U Drive: Central File Storage for Users

Overview

U Drive is a central file storage for users that provides students, faculty and staff with a place to store files that can be accessed from anywhere, on- and off-campus.

U Drive files are available via the network in real time, from any computer on campus, both personal and institutionally owned. Windows, Mac and Linux computers are supported. Off campus, users will be able to access their files via standard internet protocols such as Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP). No additional software is needed to sync files, and desktop software (such as SPSS or Adobe products) can open and save files directly from the U Drive from campus.

This service is funded by the UW-IT Technology Recharge Fee and the Student Technology Fee.

Students:

Students can store up to 10GB of data, which is automatically backed up. This service is activated automatically for all students; you can use it right away.

Faculty/ Staff:

Faculty/ Staff are allotted 10 GB of data, which is automatically backed up. If you need more space than that, your quota can be increased with a UW Budget number on the Manage Your UW NetID Resources Web page.

Note: This service is not appropriate for storing regulatory-protected data, or sensitive information that may be subject to compliance regulations. See Information Security and Privacy Laws and Regulations for more information.

Sponsored:

Sponsored accounts are allotted 10 GB of data, which is automatically backed up. If you need more space than that, your quota can be increased with a UW Budget number on the Manage Your UW NetID Resources Web page.

Activate/Manage Your Storage

Students: U Drive is automatically activated for all students: http://uw.edu/itconnect/wares/udrive

Faculty/Staff: U Drive must be activated via the UW NetID Service Manage Page. Follow these steps from your browser to activate this service (This is only necessary this one time):

  1. StepsActions
  2. Navigate to your Manage Your UW NetID Resources Web page.
  3. Click on "Computing Services."
  4. Check the box next to "Central File Storage."
  5. Click on "Subscribe" to activate your storage.

This page is also where Faculty/Staff should be able to purchase additional quota with a UW budget number at a rate of $0.35 per GB per month.

Transitioning Between Statuses

Transitioning from Student status to Faculty/Staff:

In the case that default student quota is ever greater than the default staff quotas, limits will be lowered in the transition if these conditions apply:

  1.  If the user's usage is "well below" his new limit, his quota will be silently dropped to the new limit.  "Well below" is defined as "The usage plus the lesser of 25% of the limit or 250 MB is less than or equal to the new limit."  In particular, a user with zero usage and a new limit of zero will be silently dropped to zero.
  2. If the user is near (aka "not well below") or above his new limit:
    1. A warning email is generated explaining that the limit is going to be reduced in two weeks.
    2. When the deadline arrives, the quota is lowered.
    3. Prior to the deadline, the user's quota is dropped to his usage plus the 25% / 250MB grace value rounded up to the next gigabyte whenever his usage is "well below" his existing limit.

Transitioning to an Active Student affiliation:

Students’ quotas are set to 10GB as long as the total student usage of the service does not exceed the 15TB limit. To manage this quota after transitioning, go to the Manage Your UW NetID Resources Web page.

Transitioning from Faculty/Staff to Student status:

In the case of the Faculty/Staff having greater than 10GB for their quota, limits will be lowered to 10GB and changes may occur depending on how much of the quota is being used. When a Faculty/Staff changes their affiliation or adds an affiliation for Student status, they will be able to manage their storage quota for their U Drive services on the Manage Your UW NetID Resources Web page.

Accessing Your U Drive From On-campus (Students, Faculty and Staff)

Once you have activated the U Drive service (for faculty and staff), you are ready to access your storage on U Drive:

Using Windows

  1. StepsActions
  2. Press Windows-R (Press the udrive05 and R).
  3. Type \\udrive.uw.edu\udrive; Click OK.
    udrive01
  4. When prompted for Username and Password, enter as NETID\username, followed by your UW NetID password; Click OK.
    udrive02

Mac OS X

  1. StepsActions
  2. Open "Finder."
  3. Press Command-K (or Go -> Connect to Server from the menu).
  4. Enter: smb://udrive.uw.edu/udrive
  5. Click Connect.
    udrive03
  6. When prompted enter your UW NetID username and password.
    udrive04

Linux

Connect to smb://udrive.uw.edu/udrive

Accessing Your Storage From Off-campus

Option 1: If your local Department provides a virtual private network (VPN) service, create a VPN connection and follow the above steps.

Option 2: You may access your files via the SFTP protocol from off or on campus. Basic instructions are below.

