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Introduction

This page outlines the procedure to access network drives while off-site and connected via the VPN.

Requirements

  • CSCS User Account
  • A Windows 10 computer at home
  • VPN client installed as per the Installing the VPN Client on Windows Guide, with the client running and connected to our service
  • A reliable internet connection
  • Ideally use a wired over wireless connection

Instructions for home computers

  1. If you haven't already done so, launch the FortiClient VPN and set up the connection as usual.
  2. You need to know the "path" of the drive to which you wish to connect.  A list of all drives is located here: https://cscs.medschl.cam.ac.uk/user-services/group-drive/mapping-a-drive-to-a-group-or-home-drive/ (you will need to log in with your RAVEN password).
  3. Find your group drive and copy the text in the path column
  4. Open 'File Explorer' (This PC). On the menu bar across the top, select the 'Computer' tab, then the 'Map network drive' drop-down. Then click 'Map Network Drive'

  5. A new window will open titled 'Map Network Drive'. Choose a drive letter you wish to map the network drive to. For convenience, we recommend using the same drive letter you'd use at work. For example, using U: for your home drive. Then, in the Folder box, type in the network location retrieved earlier. You then have two options, per the Info box below.  Once complete, click Finish.


  6. You'll then be prompted for your username and password.
    1. You'll need to prefix your username with your domain. Example:
      • Medschl users: MINTS\abc123
      • Zoology users: BIOSCI\abc123
      • Sainsbury Laboratory users: SLCU\John.Smith
    2. Type in your username and password and click OK. 
    3. You also have the option to Remember the credentials. We recommend unchecking this to help prevent unauthorised access to your data
  7. If the network drive mapping is successful, the drive will then be displayed for you. It'll also be listed as a Network Location in File Explorer (This PC).


    • Reconnect at sign-in - This will automatically attempt to connect to the network drive every time you log in to your computer. If the VPN connection is active, this will work without any problems. However if the VPN connection is inactive, it'll fail and display a message stating so (more on this at the end of the document).
    • Connect using different credentials - you should tick this, as you'll need to specify your MINTS/BIOSCI/SLCU credentials to be able to access your network drives.



Other methods for finding the data path for a drive:

If you can't find your network drive path on the list or don't have Raven, try one of the following methods:

 How to find your network drive paths via File Explorer

Before you're able to connect to a network drive off-site, you need to determine where your data is stored. Do the following on your work computer.

  1. On your CSCS-supported/work computer, open This PC (File Explorer), and look at the network drives. Typically, your 'Home' drive will be mapped to '(U:)' and, if you have one, your group drive will be labelled 'Department Name Group Drive (V:)'. You may have other drives, labelled P: or W: and so on. Identify the network drives you wish to connect to. You should see something like the below:



  2. Although we've now identified the network drives we wish to access, this view doesn't show us where the data is actually stored. To find this, click the View menu tab in your File explorer (This PC) window.  In the Layout section of the View menu, please click 'Details', like so:



  3. The view you now have in This PC should resemble the screenshot below.



  4. Now we can see more details, but we still can't see the Network Location. To display this, right-click on the column headings (where it says Name | Type | Total Size | Free Space, in the screen shot above). Then click Network Location, like below:



  5. Now the Network Location column is visible. You can read across the window and determine the Network Location for your home drive, plus any other drives you may wish to connect to. In this example, we're looking at the U:\ (Home) and V:\ (Group) drives.


    In the example above, the U:\ drive is in '\\me-filer1.medschl.cam.ac.uk\home$\username'. This is the normal home drive path for any MEDLAN/MINTS user. Other common home drive locations include:

    '\\bio-filer1.biosci.cam.ac.uk\home$\username' (BIOSCI/Zoology users)

    '\\sl-filer1-02.slcu.cam.ac.uk\home$\FirstName Surname' (SLCU users - note the space in the folder at the end, rather than a full stop like your username)

    The group drive path given above is also common on MEDLAN/MINTS. Group drive paths might look like:

    '\\me-filer1\groups$\GroupName'

    '\\me-filer1\groups3$\GroupName'

    '\\zoodata.zoo.private.cam.a.cuk\groups$\GroupName'

    '\\bio-filer1.biosci.cam.ac.uk\groups$\GroupName'

    '\\slcu.cam.ac.uk\data\TeamName'

  6. At this point, take a note of the network locations you wish to connect to, as you'll need these later. Emailing them to yourself might be a good idea.

