Installation Guide for Windows

11305 BEAR DataShare AW_sm


BEAR DataShare is part of the Birmingham Environment for Academic Research; a set of services designed to support the University’s researchers.

BEAR DataShare is a file synchronisation and sharing service provided by IT Services. Based on PowerFolder - the service allows you to securely save and sync your files with your colleagues and partners anywhere in the world, from any device.

There are two ways to use BEAR DataShare:

  • Web based
  • Application (Client) based – allows files to be synced locally onto your device

Both methods are covered in our User Guide and Canvas course which are available from our main webpage

This guide takes you through how to install and set up the application (Client) on a Windows PC.

Installing the BEAR DataShare Client

How you go about installing BEAR DataShare will depend on whether you have:

  • A University of Birmingham managed desktop/laptop /device or
  • A non-University/personal desktop/laptop/device (should be encrypted)

The main difference is the lack of administrator privileges on University managed devices, so the Client needs to be installed via the Application Catalogue.

Getting the Client onto a Managed Device

If you have a University managed device then you will need to install the Client from the Application Catalogue from the Software Centre. Click on the Windows icon in the bottom left-hand corner, click on ‘Desktop Management’ then you should see the ‘Software Centre’ listed.


Clicking on the Software Centre should bring up the Application Catalog, search for ‘BEAR’ in the search box to find the application:


Once you click on the BEAR DataShare logo, you should then see an ‘Install’ button. Clicking on the button will start the installation:

v14.6 installing

 The following window may pop up, click 'Yes':

Application install

Once the application is installed you may see the following dialogue box prompting you to restart your computer:

v14.6 finish installation reboot

NOTE: It is essential to reboot your PC to complete the installation.

Getting the Client on a non-University Managed Device

Pre-requisites: Admin account required to install

To download the BEAR DataShare client, open a web browser and enter the following address; 

Download client_01

Click on the link ‘Clients’ on the bottom left-hand side and then select the appropriate download for your device:

Download client_02

Navigate to where the file has downloaded and open it (in Chrome you may be able to see it on the bottom left of the browser).

A pop-up box should then appear asking if you want to allow this app to make changes to your device – you may need to enter an admin username and password. Upon clicking ‘Yes’, the setup for BEAR DataShare will begin.

Select ‘I Agree’ on the initial License Agreement screen:

v14.6 licence agreement

On the ‘Installation type’ screen leave the default of ‘Automatic’ and select next:

first installation

Allow the setup to extract and install files:


Select 'Finish' completing the installation:

v14.6 finish installation reboot

NOTE: It is essential to reboot your PC to complete the installation.

A ‘Windows Security Alert’ may appear notifying that ‘Windows Firewall has blocked some features of this program’:

Windows Security Alert

Leave the default selected ‘Domain networks, such as a workplace network’ and select ‘Allow Access’.

Configuring BEAR DataShare

After installation, the following icons will be placed on your desktop:

Links to the application: 

Desktop app link




Links to the data:

Desktop data link




Now BEAR DataShare is installed, open up the Application. If you see the window (below) saying login failed then you will need to enter your login details, so please click on ‘No User account configured’:

First login

On the ‘Activation’ screen (below):

  • If you are a member of University of Birmingham research staff or a postgraduate research student then enter your UoB username and associated password or;
  • If you are using the service as an invited person then enter the email address and password that you created in order to access the shared files.

Select ‘Next’, activation should complete successfully and then BEAR DataShare logs in.


A Windows Explorer window then pops up which shows you any folders that have already been shared with you. Clicking on the files will open them.

Application icons and buttons described

Once successfully logged in you will see the following window:

The Client window labelled



Any folders you are already a member of should appear (with the owner in brackets). If you have access to many folders then it may take a few minutes to fully synchronise.

  1. Status and last check – shows if your folders are synchronised and when the status was last checked.
  2. User account - shows the username the client was activated with.
  3. Quota bar - shows how much space you have used out of the 25 GB if you hover the mouse cursor over it. By clicking on the bar, a web browser page will appear which takes you to your Account profile and shows used storage, file history storage and free space.
  4. Auxiliary menu:
    1. Web – takes you to the user account folder list in the web portal.
    2. Explore – takes you to the default folder path using your default file browser (e.g. Windows Explorer on Windows).
    3. Pause – disables scanning for folder changes and current transfers.
    4. Preferences – allows you to configure the Client settings. You can choose to ‘Show advanced options’ to get access to additional features such as restoring file versions.
    5. Create Folder – allows you to create a folder from the Client window.
    6. Transfers – only visible when using Advanced options. Shows file transfers that have occurred in chronological order (most recent first).
  5. Folder list – shows all available and synchronised folders.
  6. Synchronised folder – clicking on the folder will either open up your file browser or if using advanced options, will show details such as which files are new or updated (marked in bold).
  7. Available (unsynchronised) folder – click on the folder to synchronise it locally.

Creating your base folder

By default, BEAR DataShare creates a folder within your Windows user profile, e.g. C:\users\user_name\DataShare 

BEAR DataShare will appear as a ‘Favourites’ destination:


This default folder can be used to synchronise and store information with BEAR DataShare.

 To create a folder, open up the Client window through the toolbar icon and click on ‘Create Folder’.

Create folder in Client

After clicking on ‘Create Folder’, the window ‘Choose Directory’ will pop up. Click on ‘New Directory’ and enter the name of the new folder, then click OK and it should appear in your list of folders.

Create new directory

Then click OK again and a new ‘Folder Configuration Wizard’ window will appear and notify you that setup was successful.

Setup folder successful

Select ‘Finish’ completing the setup. BEAR DataShare will now synchronise this folder with the BEAR DataShare server. You can add files to it either through Windows Explorer (make sure the Client is running) or on the web portal.

Synchronising existing folders between devices

You may already have existing folders which you wish to sync, so that you can access the data via the web portal or through other devices which have the Client installed. To sync existing folders, follow the steps for creating a folder above but instead of clicking on ‘New Directory’, navigate to the folder you wish to sync, select it and then click ‘OK’. It may take some time to sync the folder, depending on the size of the files to be uploaded.

Syncing folder


  • Do not sync folders such as ‘Documents’ or ‘Desktop’ as if syncing multiple devices, they will all have their own ‘Documents’ folder and DataShare will struggle to identify which ‘Documents’ belong to which device. Make sure folders that you sync have different names on the different devices.
  • Do not sync whole network drives – DataShare makes local copies of your folder and you may end up going over your College quota.

How to get help with BEAR DataShare

For more information on BEAR DataShare please go to our main webpage where you will find links to our Frequently Asked Questions and user guides including our full user guide, Canvas course (UoB only) and a quick user guide for invited users. To log a fault with BEAR DataShare you can log a ticket here: Report a Fault With BEAR or CaStLeS

Any other queries can be made online through the Service Desk or you can come and visit us in person at our regular drop-in sessions.


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