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 or via the desktop client of SWITCHdrive.

In the web-client, locate the file or folder you want to share and click on  icon. In the sharing section enter the name of the person or the name of the group you want to share your data with. 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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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 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 rights the user or the group should have. Furthermore, you can set a date when the sharing should stop. If no date is entered, the file or folder will be shared until you take it back manually.

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 a test file 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. 

To create a public link, you can use the web client or the desktop client of SWITCHdrive. Locate the file or folder in your SWITCHdrive folder. Open the sharing section and select the option to create Public Links. You can create several public links for a file or folder, each with different 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.

User Interface of the sharing section in the SWITCHdrive web client:


User Interface of the sharing section in the desktop client (MacOS)


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.

If you allow the user with whom you've shared a file with to have "delete" permissions and this user deletes your file or folder, it will also be removed from your files in SWITCHdrive. However, you can restore your file or folder through the webclient of SWITCHdrive.

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 spaces " " at the end of the file- or foldernames. Some Operating Systems accept spaces at the end of the name while other operating sytsems do not. Synchronising such files or folders usually do not cause an error message, but lead to not synchronised data.

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.

Files in the trashbin will be deleted after 90 days - no matter how much quota you have used so far. After 90 days it is not possible to restore any file from the Deleted-Files-Folder any more. 
In order to restore an item from the Deleted-Files-Folder you have to do this in the web client: Open in a browser and login, then click on the Deleted-Files-Folder in the lower left corner.

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.

The easiest way is to create a public link of your file or folder and send it to the external partners (maybe additionally secured with a password). If you include the edit permission in the public link the external partners can not only download but also upload any modification to the shared files. Using public links is ok for occasional sharing but it's not very convenient, because it takes great care by the exernal partner to always keep the files in sync and to regularily check if any changes to the files have occured (and then download them again).


A more user friendly way to collaborate is to send a SWITCHdrive voucher to your external partner. With such a voucher - which consists of a secret code that needs to be activated within a certain time - the external partner is able to create a standard SWITCHdrive account and use the SWITCHdrive desktop client which allows to automatically synchronize the switchdrive folder in the background. You can also share files and folders with your external partner by direct link, without sending any email to your partner, because your external partner will be added to the address book of SWITCHdrive. Just enter the first and last name in the User & Group search box and let switchdrive find some matching user names. Then click on the corresponding name with "eduid" in brackets to share your data with your external partner.

To see if your insitution allows SWITCHdrive vouchers and how to request them, please refer to this page