 How to find network drive paths via Command Prompt
  1. Open a Command Prompt, by clicking the Windows Start button, typing CMD, and clicking the Command Prompt desktop app.
  2. In the Command Prompt window, type net use
  3. You will see a list of drive letters and paths:



  4. In the example above, the U:\ drive is in '\\me-filer1.medschl.cam.ac.uk\home$\username'. This is the normal home drive path for any MEDLAN/MINTS user. Other common home drive locations include:

    '\\bio-filer1.biosci.cam.ac.uk\home$\username' (BIOSCI/Zoology users)

    '\\sl-filer1-02.slcu.cam.ac.uk\home$\FirstName Surname' (SLCU users - note the space in the folder at the end, rather than a full stop like your username)

    The group drive path given above is also common on MEDLAN/MINTS. Group drive paths might look like:

    '\\me-filer1\groups$\GroupName'

    '\\me-filer1\groups3$\GroupName'

    '\\zoodata.zoo.private.cam.a.cuk\groups$\GroupName'

    '\\bio-filer1.biosci.cam.ac.uk\groups$\GroupName'

    '\\slcu.cam.ac.uk\data\TeamName'


Instructions for CSCS-supported computers

Accessing your Group Drives

If your computer is supported by CSCS you'll already have your group drive(s) mapped, and these should reconnect within a few minutes when you connect the VPN.

Accessing your Home Drive

When logging in off-site, your home drive will not map automatically - however the data is accessible via profile folders such as the My Documents folder. If you store data explicitly in the root of your Home Drive and wish to access it then you will need to map the drive manually. See the first part of the "Instructions for home computers" section above.

Please note, if you create a manual mapping to your home drive using the letter U:\, this will be removed when you log out. You can map your home drive to a letter other than U:\ if you wish, however be aware that when you're back on site, you'll then have your home drive mapped twice, once as U:\, and another time using the letter you chose.

To connect to your home drives, you can simply browse the network drives you already have mapped as normal. However, it's good practice to wait for a few minutes after connecting the VPN before browsing the network drives. This allows them to connect properly and can aid in avoiding authentication issues.

FAQ

 On my CSCS-supported computer, I can't connect to my network drives, what should I do?
  1. Are you on the internet? Without an internet connection, you won't be able to access your drives.

    1. You will have troubles attempting to connect to network drives over a slower connection, i.e. over 3G or on public transport.
  2. Check your VPN connection is running and connected.

  3. Disconnect and reconnect the VPN, then, wait a few minutes before attempting to connect to your drives again.

  4. If you still can't connect, restart your computer.

  5. If the problem still persists, please get in touch with us.

 On my home computer, I can't connect to my network drives, what should I do?
  1. Are you on the internet? Without an internet connection, you won't be able to access your drives.

    1. You will have troubles attempting to connect to network drives over a slower connection, i.e. over 3G or on public transport.
  2. Check your VPN connection is running and connected.

  3. Double check that the network path you're attempting to connect to is correct.

    1. The format of the path will always start with a double backslash \\ follow by the server name.
  4. Double check you've entered your credentials correctly.
    1. Have you included the MINTS\, BIOSCI\, SLCU\ before your username?
    2. Have you changed your password recently? If you've chosen to Remember your password, you'll need to remove and re-add your network drives for them to work.
  5. If you still can't connect, restart your computer.

  6. If the problem still persists, please get in touch with us.

 What happens when I'm not connected via the VPN?
  1. You'll see the network drives in Computer will appear with a red cross against them:
  2. If you have your drives set to automatically reconnect at sign-on, you'll also see an error notification from the Windows tray: