The switchdrive folder should always be located inside your local documents folder. Do not select a network drive or a location that is synchronised with another cloud tool. 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, create only 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.
Do not add any more folders in this top level of the switchdrive folder because they will allow you to keep your switchdrive folder clean and 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. Do NOT enter the email address of the person, as SWITCHdrive does not rely on email addresses to share data!

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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. 

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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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.

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.

Instead of sharing your data to a number of switchdrive users, you can also create a group of switchdrive users and then share your data with this group.

Creating such a custom group has several advantages:

If you often share your data with the same group of people you only need to create a custom group once and  then share your data with the custom group and not with each user separately.

When you share your data with a custom group, the data is immediately shared with all custom group members (or not shared any more when you remove the share to the custom group).

You can also control who gets your shared data by adding or removing members to the custom group. You do not need to go to each shared folder to add or remove individual switchdrive users.

Members of a custom group can control themselves if they still want to receive the shared data. If not they can open their custom group setting and remove themselves from the custom group. 

Members of a custom group can also share their data to the same group. Custom group names are only visible to the group members and not to other switchdrive users.

In order to create a new Custom Group, open the SWITCHdrive web client and go to your personal settings. Click on the section "Custom Groups" on the left. On the right an overview of all the custom groups that you own or that you are a member of are displayed. To create a new custom group enter a unique group name in the text box and click on the "Create group" button.



  • A custom group is only visible to you and to the members of the custom group. The custom group name will not become visible to other users when they search for a group or for a specific SWITCHdrive user.
  • As a group owner, you can add new members, change their roles or remove them. You can also leave the group as long as there is at least one custom group owner remaining.
  • A member of a custom group can always leave the group at any time.

A SWITCHdrive voucher is a secret link that allows anyone that receives this link to create a full SWITCHdrive account with own quota. Your external partner does not need to use a web browser any more to download or upload files to your shared data, but can install the SWITCHdrive desktop client which automatically keeps all the data in the switchdrive folder perfectly in sync.

Please refer to this page to see if your institution allows SWITCHdrive vouchers and how to request them. You can also ask to delete a SWTICHrive voucher if the external partner does not need to access the data on SWITCHdrive any more.

By activating a SWITCHdrive voucher, your external partner will be added to the address book of SWITCHdrive. You can then use direct links to share files and folders with your external partner. Just enter the first name and last name of your external partner in the User & Group search box and then select the appropriate name with "eduid" in brackets.

This is very easy and can be done by following these 2 steps:

  1. Ask the person (XY) who should become the new owner of your shared data to create a new empty folder with a suitable name (eg. NewOwnerXY) and to share it with you. 
  2. Once you have received this shared folder from the person (XY), move all data that you want to change ownership into this folder.

That's it! SWITCHdrive will now update the name of the new owner (XY) to all clients. All direct and public shares will still remain valid as no data was moved at all (only an entry in the SWITCHdrive database was changed).

You may now decline the share of the new owner which will delete your former data from your switchdrive account. 

The new owner of your data may also unshare the folder with you which will then delete your former data in your switchdrive account. The new owner is allowed to rename this folder or move it somewhere else inside the switchdrive folder without any side effects to other switchdrive users.