Beginning with version 2.3 of Box Drive, admins can configure the default location of the Box Drive folder to a general location outside of the <username> space. As a result, absolute file links created in another application (Excel, Word, InDesign, and so on) work when you share a file that contains those links.
Important This article discusses file-to-file linking via absolute paths, which is what many desktop applications rely on. We recommend you structure your content in a way that supports absolute paths. Relative links generally should continue to work normally and you do not need to updated them after you modify your Drive location. For more on absolute and relative paths, see the Related Links section at the end of this article for a link to a Wikipedia entry.
The default location for the Box Drive folder does not allow content collaborators to access absolute links set by another user. That’s because the link incorporates the user's profile name in the folder path. So for George Washington, the Drive folder location is:
- C:\Users\GWashington\Box (Windows)
- /Users/GWashington/Box (Mac)
Only one person - George Washington, in this case - can access files that use his absolute paths because other collaborators donot have GWashington in their Box folder paths.
Modifying the location of the default Box Drive folder resolves this issue, because all collaborators can set a location that works on everyone's computer. In the example above, if George Washington and colleague Abe Lincoln (username ALincoln) move their Box Drive folders to be directly under C:\, both GWashington and ALincoln can successfully use files with absolute links because now C:\Box is valid path for both of their computers.
Ensuring paths are available to all collaborators
To help ensure all link references resolve correctly for all people collaborating on Excel files, be sure that all collaborators use the same path for their Box Drive folder, for example, C:\Box.
This solution works only for collaborators who access Excel files using Box Drive. Collaborators who use Box Edit, Box Sync, or who download the files from the Box web application cannot use this solution.
For this workaround to function as expected, all collaborators must use the same local folder drive letter, and ensure that they don't alter the location. In order for the absolute paths to work, people must also be collaborated at the same folder level on Box for each of the linked files. If people are not collaborated at the same folder level, everyone will need to use relative links instead.
For example, if you want to link to FileC, located in Box under FolderA\FolderB\FileC, all collaborators must ensure they have collaboration access to the highest level folder listed in the link, for example, C:\Box\FolderA\FolderB\FileC.
Folder permission levels are important when you use absolute links. For example, you’re in finance and routinely link Excel sheets together. One of your file links looks like this:
When you share your work with your manager, you must ensure that the FY19Q1 folder also appears in her Root directory (directly under \Box\). If she was invited to collaborate at a level above (for example \Box\Finance\FY19Q1) or below (for example \Box\EMEA Forecast\), her links do not work despite her having access to the source file in both cases.
Configuring the location
To change the location of Box Drive, ensure everyone is on Box Drive v2.3 or later and follow the procedure below. The procedure involves using a registry value or preference list, which you can set either before or after installing Box Drive. If you set the value after Drive is installed, Box Drive does not apply it until the next time it launches.
On both Windows and Mac systems, Box Drive scopes the permissions of the Box Drive folder to the current user. This prevents other users on the machine from accessing it even if it is in a shared location such as C:\.
- Ensure that the new specified location already exists and that no other Box folder exists in that location. If either is true, Box reverts back to the default location.
- Ensure that your users have proper permissions at the new location. We recommend testing with a few individuals to ensure they can still continue to access Box content unimpeded.
- Do not include "Box" in the path unless you want the Box Drive mount point to be nested within a folder called "Box". This may confuse people, as they will see their Box Drive mount ("Box") within another "Box" folder.
- You're only moving the location of the Box Drive mount point. The cache and app data locations remain unchanged. So even though you move the mount location to a hard drive partition other than C:\, you continue to use space in C:\.
In a Windows environment
- Create the parent folder into which you want to place the Box Drive folder -- for example, C:\test.
- You can create any folder path in any local hard drive partition you want. It does not have to be in C:
- You can also place the Box folder at any level -- that is, you can place it at the root level (such as C:\), or multiple levels deep.
- Create the registry value CustomBoxLocation with the value data of "<Your Path to Directory here>" in the registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Box\Box
- Continuing with our example, if you want the Box Drive mount point to be C:\test, set the CustomBoxLocation value as:
Name Type Value CustomBoxLocation String Value (REG_SZ) C:\test
- Reboot Box Drive.
In a Mac environment
- Create the parent folder into which you want to place the Box Drive folder -- for example, /Users/Shared/test.
- Note: Before macOS 10.15 Catalina, you could create paths at the root of the local drive. 10.15 now prevents access to this location. See "About the read-only system volume in macOS Catalina". The /Users/Shared base path is suggested for compatibility with all macOS versions.
- Add a string preference list to com.box.desktop called CustomBoxLocation with value set to <Your Path to Directory here>.
- Continuing with our example, if you want the Box Drive mount point to be/Users/Shared/test, run the following command in Terminal:
defaults write com.box.desktop CustomBoxLocation -string "/Users/Shared/test"
- Relaunch Box Drive.
Anyone with edit permission to their machine’s registry settings or preferences can use this same method to modify the default location of their own instance of Box Drive.
To remove the custom mount path
- Delete the CustomBoxLocation registry value and restart Box Drive
- Run the following command in Terminal and restart Box Drive:
defaults delete com.box.desktop CustomBoxLocation
Box does not support moving Box Drive into the following locations:
- External Drives
- Network Drives
- Box Sync (serious errors may result)
Migrating legacy file paths
Thus far we’ve been discussing creating links in applications after you’ve moved the Drive location. But what about legacy absolute links – links that were set when files were in Box Drive prior to the move, or links set in your old file share, Box Sync, and so on?
After you move Box Drive, none of these absolute legacy links work until you update them manually with the new mount location. See below for links to third-party articles that discuss how to migrate legacy absolute path links per individual application.
Absolute paths and relative paths from Wikipedia.
Identifying and updating paths in other applications: