Backing Up Your Data and File Storage

Your documents take time and effort to create. Back up your hard work.

Your Hard Drive

It can be disastrous when your hard drive crashes and you need the information it contains. There are ways to prevent catastrophic data loss, and these methods are referred to collectively as “backing up”. Backing-up means copying your files to a separate location.

Please contact the Technology Support Center at 610-409-3789 if you need assistance or have any questions! 

At Ursinus College you have a few options for backing up your data. These include the network drive (S Drive), cloud storage like Microsoft OneDrive, and other options.

Network drives

Accessing the Ursinus shared drives (the “S” drive):

Each Ursinus user has access to network drives listed within the “S” drive. Network drive space is not unlimited, so please restrict your back-ups to data only. Data is usually stored in a “Documents” or “My Documents”, or “My Files” folder.

Note: These drives are only accessible while connected to the Ursinus network.

• After setup, the “S” drive will be listed as “ucdrives”. Within the “S” drive will be three directories: “Private”, “Public”, and “Share”.

• The “Private” directory is a private network drive which only you have access to, and no one else can view or use. It is connected when you log in.

• The “Share” directory is a shared drive for use by all the Faculty and/or Staff members in a given department. Students do not have access to this drive. Each department has department-level folders that restrict access to members of each respective department.

• The “Public” directory is a shared drive that can be seen and used by EVERYONE at Ursinus. It is NOT a location that you should use to backup your files. This directory should only be used for files that you wish to be seen, copied, used, etc., by anyone or everyone.

• There is a limit to the amount of space available on each of the network drives.

• The “Private” directory is currently limited to ten gigabytes.

Back up Data to a Network Drive:

• Open the folder containing the file(s) or directory(ies) you want to back-up.

• Find the file or directory.

For Windows:

• RIGHT click on the file or directory and select “copy”.

• Now, double click on the “Computer” icon.

• Double click on the drive you want to copy to (if copying to a network drive, that would typically be the “S” drive and then the “Private” directory).

• After you select the drive, right click on the directory and select “Paste”.

• When backing up, make sure you are copying FROM the My Documents folder on your computer TO the network drive.

• You may receive a “Confirm File Replace” warning. Click “Yes” if you want to replace your previous back up. (for windows 7 you will be asked if you want to copy and replace, don’t copy, or copy and keep both files. Select whichever option you wish to use).

For Macintosh:

There are two ways to copy/paste, first is by selecting the file and using Command+C to copy, then Command+V to paste where you want the copy to be. The second is quicker and less-known—by using the mouse and the Option key. Normally, the default system behavior would just move a file that’s dragged by the mouse (basically, cutting and pasting it), but holding down the Option key will cause it to make a copy of the file, just as though you had used the copy/paste functions in any normal app.

There’s a situation when the default behavior for mouse-dragging is reversed, though. OS X will try to copy files being dragged by mouse between drives, like in a network situation. For those instances, you can hold down the Command key while dragging the file. You’ll notice that the “plus” icon will disappear, meaning it’s not copying, but cutting instead. The file will be moved from the drive it’s on to the new drive, without leaving a copy of itself on both drives. Unfortunately, the keyboard shortcut for cutting (Command+X) just doesn’t work for files.

Other backup options

Cloud-based Storage

• Many of these services can be accessed via the internet, where you can upload your files directly to the service’s storage servers.

• Many also have applications available to download.

• These applications usually create a new folder on your computer. Any files placed into those folders should sync with the service’s storage servers, as long as you are on the internet.

• Through our Microsoft Software Agreement, Ursinus users have access to Microsoft OneDrive. OneDrive is the only cloud-based storage option that is supported and recommended by Ursinus. Other cloud based storage applications include Box, Drop Box, and Google Drive, but Ursinus cannot support or recommend using these for Ursinus data or backup. More info on OneDrive can be found below.


Microsoft OneDrive is available to you as an Ursinus Student, Faculty, or Staff member by using your Ursinus login credentials.

What is OneDrive?

OneDrive is an unlimited file storage and sharing service that allows users to create, save, update, access, collaborate on, and share files on their computer, web, and mobile devices. Changes made in OneDrive on your desktop, online, or in your mobile device automatically sync to your other devices. However, if you delete the file in one area (e.g. from OneDrive online), it also deletes it in the other places (e.g. OneDrive on your computer and in the OneDrive app). Therefore, make sure you backup your files to another storage system periodically (e.g. the S-drive).

How do I log in/access OneDrive?

• Go to this link:

After clicking the above link:

  1. Enter your Ursinus email address
  2. choose “Work or School Account” whenever prompted
  3. enter your Ursinus username and password in the next window.
  4. if asked to “Stay Signed In”, you may choose Yes.
  5. You should then be taken to your OneDrive location.

Copying to a flash/thumb drive

• After plugging in your flash drive, a drive link is assigned to the flash drive.

• You can then back up your data similarly as mentioned above under “Back Up Data to a Network Drive”.

• Open the folder containing the file or directory you are looking for (usually within the “My Documents” folder).

• Find the file or directory you want to back up and copy it to the flash drive.


If you’ve not backed up before, this may seem confusing at first. Please don’t hesitate to call, email, or stop by Tech Support in Myrin Library.

• When backing up, make sure you are copying FROM the My Documents folder on your computer TO the correct backup drive or location.

• If copying a file that you previously backed up to your back up location, you may receive a “File already exists” or “Confirm File Replace” or “Replace file” warning. Click “Yes” if you want to replace your previous back up. Again, make sure you copy FROM the file you want to back up, TO the back up location.

If you copy from the backup location to your local computer, you will overwrite the file that is most likely newer on your computer, with the older file that you backed up previously.

Need help or want assistance?

If you would like help backing up your data, feel free to stop by the Technology Support Center or call us at 610-409-3789 and we will be happy to assist you.