The switchdrive folder should always be located on your local harddisk, recommendably inside your local documents folder. Do NOT select a network drive or a mobile storage device that is not always available. If the local switchdrive folder cannot be found one day by some technical reason then the SWITCHdrive desktop client assumes that the files were deleted and will move all the files of your SWITCHdrive account into the trashbin. 

When you install the SWITCHdrive desktop client, just keep the default settings and the switchdrive folder will automatically be created in the correct location. The SWITCHdrive client installation will also create a shortcut in your FileExplorer (Windows) or in your Finder (MaxOS) for easy access.

Inside the switchdrive folder, it is recommended to create two subfolders - one named "Institution" and the other named "Private". Inside the subfolder "Institution" create more subfolders which you need for your work at your institution. Inside the subfolder "Private" add subfolders for your private data which you want to share or to keep synchronised to several clients.

You could also add more subfolders in this top level, however we recommend to keep the number very small  so your switchdrive folder will be easy to manage. If you will leave your current institution one day this setup will allow you to easily distinguish which data should be transferred to your successor and which data belongs to you (which you can then easily transfer to an external harddisk, for example).

Whenever you receive a shared folder, it will pop up in this top level section. Decide if a shared folder belongs rather to "Private" or to "Institution", then move it to the appropriate folder. Note that you can move a shared folder that you have received to any subfolder inside your switchdrive folder without causing any change to the owner of the folder. You are even allowed to rename a shared folder to some more suitable name without causing a name change at the owner of the shared folder.

Use the Favorites section on the left to quickly get to your most important working folders. Add any subfolder to this Favorites section by clicking on the (yellow) star icon on the left side of the subfolder name.

Click also on the "Shared with you" section on the left and decide, if you want to (temporary) decline a share and accept it maybe later on. By default, all shares are automatically accepted, but you can always decline a share and accept it again to keep your switchdrive folder clean and to better manage your local harddisk space.

This can be done via the web-client in a web-browser or via the desktop client in the local switchdrive folder.

In the web-client, locate the file or folder that you want to share and click on the  icon. In the sharing section enter the first name and the last name of the person or the name of the group. Wait a moment until SWITCHdrive shows you a selection of matching names, then pick the correct person or group from the list. 

Please note:
It is NOT allowed to enter an email address into the search box of SWITCHdrive. Email addresses are often anonymous, insecure or forged, and there is no way to verify whether an email address actually belongs to the right person or not.


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In the desktop client, locate the file or folder you want to share and right-click on your mouse to show the context menu. Select "SWITCHdrive" and then "Share..." to open the sharing dialog window. Enter the first name and the last name of the person or of the group and wait a moment until SWITCHdrive shows you a selection of names. Then pick the correct person or group from the list.

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If no entry can be found, check the spelling or modify the search word. Note that only persons who have logged in to SWITCHdrive at least once can be found by name. Maybe you could simply ask the other person to share something with you (eg. an empty test folder) which definitely requires to login to switchdrive to do so. 

In the same share-dialog where you can enter the name of the person or group, you can also specify which permissions the user or the group should have. Note that the default permission of a shared folder is "can re-share" and "can edit", but this does not include deleting or moving any data. This permission has to be set intentionally by the owner of the data to avoid deletion of data by accident. 

Sharing Dialog in the SWITCHdrive web client: Click on the small triangle behind "can edit" to also display the "create", "change" and "delete" permissions. When you create a share with the web-client, you can also notify the user that data was shared with him. Click on the corresponding button to send an email to this user. You can only send an email once, so when the email was sent, this button will disappear. 


Sharing Dialog in the SWITCHdrive Desktop client: Click on the 3-dot menu behind "can edit" to display the drop down menu with the additional edit permissions.  


Do delete a share click on the small trashbin icon.

To share data with a person on SWITCHdrive enter the first name and the last name, then wait one or two seconds until SWITCHdrive displays a list of persons at their institutions who meet the search criteria. From this list, select the person with whom you would like to share data. 

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In the very unlikely case that there is more than one person with the same first name and last name at the same institution, select the first entry and check the correct email address by hovering with the mouse over the selected name. If needed, click on the trashbin to remove the share and select the other entry.

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If the correct user cannot be found in SWITCHdrive then this person has either no access to SWITCHdrive or has never logged in to SWITCHdrive. Please ask the person to whom you would like to share data to login to SWITCHdrive at least once (or to share an empty test folder with you, because to do so, the person has to login to the SWITCHdrive). 

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Please note:
It is not allowed to enter an email address into the search box of SWITCHdrive. Email addresses are often anonymous, insecure or forged, and there is no way to verify whether an email address actually belongs to the right person or not.

You can share your data with a so called public link to any person. This person does not need to have a SWITCHdrive account and can access the data via web browser.

If sharing via public links is not an option for you, then you can also provide a SWITCHdrive voucher to the external partner.

To create a public link, you can use the web client or the desktop client of SWITCHdrive. Locate the file or folder that you want to share in your SWITCHdrive folder.

Right click with the mouse and select SWITCHdrive, then "Copy public link to clipboard". Paste the link to an email and send it to your external partner.

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You can also open the sharing section by selecting Share... and then the option to create Public Links. Note that you can create more than one public link for the same file or folder, with certain permissions, with or without password protection or expiration date.

