Personal File Store

Accessing your Personal File Store on and off campus.

Finding and Saving files stored in your Personal File Store

Using a University imaged staff or student PC.

All students and staff have a personal file store (PFS). Files saved here are stored on a University server and can be accessed from any University computer and from any computer with Internet access. You can access and save files to your PFS in several ways on a University Windows 7 computer as described below.

  1. From the Start menu
    Select Documents:

    Windows start menu

  2. From Windows Explorer
    Select the Windows Explorer icon on the task bar:

    Windows 7 task bar

If you choose either of these methods, you'll be taken to the Documents library - see below.

You'll see the files that are stored in your personal file store:

Windows 7 documents library

From Start > Computer or Windows Explorer > Computer
You'll see a home drive listed under Network Location. 
This is an alternative way of accessing the files stored in your personal file store.

Computer in Windows 7

Windows 7 Libraries

A Windows 7 library is similar to a folder in that it displays one or more files or folders. However, unlike folders, libraries don't actually store items. They just display items from specified folders together in one place. The Documents library is an example of this.

Windows 7 has one main library called Libraries that contains four other Libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.

Windows 7 Documents Library

Each library contains two physical file locations, your personal folder, which is My Documents in the Documents Library, and the Public Documents folder (this is not the same as an Outlook public folder). Files stored in your personal file store are in the My Documents folder, but they are also displayed in the Documents library.

You can save and copy files directly to the Documents library, and these files will be stored in the My Documents folder as this is the default save location for this library.

Be aware that if you delete files or folders from within a library, they're also deleted from their original locations. If you want to remove an item from a library but not delete it from the location it's stored in, you should remove the folder containing the item. When you remove a folder from a library, all the items in the folder will be removed (but not deleted).

Access Personal File Store using Webdrive

You need to be able to install the webdrive software on the computer, so it is not suitable if you are using an Internet Café, for example.

In this case, use FTP or create a Network Location.

Use Webdrive software to set up a 'My Personal Storage' Icon

Go to: https://homedir.wlv.ac.uk/webdrive. You'll need your username and password to access this page of instructions, and install the software.

The username and password are the ones you use to log on to a University PC, e.g. 9933201 or in5555.

It is easy to install, and only takes a few minutes on the University network or an ADSL/cable connection. If you get a Security Alert about the security certificate, just click on Yes to proceed.

If you have any problems with the installation, call the IT Service Desk on ext. 2000, (01902-322000 from outside the University).

Once Installed

Once it is installed, you will find an extra icon on your desktop labelled "My Personal Storage". Double-click this, supply your user name and password, and you will shortly get a standard Explorer file window on the screen, showing the contents of your personal file store. Or you'll find your files listed under the X: drive in 'My Computer' or Windows Explorer.

If you also see an icon for "UoW Shared Storage" please don't use it.

There is a new way of accessing shared storage for staff: see Accessing Shared Departmental Storage outside the University

Notes:

  • The current version works on all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows, including Vista and Windows 7.
  • If you want to upgrade to the latest version, just install it again - there's no need to remove the old version.
  • If you are using a University laptop off campus, you should not install Webdrive. Your laptop automatically synchronises with your personal file store.

Tips for using Webdrive

  • The server end of this software has a bug which means that every folder in your storage area appears to contain an empty folder with the same name. Take care when copying files back to your X: drive not to select the empty folder.
  • If you are sharing a PC, you should disconnect from the X: drive, or else the next person to use your PC could access your files. To do this, right click on the Webdrive icon in the system tray at the bottom left of the screen. Select X: My Personal Storage, then Disconnect.
  • If you are running virus checking software (which we would strongly recommend), you should tell it not to check drive X:, as most virus checkers don't understand the way WebDrive operates.
  • If you have a firewall at home, you need TCP port 443 (HTTPS) open and your DNS resolving has to work correctly. 

Access Personal File Store without using Webdrive

Use this option if you are using Windows 8 and above.

How to use your personal file store (PFS) if you are off campus and can't/don't want to install software on the computer you are using. If you are able to install software, we recommend you install the Webdrive software on your computer to give you easy and secure access to your personal file store.