SFTP from a PC/Mac/Linux computer via FileZilla

FileZilla is an open-source FTP/SFTP client that runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and many flavors of GNU/Linux. FileZilla has many powerful features, is cross-OS compatibility, and is in active development. FileZilla can be found here. After installed, refer to these directions to upload your files:

  1. StepsActions
  2. Open FileZilla
  3. Type in sftp.udrive.uw.edu for host.
  4. Enter in your NetID and password.
  5. For port, type in "22."
  6. Click on "QuickConnect." It may ask you for confirmation regarding the server. Accept the dialogue.
  7. Double click on "udrive" on the right side of the window. This will open your udrive folder.
  8. Drag files between the left side of the window (your computer) and the right side of the window (the U Drive)

Generic Transfer Settings

FileZilla is only one of many SFTP programs that are able to connect to the U Drive and move files back and forth. The following table outlines the basic connection settings which can be used with other programs.

Generic Connection Settings
Setting Value
Hostname/Server sftp.udrive.uw.edu
Port 22
Protocol SFTP/SSH
Username NetID
Password UW NetID Password
Directory udrive

Sharing

The Central File Storage with the UW, U Drive, is not a shareable drive.  Some alternatives that are available for file sharing are UW Google Drive, Dropbox, or UW OneDrive for Business (formerly UW SkyDrivePro).

Retrieving Backups of Your Files

The U Drive service provides access to previous versions of your files providing one version a day for a week, one version a week for a month, and one version a month for a year. These versions of your files are called snapshots. All of your U Drive snapshots are stored in a directory (location described below) called "udrive", and the name of each snapshot directory reflects the date it was created.

To access your snapshots from on-campus, follow the instructions above for "accessing your U Drive" to open the following:

  • Windows Users:
                    \\udrive.uw.edu\snapshots
  • Mac OS X and Linux users:
                    smb://udrive.uw.edu/snapshots

To access snapshots from off-campus:

  • Follow the instructions above, but double click on "snapshots" rather than "udrive"

Guidelines and Rules

Privacy

The Central File Storage Service is provided to support UW activities and is subject to state laws and UW policy.

Data as Public Record

Data is a public record when it is created or stored in the transaction of public business. As such, it must be retained as evidence in accordance with UW records retention practices:

  • UW Records Management - Information records management, retention, storage, and destruction
  • RCW 40.14 - Washington State law relating to preservation and destruction of public records

Information for Departmental IT Staff

Benefits of the U Drive

  • User self-service file recovery via snapshots
  • UW-IT service with 24/7 monitoring and helpdesk support provided by help@u
  • Reduces the storage capacity requirements for individual units
  • Single Sign On (SSO) enables access without a password prompt when logged on with NetID credentials

Windows Drive Mounting

U Drive share can be mounted as a traditional Windows network drive by users, via a logon script, or via GPO.

For users logged onto computer with their UW NetID credentials their credentials are passed through automatically. Units can enable UW NetID logins via either:

Below is the syntax for a simple .BAT script that is executed on user logon:

NET USE U: \\udrive.uw.edu\udrive /PERSISTENT:YES

If a user is not logged on with their NETID credentials, then they need to specify their NETID username:

NET USE U: \\udrive.uw.edu\udrive /USER:NETID\%username% /PERSISTENT:YES

While any letter maybe used, departments are encouraged to use "U:" if feasible to provide a standard mount point across campus.

Windows "homeDirectory" Support for NETID Users

This information is for units who have a UW-IT Computer Support Org set up.

The AD attributes for "homeDrive" and "homeDirectory" can be set via the support group tool under the UWWI Settings section.

This will cause Windows to automatically map the U Drive upon login. Programs that use the user variables %HOMEDRIVE% and %HOMESHARE% will be able to make use of the U Drive automatically.

Mac and Linux Single Sign On Support

SSO support for Mac and Linux users is provided via the Kerberos tickets. Users can obtain a Kerberos ticket by authenticating via the NETID.WASHINGTON.EDU realm, or by requesting a ticket via the kinit command:

kinit netid@NETID.WASHINGTON.EDU

Subsequent mounts of smb://udrive.uw.edu/udrive should complete without a username/password prompt.

Additionally Macs and Linux machines joined to a UW NetID delegated OU support SSO for users logged on via NetID credentials.

Support Information

Documentation: http://uw.edu/itconnect/wares/udrive

Support: help@uw.edu

UW Information Technology Service Center

Front Desk: UW Tower C-3000 (4333 Brooklyn Ave NE)

Online Help Form: http://uw.edu/itconnect/help

Phone: 206-221-5000

Last modified: November 10, 2014