This page has been imported from our previous wiki and is still in the process of being reviewed. It may be out of date or inaccurate.

Introduction

There are a lot of different places to store files here at Newcastle. This page attempts to describe many of them and offer advice to members of Computing Science as to which are appropriate for different types of files.

Different storage options are optimised for different use-cases: Some are built to support large capacities, others are designed to be high-performance. With any approach there are trade-offs. We strongly recommend work practises that ensure that all data is backed up.

Table of Contents

Personal File Space

The Campus Managed Desktop is a system designed for use on a Network. The local storage on Managed Desktop PCs is considered to only be for software and temporary files. Anything permanent or of value to your research or teaching should be stored on a ''networked filestore''.

Home Folder Service

This is the place that your day-to-day files will be stored.

On a Managed Desktop PC, You should save any documents or data you value in the ''Documents'' folder, which is directed to the H: network drive. This file space is provided by central NUIT's Home Folder Service; it is backed up regularly and can be accessed (securely, by you only) from anywhere on the Internet. The current quota for both staff and students is 4GB and may not be increased: if you need more space then you should consider using the Home Archive Service which provides up to 20GB of extra space for infrequently accessed files in an archive format.

  • To find out your current usage see the tip "How much space is available in my Home Folder?"
  • It may be possible to recover files which have been recently deleted or changed by selecting the Previous Versions tab from the properties of any file or folder (see Shadow Copy Service for more information about this facility) but note "Although the IT Service makes backups of all Home Folders every day, these are for use only by the IT Service in case of a need for Disaster Recovery: they are not available for the restoration of individual files or folders. Requests to ISS for data restores outside the Shadow Copy window (10 days) cannot be granted. System backups are retained for three months, after which they are deleted."
  • On a personal machines you may choose to cache some or all of your H: drive locally, via the Windows ''off-line files'' feature, enabling you to access files when the network is unavailable. This is strongly recommended for portable computers.

[!] Your mail folders reside on the Outlook Exchange server so do not take up any of the home space allocation See Exchange Server for more information about these limits.

The User Profile

The user profile contains your desktop files, personal Windows settings, and various personal application settings. By default it ''roams'' ( i.e. a copy is kept on a network file server), but not, from 2011, for most Advanced MSc course machines. Whenever you log in to a machine with roaming profiles enabled your personal settings and desktop icons are copied from the network copy of your profile to the local disk. If you have logged in previously to the PC (then file synchronization takes place rather than a simple copy (this doesn't apply to "cluster" PCs such as the Riggs in the Rack). The end result is that:

  • If using a roaming profile you need to log off to get your settings and desktop files stored in the profile server.

  • You can log in to your own machine with your usual settings even if the network is unavailable, regardless of whether you use a roaming profile.

  • When using a roaming profile you should leave as little on your desktop as possible as your user profile is limited to 64MB (ISS recommend keeping only shortcuts on it) and the bigger it is the longer login/logoff takes. You will get a warning as soon as you get near or go over the limit. See Why do I get an error message about lack of space when I logoff? for a more detailed explanation of the User Profile and how to avoid filling it.

  • If you log in to a someone else's PC which has roaming profiles enabled, then a copy of your roaming profile will be left behind on that PC which will be readable by its owner if they have administrator access.

  • If you log on to two or more PCs at the same time using a roaming profile on each, and make changes to the profile on any, then the "last writer wins" i.e. the profile state on the PC on which you log off last will prevail. This can explain why icons on the desktop which you thought you had deleted have mysteriously reappeared.

If you don't want your user profile to roam then the facility can be turned off for your PC only - see Can I stop my profile from roaming?. If you are not sure if your profile is roaming or not a particular PC then the simplest way is to check if proquta.exe is running (e.g. form the Task Manager): if it is then you are using a roaming profile.

/!\ Whether roaming or not, your user profile is not securely backed up and should be treated as useful but dispensable. Do not keep any important documents on the Desktop or elsewhere within the profile. Note that if you do not have a roaming profile to nag you, you may inadvertently store a large amount of data there.