At any time you can also edit a public link and change the permission, add or remove a password and set or delete an exipration date without re-creating the public link.

You can also create public links in the web client. Locate the file or folder that you want to share and click on  on the share icon.

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You can easily share files or folders with somebody at the ETH in Zurich who is using Polybox (or with another person who is using a cloud service which is based on ownCloud or Nextcloud). 

However, in oder to directly share data with such persons, you have to inform each other about the so called Federated Cloud-ID, because you cannot search for the required person in the SWITCHdrive address book.


Go to your SWITCHdrive web client and open your personal switchdrive settings. Then scroll down until you see the entry "Federated Cloud ID": Copy the bold text and send it to the person at the ETHZ. Ask also to send their federated Cloud ID to you. It shoud have the form Create an (empty) test folder and share it with the other person at ETHZ by entering this address to the "User and Groups" search box. Wait a moment until the "(federated)" is displayed behind the address, then select it. 


If the address does not exists, or if Federated Sharing is not allowed at the other cloud service, an error message will be displayed:

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If sharing works fine in both directions, then you can continue to use Federated Cloud IDs to share your data via SWITCHdrive or Polybox. Note that you can always hover with the mouse over the sharing icon to see the complete Federated Cloud-ID of your collaborator at the other Cloud.



Via web client, the maximum upload file size is 4GB. You can however store larger files via your SWITCHdrive client.

You can see which files or folders are shared through the Web Client

A detailed overview is available when you click on the Shared with others link on the left hand side.

You can see which files or folders are shared through the Web Client

A detailed overview is available when you click on the Shared with you link on the left hand side.

Files in your SWITCHdrive folder that you have deleted (or that your collaborators have deleted if they have the permission to do so!) are not removed immediately. They are moved to the folder "Deleted-files" (=trashbin) of your SWITCHdrive account and can be easily restored from there if needed.

You can check the content of your trashbin when you open your switchdrive account in a browser, then click on the "Deleted-files" Folder in the lower left corner.

Deleted files remain in the trashbin for 90 days or 3 months. After that the files in the trashbin will be permanently deleted. It is then not possible any more to restore any file or folder.

If you wish to restore a file or folder from the trashbin, locate the data to be restored and click on the "Restore" icon. You can also mark more then one item to be restored.

If the original folder still exists then the restored data will be placed into its original location, otherwise it will be placed in the root of your switchdrive folder. You can then move it to a new location.


By default other SWITCHdrive users cannot delete (or move!) your data, unless you have explicitly given them the delete permission when you share data with them.

Normally shared users can only create new data or change existing data in your shared folder. Deleting or moving data is not allowed to protect you from accidental deletion of your own data by users, who maybe just want to unshare the data but are deleting it instead.

If you want your shared users to also delete and move your data, activate the delete permission by clicking on the 3 dots icon when sharing data with the desktop client:

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In the web client activate the delete permission by adding a checkmark to the delete option when sharing data:

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Note: If a user is deleting your shared data, this data will be moved to the trashbin in your switchdrive account, but also to the trashbin of the user who has deleted the data. See here how you can restore the deleted data.

If you miss some data in your switchdrive folder and cannot find it in your trashbin then go to the activity settings and see who has actually deleted the data. Please ask this user or the owner of the shared data to restore it if you still need it. 

SWITCHdrive does support all characters in file and folder names except for  '\', '/', '<', '>', ':', '"', '|', '?' and '*' 

If you create a file which one of the characters above - because some operationg systems do allow that - SWITCHdrive will not synchronize these files or folders.

Please pay attention not to add any invisible blanc spaces (" ") at the end of a file- or foldername. Some operating systems (eg. MacOS, Linux) accept such spaces at the end of a file- or foldername while other operating sytsems do not (Windows). Usually you can upload such data to the SWITCHdrive servers and work with them on a Mac, but cannot download or synchronise them on a Windows PC.

No we can't. Please contact the sender and tell him the problem. If the sender can not help you he or she can contact us for further assistance.

Versions of a file are created whenever you save a file in your switchdrive folder. However, the number of versions of a file will be reduced over time, because SWITCHdrive automatically expires old files to ensure that users do not exceed their quotas.

In order to see the versions of a file you have to open the SWITCHdrive web-client and locate the specific file. Then click on the 3-dot-menu behind the filename.


The details of the stored file are displayed. Go to the section "Versions" in order to see the available versions of a file. Hover with the mouse of the download link to see the exact date and time of a specific version.

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You can download or restore a previous version of a file. Click either the download icon (on the left) or the restore icon (on the right). When you restore a previous version, the current version of a file will be moved to the top of the list of versions, so you can get back to the current version if you have restored the wrong version. 


You can see a summary of all the activities in your SWITCHdrive account, for example who shared, created, changed or deleted a file or who wrote some comments. To see this overview, go to the Web Client and click in the top left corner to show the drop down menu with the Files, Activity and Gallery icons.

ScrShot3115Click on the activity icon (1) to display an overview of activities in your SWITCHdrive account up to 7 days in the past. Select a option on the left (2) to filter certain activities or click the top entry "All Activities" to see an overview of all activities. Depending on the amount of shares and the number of collaborators in your SWITCHdrive account the number of activities can become quite high, so you might want to show the activites of you favorites folders only, or show the activities of other persons in your account only.