SWITCHdrive can be used by members of participating universities and (external) project members who were invited to use this data sharing platform via a SWITCHdrive voucher.
SWITCHdrive offers a secure alternative to commercial cloud storage services. You can find a list or participating Institutions here.
You can connect to your SWITCHdrive account via Web-Client, via Sync-Client or via Mobile-Client.
We call any software which is connected to your SWITCHdrive account a "Client". You can have as many clients running and connected to your SWITCHdrive accont as you want.
Usually you have one main (office-) PC connected to your SWITCHdrive account, but maybe another one at home and also a Mobile-Client running on your phone or on your tablet. It is even allowed to have a Sync-Client and one or more Web-Client running side by side on the same PC.
An overview how many Clients have access to your SWITCHdrive account can be found in the security section of your switchdrive settings when you login to your account with the Web-Client:
The easiest way to access your SWITCHdrive account is via SWITCHdrive Web-Client:
Just open a standard web browser (eg. Safari, FireFox, Chrome, Edge or any other current web broswer) and enter the web address: https://drive.switch.ch
The following login screen will be displayed:
Type in your email-address and and your password that you have used when you have created your SWITCH edu-ID. If you do not remember your password to access your SWITCH edu-ID, click on the link "Forgot password?", otherwise click on the blue Login button.
The web-brower will then show you the content of your SWITCHdrive account. Click on the small down arrow in the top right corner to go to your personal switchdrive settings, to open the switchdrive help pages or to log out of your switchdrive web-client.
The SWITCHdrive Sync-Client is an applicaton that runs in the background of your computer and synchronises all the files in your SWTICHdrive account without you even realising it.
It uses a local folder called "switchdrive" on your computer to store all the files of your SWITCHdrive account so you can work with them even if you have no connection to your SWITCHdrive account.
When the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client is running, all the files in your local switchdrive folder will receive tiny (in most cases green) icons to indicate that the files were successfully synchronised.
You can see the current status of the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client by locating the small switchdrive icon in the menu bar or status bar of your computer. If it is green, then everything is fine. If not, then SWITCHdrive is busy synchronising your data or you may have a problem. See here what to do in that case.
When you use the SWITCHdrive Sync Client you do not need to manually upload or download any file to your SWITCHdrive account any more. Just continue to use the File Explorer or the Finder to access all your files as before. You can also use your favorite application to open, view or edit your files.
If you want to have some data synchronised or shared with other users just move these files or folder into your local switchdrive folder. The SWITCHdrive Sync-Client will immediately start a sync action and uploads the changes to your switchdrive account. This is also true if you create, modify or delete any data in your switchdrive folder.
If another SWITCHdrive user has shared data with you or has modified any of your shared files, the Sync-Client will detect this change and downloads the changes to your local switchdrive folder.
Therefore, when the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client is running, all your files are always up-to-date, but only if you are connected to the web (and only if the status of the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client indicates that everything is fine!)
Of course you can still work with all your files in your switchdrive folder even if you have no web-connection. As soon as your computer connects again to the web (and the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client is still running!) all the changes will be automatically synchronised to your SWITCHdrive account and to the other clients.
To access your SWITCHdrive account via Sync-Client or Mobile-Client, you have to download and install some software first. Go to the Downloads in this help section or open your personal SWITCHdrive settings in the Web-Client. Scroll down until you see these download buttons and click on one of them.
In oder to install the SWITCHdrive Client software on your computer, you need to have administation permission. Please talk to your local helpdesk if this is the case (for example when you have received a managed computer supplied by your home organisation).
Locate the downloaded SWITCHdrive Client sofware package and double click it. The installation will start and guide you through the few installation steps. Click on "Continue" and follow the default recommendation to install this software.
During the installation you will be asked to enter the password (or the fingerprint) to install the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client into the application folder of your computer.
When the installation is complete, close the installation window. The SWITCHdrive Sync Client automatically detects when a new version is available and asks you if you want to update it.
Once you have installed the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client to your computer, go to your Application Folder and locate the application "switchdrive.app". Then double click it to launch the application.
When you do this the very first time, a SWITCH edu-ID login window will pop up and ask you for your email address, your password and for your authorization to access your SWITCHdrive account. Type in your email address, your SWITCH edu-ID password and then click on the "Authorize" button.
You only need to enter these details once, so whenever you quit the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client and restart it, it will launch again and run the background without asking you for these details or showing a user interface.
The only sign that the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client is running is a small cloud icon in the menu bar or status bar on your computer.
Because it is important to keep an eye on the status of the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client, move the small switchdrive icon somewhere in your menu bar or status bar so you can easily spot it (for example next to the WiFi icon, so you can also quickly see if your computer has an active WiFi connection to the web).
Locate the SWITCHdrive Icon in the menu bar (MacOSX) or in the status bar (Windows) of your computer and right click it to open the drop-down (or drop-up) menu.
Note that you can easily open your SWITCHdrive account in the browser (first menu item) or open the local switchdrive folder (thrid menu item).
Open the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client settings by selecting the menu item "Settings...". You can configure your SWITCHdrive Sync-Client in the 4 sections "Account", "Activtiy", "General" and "Network".
The "Account" section gives you an overview of your SWITCHdrive account: which user name was used to login to your account, how much of your available storage was used so far and which folders have been selected to be synchronised to your local switchdrive folder. You can easily naviate into any subfolder and exclude any subfolder from synchronisation. In the example below, the folder "TestProjectFolder" was excluded from synchronisation, that means that this folder only exists on the SWITCHdrive servers, but not locally on the harddisk.
Well, that depends because both SWITCHdrive clients have their specific advantages. It is important to know that no matter which client you choose, you can be confident that SWITCHdrive stores a copy of your files in the cloud, so even if you loose your computer or have a harddisk crash, you can always synchronize the content of your switchdrive account to another computer or to new local switchdrive folder.
- With the SWITCHdrive Sync-Client (in the picture above on the left), you access your data in a local switchdrive folder. All changes in this folder are mirrored or synchronised to the SWITCHdrive cloud in the background. Synchronising your changes can take a few seconds up to a few minutes depending on many issues (eg. amount of changes, speed of your internet connection, current load of the switchdrive servers, etc).
- Use the Sync-Client when you want to work as before with your local installed applications, knowning that SWITCHdrive Sync-Client will always keep your files synchronised on all attached devices.
- Use the Sync-Client to upload large files which would take too long or fail to upload in the web-client. Because the Sync Client is able to chop large files into smaller chunks, uploads of even very large files are possible this way.
- With the SWITCHdrive Web-Client (in the picture on the right) you access your data on SWITCHdrive in a web browser. All changes to your data are executed immediately and you get instant feedback if everything is fine.
In the SWITCHdrive Web-Client you can also do various actions to your files (e.g. share them with others, rename or delete them). You can also open many files with an integrated file viewer (eg. pdf, jpg, mp4) or even edit some of them with our integrated web office tool OnlyOffice (eg. docx, xlsx, pptx).
- Use the Web-Client if you do not want to leave any local copy of your data on the computer. If it is a public computer, then you should also close the browser and delete the cache at the end of the web session.
- Use the SWITCHdrive Web-Client also if you need to restore a file or folder, to see different versions of a file, to create a custom-group, to see the activities of your files or to find out who is the owner of a share or who has shared something with you.
The standard quota is 100 GB for the accounts provided by your institution. It is up to your institution to allow you more space. Please refer to this page how to proceed.
only your own data is counted to your quota. Shared data that you have received from other users or data that you have deleted is not added to your quota. If you want to see how much quota you have used so far open a web-browser and click on the small triangle (1) to show your personal settings.
In the "General" section (2) you can see a bar indicating how much quota is already used and how much space in your SWITCHdrive account is still available (3).
If there are no requests from other users to access any blocked data, SWITCH will delete the SWITCHdrive account after a grace period of 3 months. If we get a request to access some blocked data, SWITCH will carefully investigate together with the corresponding SWITCHdrive administator if access to the blocked data can be granted or not.
To transfer your data to somebody else, you cannot just share this data to that person, because shared data still belongs to you. In order to really transfer the ownership of your data, you need to ask the other person to share a folder with edit permission with you. Then just move the folders that you want to transfer ownership into this shared folder.
Suppose that I am leaving soon my current institution, therefore I want to transfer all my data stored in the Projects folder to my successor. I have asked my successor to share an empty folder "TransferToMe" which has become visible in the main directory of my SWITCHdrive account:
Now left-click with your mouse on the Projects folder and drag it onto the TransferToMe folder. Make sure that the destination folder is highlighted. Then release the mouse button.
That's it! SWITCHdrive is now moving the data from one SWITCHdrive account to the other. Once the Projects folder has disappeared from the main directory, additonal folders can be dragged onto the TransferToMe folder, but only one folder after the other. When the transfer is done, you can also unshare the TransferToMe folder so your sync client is not need to synchronise the just transferred data to your local switchdrive folder.
You can also do this with in the local switchdrive folder when the SWITCHdrive Sync Client is running. Just make sure that you pick the right destination folder that was shared to you by your successor. Note that in the File-Explorer you cannot see different ownerships of files and folders, because they all belong to you. Only by synchronising these changes to the SWITCHdrive accounts, ownership of files and folders are updated.
At this moment the use of SWITCHdrive is reserved to Swiss Universities which have subscribed to this service (and may request to delete your account). But usually, you will be able to continue using SWITCHdrive using the SWITCH edu-ID, currently without any costs. In case that SWITCH terminates this offer or requests a fee, SWITCH would inform you at least 90 days in advance under the e-mail address that is connected to your account.
If you intend to terminate your connection to the SWITCHdrive system, you may log out of SWITCHdrive and simply not log back in again. You can still work with your local copies of the files stored on your computer but you cannot sync & share them any more.
The data on the SWITCH servers is transferred encrypted using SSL. The mobile and desktop client software does not encrypt the data stored. If you wish to encrypt the client data, please use a 3rd party tool that handles encryption if your operating system does not. You may e.g. use password protected ZIP files.