The Local Disk

On most systems, (unless running an elevated application) you don't have write access to folders on the local hard disk apart from sections of your ''User Profile'' and the C:\Temp folder. You shouldn't attempt to create extra folders explicitly in the ''User Profile'' (which is stored in the ''Users'' folder). If you want to use the local disk for temporary extra storage you can:

  • Use a separate disk partition if available. Typically only a portion of the disk is allocated to the system partion C:. You may have a D: drive but not be able to create folders within it - if so give your campus id ''Full Control'' : take ''Properties'' of D:, then select the ''Security'' tab). If you appear not to have a D: drive than the ''Disk Management'' component of the ''Computer Management''(right click on ''My Computer'' and select ''Manage'' to invoke this). Utility lets you partition and format your disk (you are asked to elevate when you invoke ''Manage''). Always use NTFS format and give full rights to your campus id.
  • Use C:\Temp which persists across reboots on personal machines
  • Create a folder within C: and give full control to your campus id

/!\ You need to be aware that no backup is taken of your local disk and that the C: drive will be erased if ever Windows has to be re-installed. In particular, be careful where you locate any Outlook Personal Folder or Archive (PST) files since the default is a "hidden" folder in the C: drive.

/!\ When creating disk partitions, beware that if you use up all drive letters before H: (e.g. you have 3 disk partitions plus CD and DVD) then you will hit problems if you ever connect a USB Flash/Key disk/Memory stick, see "Why can't I see my USB Flash/Key disk/Memory stick?" and "Why can't I see my home directory when I use my USB Flash/Key disk/Memory stick?" in the Windows FAQ.

/!\ If you have a separate disk partition consider enabling ''System Protection'' for the drive from the ''System'' control panel. This lets you to allocate a portion of the disk for "Previous Versions" similar to your H: drive - see I've accidently deleted some files - can I recover them?.

Shared File Space

Although it is possible to arrange for others to access your H: drive and local disk, this is not ideal for sharing data. Shared Windows server space of a moderate size is available on request to cs.support@ncl.ac.uk: please indicate how much space you need and who needs access to it. This space will be allocated within the \\campus\dept\compsci Windows file share which is also available via the ISS Web Folders service at (https://webfolders.ncl.ac.uk/dept/compsci) (note, it is possible to access a web folder without using a web browser, e.g. by mapping a drive letter) and via an ftp client which supports FTPES to ftpes://ftpfolders.ncl.ac.uk - see FTP Folders.

Features are:

  • 600 gig space (60 per cent taken as of Feb 2012
  • Regular offsite backups are taken (currently once a day) for disaster recovery only
  • Shadow copy (a.k.a "previous versions") is supported
  • Certain file types not allow (e.g. .EXE (executable) and .PST (Outlook archive) see Shared File Store Service for the full list).
  • Available from off-campus

Research Data Warehouse Service

The Research Data Warehouse is an ISS service designed to provide large-capacity secure storage to groups on campus on a cost-recovery basis but is closed to new users as of October 2011.

Features are: * Allocation is in blocks of 1 TB * Regular offsite backups are taken (usually once a day) for disaster recovery only * Shadow copy (a.k.a "previous versions") is supported

Scratch (Temporary) Network file space

We have space provided by ISS's Scratch Storage Service. This is accessible from \campus\scratch\csscratch or here if on campus and using IE). If you are a CS Staff member or PhD you can create a folder yourself inside the Public or Private subfolders: choose the former if you wish others to be able to see the content and the latter if not. To request any other usage pattern please raise a support ticket.

Features are:

  • 250 Gig space (total, not per user :( )
  • No backups will be made
  • Shadow copy (a.k.a "previous versions") is not supported
  • Retention has been set at 90 days. Any files with a 'Created' timestamp equal to or greater than 90 days will be automatically deleted.
  • There are no restrictions on the file types you can store there (no file screens)
  • Not Available from off-campus
  • We could ask for more space if required

Managing Your File Space

Whatever file space you have, you will inevitably fill it up. The FAQ entry How do I find out where my file space has gone? suggests some utilities which may help.