I have a folder $HOME/important_folder that I want to have a backup of on Google Drive. The Google Drive is setup and mounted (under /run/user/1000/gvfs/google-drive:host=gmail.com,user=myUserName)

In order to leave the folder where it is while also being backed up, I want to create a symbolic link on the Google Drive that links to the normal location.

So I write this in my terminal:


ln -s $HOME/important_folder $PWD

The error I get:

ln: failed to create symbolic link '/run/user/1000/gvfs/google-drive:host=gmail.com,user=myUserName/important_folder': Operation not supported

So how do I achieve this task?

  • 1
    What Ubuntu version is this? How is this Google drive setup? Using online accounts? Use "edit" to add the info to your question.
    – vanadium
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 13:56
  • 1
    There may be some clues in this reference to backup to Google-Drive
    – graham
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 14:14
  • I prefer the rclone setup: rclone.org/drive
    – FedKad
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 14:38
  • @vanadium newest version. The GDrive is setup using the default Online Accounts functionality where I login with my Google account and enable Files.
    – Sorry
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 15:18
  • Add this essential information to your post: use "edit". Anyway, you cannot create symbolic links on such mounted network volumes. It is a mount, not a synchronized folder.
    – vanadium
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, the synchronism by GNOME is done via gio, which has the path google-drive://[email protected]/ on a GUI file manager, but it is actually stored at /run/user/... on your GNU/Linux filesystem.

GIO (Gnome Input/Output) seems to not be optimized to work on terminal. You can even navigate through your directories by using gio list -d google-drive://[email protected]/path/to/directory, but it does not seem possible to make more sophisticated stuffs, such as symlink...

In nutshell, if you are like me and have a full-based terminal workflow, then maybe you had better to use rclone, which is a terminal program that allows you to get a full control of your files from terminal. It is a little bit trickier to set this up, but it is much more powerful.

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