Frequently Asked Questions on how to access and use R: Drive (research data storage).


Each storage allocation automatically appears as a folder in the new R: drive when you log on to a VU computer.

Use it like an extra disk drive to create new files, store old files and backup important files. The storage can be used for anything from working files to long term retention of research data/files.

Researchers and students on the same project can share files.

For non-VU computers and for access from home see the FAQ section on remote access.

This could be one of the following reasons:

  • Internet is not connected - seek IT help, offline access is possible if setup first (see below)
  • you don't have permission - the allocation owner/requester can check and change who has access to each allocation by contacting the IT Service Desk
  • you're not using a VU Windows PC or the PC installation is non-standard - seek IT help or follow the remote access steps
  • the folder is new - it can take a day for the folder to appear once created. Try logging out and back in again.

Occasionally people have experienced access problems immediately after a folder is created. Permissions on some systems can take a day or two to take effect. Try logging out and back in again. If this fails the owner/requester should submit another request to change the folder access.

The first listed manager is effectively the owner of the R: drive allocation and they alone can request access changes to the folder. Contact the IT Service Desk, specify the exact R: drive folder name, ask for people to be added to or removed from a research drive folder, and provide their VU email addresses or staff and student numbers. You will be notified once the change has been made.

Put simply, the research storage (R: drive) has a higher level of security than your desktop or any USB drive. Using the R: drive reduces the risk of accidental loss, damage, file corruption and theft of data. The owner of an allocation (each folder) determines who has access to their files, if anyone.

The storage is physically secured in a VU data-centre with limited access to IT personnel who maintain the hardware, and digitally secured through enterprise systems, firewalls and monitoring, including username and password access control. The research storage is based on enterprise grade storage (SAN) providing safety from hardware failures (RAID6) and safety from user or computer error or loss (twice daily system copies, off-site backup to tape three times a week to second VU data-centre). For someone to gain access to a project allocation, or have access removed, a registered request must be made via the IT Service Desk. All requests are approved by the ITSSO (ITS Security Office). Verifiable requests made by the allocation's owner will be promptly approved.

The Human Research Ethics Committee are aware of the VU research storage and the VU Ethics Form suggests its use over less secure mechanisms. Each ethics application will still be reviewed for appropriate use of digital data, including storage and retention mechanisms.

You can access the research drive from a remote computer or off-campus if connected to the VU Virtual Private Network (VPN). You will need to install any required VU VPN software on the remote computer first, run it and then connect. If you're using a VU laptop you may then have access (once connected). If not you will then need to follow the below section on non-VU PCs.

Connecting to the VPN isn't that spectacular, it simply puts your computer/iPad/iPhone onto the VU internal network (virtually). But once connected, you'll be able to connect to the VU Intranet services that you want, in this case the R: drive.

For Mac OS-X users instructions are available on the ITS downloads page. For Windows users simply download the required software from the ITS downloads page, install it, run the CISCO VPN client, and double click on the staff or student option to connect. For Android users you can find instructions on the ITS Wireless Network Knowledge Base. (If you've got Linux try experimenting with the Max OS X settings.)

Remember, if you are not using a VU laptop you will need to follow the below section on non-VU PCs after you are connected to the VPN.

If you've got an enterprise version of Windows (all VU laptops and PCs do) then you can make some of your R: files available offline. This is great for working when you're not connected to the Internet (planes, trains, going bush, off-site).

Right click the folders you want made offline then select "Make Available Offline", but read the notes below first. These files and folders will then appear available even when not connected to the Internet. Transparently, a copy of the files is kept on the local hard drive. When offline, all updates are made locally, and any updates are then synchronised back to the server when you reconnect.


  1. The first time you "offline" a folder all the files are immediately (invisibly) cached to your local disk. This will take time.
  2. Don't "offline" folders larger than your local hard drive.
  3. Think twice about taking folders/files offline that many people update often. You may edit older versions of files and overwrite. Windows will warn you if this happens and ask what to do, so read messages carefully.
  4. Deleting offline folders and files will delete them off the server also. (Make sure this is what you want.)

Advice: Offline only what you're currently working on or need for reference. And diligently read any windows message. It's a powerful tool if used correctly!

You can either use Windows Explorer for browse access or map a network drive (see below).

Start Windows Explorer: press keys Windows + E
Address: \\\Research
Connect using a different user name
User name: AD\e??????? or AD\s???????
Password: [your email password]
Optional: use "Tools..." "Map Network Drive..." to set this to R: drive

Windows (non-VU) map drive

Start Windows Explorer: menu "Tools..." "Map Network Drive..."
Drive: set to R: drive
Folder: \\\Research

Reconnect at login: tick
CLICK "different user name" to enter you username and password.
User name: AD\e??????? or AD\s???????
Password: [your email password]

Use 'Connect to Server' in the Go menu.

Address: smb://
Workgroup or Domain: AD
Name: e??????? or s???????
Password: [your email password]

Android ES File Explorer access: select "LAN shares." "New Server."
Domain: AD
Username: e??????? or s???????
Password: [your email password]
NOTE: no VU VPN solution for Android yet so only works on campus via VicUni wireless.
WiFi settings: Click on network "VicUni", EAP method "PEAP", Identity "AD\e???????" or "AD\s???????", your email password.

You will need to install the cifs-utils package to make sure you can connect to Windows Shares (tested on Debian and Ubuntu).


Linux access (Gnome): choose "Connect to Server..."
Type: Windows share
Share: Research
Folder: /
Domain: AD
User name: e??????? or s???????
Password: [your email password]


Linux access (Nautilus): choose "Go" and "Location..."
Location: smb://
Domain: AD
User name: e??????? or s???????
Password: [your email password]

System mount

Linux access (system mount): As root run the following command..."
$ mount -t cifs -o user=AD/e5101267,uid=lylejw,gid=lylejw // /mnt/R

Replace "e5101267" with your staff or students number and uid and gid values with local user and local group names.

You'll be prompted for your password. Remember, cifs-utils package must be installed first.

There's no current solution for iPhone or iPad.