Accessing Your University Files Remotely from Windows

Users with Microsoft Windows computers outside the Computer Science network - at home, in Halls of Residence or elsewhere on the Internet, can access their University files on the School's fileservers.

Users can access their Windows Novell H: drive, their Linux home directory, their Macintosh home directory, their Users web site and their Project web site. This Note tells you how you can access the files from Windows PCs and laptops.

Remote access is through the School's SFTP gateway servers. For information about where your files are and which gateways to use, see Accessing Files Remotely.

To access from within the University or through the VPN (staff and research students only), you can use Microsoft CIFS protocols instead.

Microsoft Windows and SFTP

For Microsoft Windows we recommend WinSCP as a good SFTP client. WinSCP is an Open Source application available under the Free Software Foundation GNU General Public Licence. It can be installed to behave like Windows Explorer and you can drag and drop files between it and other Windows file windows.

Installing WinSCP

Download WinSCP from http://winscp.net.

It downloads a self-extracting .EXE file. Run the file to install WinSCP.

During installation, you will be asked to choose the initial user interface. WinSCP can display files and directories like Norton Commander or like Windows Explorer. The examples below assume you have chosen the Explorer-like interface.

Connecting WinSCP to a Fileserver and Accessing Files

Start WinSCP from the Start->All Programs menu (The Programs on Vista) or from its icon.

In the WinSCP login window, enter the name of the fileserver. Here we have used home.cs.cf.ac.uk to connect to the your Linux home directory. But use driveh.cs.cf.ac.uk, or websites.cs.cf.ac.uk, or machome.cs.cf.ac.uk as appropriate.

Type your user name in the User Name field and your standard password in Password field. Make sure the Port Number is 22 and that the File protocol is SFTP. Click on Login to connect to the fileserver.

Note that home and websites also accept public key authentication instead of password authentication. Look at Configuring Passwordless Login on Linux for how to create a public/private key pair for these servers and see WinSCP's guide to public key authentication (external site).

The first time you connect to a server, you must add the server's fingerprint to your key cache.

WinSCP window

Once the connection is made, a WinSCP window opens. You can drag files between the window and the desktop or Windows Explorer windows.

Copy Confirmation

WinSCP prompts for confirmation when you copy a file.
You can turn this dialogue box off, if you prefer.

Deleting Files

To delete a file, right-click on the file icon to obtain an options menu, and select Delete.

Disconnecting

When you have finished, disconnect from the server by using the File pull-down menu.

Another SFTP Application

There is a Windows version of Filezilla, the free FTP/SFTP client application. This gives you a window divided vertically such that the left-hand panel gives you a view of the local file system, while the right-hand panel is a view of the remote file system. You can drag and drop files between the two.

Filezilla can be downloaded from http://filezilla-project.org/.

Using Native CIFS Protocols

From within the University networks, or through the University's VPN, you can use the native Windows CIFS protocol to connect to gateway servers home.cs.cf.ac.uk, machome.cs.cf.ac.uk, or websites.cs.cf.ac.uk. You will need to authenticate using Active Directory Domain id.add.cardiff.ac.uk.

In addition, University IT has provided a CIFS server which you can use to access your University Windows H: drive. It is comsccifs1.cf.ac.uk.

Open the Windows file manager and select My PC.

Click on Add a New Location.

The Add Network Location wizard starts. Click Next to go on and create a shortcut to the gateway server.

We want to choose a custom location where we will specify the address of the gateway server. Click on Next.

In the network address field, type the share's UNC (Universal Naming Convention) address of the form \\server-name\sharename where the server-name is websites.cs.cf.ac.uk or home.cs.cf.ac.uk or machome.cs.cf.ac.uk to connect to your website files or School Linux home or Macintosh home directories, or is comscifs1.cf.ac.uk to connect to your H: drive. The sharename is your username.

Click on Next.

In this panel you can give the shortcut a name or simply click Next to accept the default name.

Finally check the box so that the connection will be opened straight away and click Next again.

The connection will fail and prompt you to type in your username and password.

In order to connect to websites, machome or home you must authenticate using the University Active Directory server, and precede your username with the Active Directory Domain id.add.cardiff.ac.uk.

For comsccifs1 do NOT use the Active Directory domain, just type your username alone.

The password is your usual University password.

Click OK to connect.

The file explorer window opens to show your files on the gateway server - websites.cs, machome.cs or home.cs or comsccifs1.