone ls [remote-name]:

Using the GUI

To start the GUI, use one of the following methods:

  1. Search the application menu for “rclone browser”
  2. Run rclone-browser in the terminal

Once it is open and your remote configured, you can use this GUI frontend to interact with your Box drive through rclone. Note that there is a “Jobs” tab, which you may want to keep an eye on if you're running something that might take a while, e.g., uploading several GB to Box.

Avoid using the “Mount” option. In our testing, it has not been reliable in mounting or unmounting the drive, sometimes leaving a location half-mounted and requiring a forced unmount.

Using the Command Line

If you would like to use the Command Line to use features that the GUI does not provide, refer to the following website for rclone commands syntax.


Further reading

faculty-box-backup.txt · Last modified: 2019/03/29 11:31 by dereke