Computer Lab Lessons

Mapping your Computer

  Directories A:\ C:\ W:\ Z:\ Drives

 

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How to Use Directories at NAU

Local Hard Drive vs. Network Directories

Some of you may well understand the way in which the computing storage resources at NAU are organized, and may want to skip this section. For those who have not examined the way in which user data may be stored and accessed for maximum availability, it will be a good idea to do the tutorial that follows.

When you set up your dana account you are given space on network servers in two areas: webhome, sometimes mapped to your W: drive on some PCs at NAU; and an area that has the same name as your dana account, mapped to the Z: drive on most PCs at NAU. These areas are completely different than what you typically use, which is the C: drive on your PC.

1.      On your computer desktop, double click on the icon that says “My Computer.”

2.      Note that there are several major levels shown:

a.      Hard Disk Drives

                                                              i.      Hard Disk (C:)

This is the drive that is physically located in the chassis of the computer you are using. Its contents are only available to you when you are using this specific computer, unless you have allowed network access to it (which is unlikely and a whole other complicated subject altogether). So, if you store a file on this PC’s C: drive, you won’t be able to access it from the computer right next to you, or down the hall, in your office, in your home, etc.

b.      Devices with Removable Storage

                                                              i.      3 ½ Floppy (A:)

This is the drive you can use to transfer files to and from floppy disks, located on most PCs. Because its media is removable, you can copy things to it and take them with you to use on other PCs. Floppies are perfect for making small backups of files that collectively don’t exceed 1.4 megabytes in size.

                                                            ii.      DVD-CD/RW Drive (D:)

This is the drive that enables you to read or write CDs, located on some PCs. Because the media is removable, you can use it to transfer data to and from various PCs. On systems that can write to a CD, you can store up to 600 megabytes, which makes such media suitable for larger backups.

c.      Network Drives

                                                              i.      webhome on ‘Dana Samba Server (dana.ucc.nau.edu)’ (W:)

This space is used only for web site files and images.

This drive is a “virtual” disk drive which maps to space reserved for you out on the NAU server “farm.” It is not connected to any specific computer, but rather is available through any computer that is enabled by an authorized user. However, although it is currently visible on the lab computers as the W: drive, on other computers it may not be so easily accessible and may require a program like FTP (for File Transfer Protocol) to access.

                                                            ii.      xyz99 on ‘Dana Samba Server (dana.ucc.nau.edu)’ (Z:) (where ~xyz99 would be your own dana account name)

This drive is a “virtual” disk drive which also maps to space reserved for you out on the NAU server “farm.” It is not connected to any specific computer, but rather is available through any computer that is enabled by an authorized user. However, although it is currently visible on the lab computers as the Z: drive,  and is also visible automatically on other computers around the NAU campus, it will not be so easily accessible from non-NAU computers and may require a program like FTP (for File Transfer Protocol) to access. This is the directory where your most important files ought to be stored if you wish to have access from the most locations without carrying removable media like floppy disks and CDs. For example, if you do some work here and then save the file to a directory on your Z: drive, you can later go over to the Cline Library and work on that same file there. In your office, although you may have to use FTP to copy the file to the local hard drive, it will still be accessible. Even on your laptop at home, you can log into the network using FTP and copy the file to your local drive for access.

 

3.      Something that has been done for you is the creation of a shortcut, which is a way of gaining quick access to what might be long directory paths. Here’s an example: in your “My Computer” window, in the left pane, click on the “My Computer” icon, and note its expansion.

4.      Click on the Z: drive icon.

5.      Click on the NTProfile icon.

6.      Click on the Personal icon. Quite a long path to get to your files, isn’t it?

7.      Now, just click on the icon that says, “My Documents.” You see that you have instantly navigated right to the same place that the previous several steps did. Use the scroll bar to the right side of the pane to go up and down and note that you have two different paths to the same place. This is important to know for those times when you are on a PC which does not have the shortcut set up for you.

8.      Collapse all the file folders back, and close the window. Now, starting with the “My Computer” icon, navigate back to your files.

9.      Next, create a new folder in the directory “My Documents.” With your cursor in the right-hand pane of the window, right-click and select New->Folder, or go to the File menu and select New->Folder.

10.  Click once inside the text below the new folder that says “New Folder.” Type in a new name, for example, “Stuff I Like.”

11. Double click the icon of your new folder to open it. You can, if you like, now add folders to this folder and folders to those folders, and so on, to create a hierarchical structure for organizing your work. For those of you who are saying, “Yeah? So what? This is trivial,” it must be pointed out that despite the triviality of directory creation, woefully many people organize everything on their desktops, ending up with hundreds of icons, unable to find anything. Thus, in the interest of making sure everyone is at least aware of this capability for organizing all your work on the NAU network servers for easy access, this module is provided

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