There are a couple of alternatives to installing Webdrive:-

  1. Create a network location or
  2. Use an FTP program.

If you create a network location, you'll need to enter your username and password each time you access a file. If you use FTP, be aware that your username and password will not be encrypted when they are sent, so this method is insecure. So there are pros and cons with each method.

1. Create a Network Location

The following instructions are for a Windows 7 computer.

  • Go to Start > Computer and right-click an open area on the right side of the window.
  • Select Add a network location.
  • The Add Network Location wizard will appear. Select Next.
  • When asked, "Where do you want to create this network location?" select Choose a custom network location > Next.
  • When asked for the address of the network location, enter: https://homedir.wlv.ac.uk/ > Next.
  • Enter your University IT Account username and password (the one you use to log on to University computers). > OK
  • Enter a name for the network location to identify it, e.g. University Personal File Store > Next.
  • When you see "Completing the Add Network Location Wizard" tick the box Open the network location when I click Finish and select Finish, (it may take some time for the folders to open the first time).

A Network Location has now been created in the "Network Location" section of Computer with the name you chose. (You can right-click the Network Location and select Send to... Desktop to create an shortcut to it on your desktop). Use this to get direct access to the files in your personal file store.

2. Use an FTP program

If you an FTP program then use the following details to access your PFS.

  • Host: homedir.wlv.ac.uk/
  • Username: Your Student or Staff ID.
  • Password: Your University IT Account password.

Access Personal File Store from mobile devices

All staff and students have a secure area for storing their files on University servers, which can be accessed on non-University computers and from outside the University.

This page describes how to access these files on non-windows devices, how to set this up, how to view, and in some cases edit, the files in your personal file storage area ("My Documents") at the University. It is also a simple way to move information between these types of devices, which can otherwise be difficult to do.

The information is moved securely, even when you are using wireless or 3G to access it, because it's encrypted using SSL as with financial transactions on the web. As a result it makes a good alternative to using cloud storage providers such as Dropbox or iCloud, and we recommend staff always use their personal file store rather than cloud storage services. This is particularly so when the information concerned is subject to Data Protection regulations or is commercially sensitive, because cloud storage is generally not located in the EU, and in some cases not covered by "Safe Harbor" agreements.

Accessing Personal Storage from an Apple Macintosh

  • Go to the Finder, and from the Go menu select Connect to Server.
  • In the Server Address: box, enter https://homedir.wlv.ac.uk/.
  • Now click Connect. You should now see a window asking for credentials.
  • Type in your University IT account username and password, then click Connect.
    To omit this step the next time, you can check "Remember this password in my keychain".
  • Shortly afterwards you should see a window listing all the objects in your My Documents folder.
    You can view or edit them just as you would at the University, provided you have applications that understand them (for example, you would need Microsoft Word or OpenOffice to edit a Word document).

Accessing Personal Storage from an iPhone or iPad

This requires that you download and install WebDAV Nav, a free app from the Apple store. 

  • When you connect to your personal storage, the device will display a list of all your files and directories.
  • If you tap an item, it will display it, provided it knows how.
  • If you rest your finger on the item, you get a menu.
  • This allows you to choose another application to open a file, such as QuickOffice Pro or Documents to Go. It also allows you to download local copies of files, which can then be accessed faster using the Local Storage icon (on the right of the menu bar), and to rename or delete files.

There are several icons at the bottom of the screen. Reading from left to right these are:

  • Create a new folder in your Personal Storage.
  • Refresh the list of files.
  • Upload an image from the Camera Roll on the phone to your Personal Storage (it needs Location Services to be turned on, and seems not entirely reliable).
  • The camera icon takes a picture and uploads it to your Personal Storage.
  • The clapperboard icon browses all the images in the current folder of your Personal Storage.
  • The Local Storage icon on the far right allows you to look at local copies of files you have downloaded.

There is also a paid version, WebDAV Nav+, which doesn't have advertising and adds a few extra features. Notably, it allows you to select multiple files to upload, and it turns your iPhone or iPad into a WebDAV server, which allows you to access your files (pictures, music etc) from someone else's hand-held device running WebDAV Nav.

Accessing Personal Storage from an Android device

You need to download and install WebDAV Navigator Lite from the Android Market, which works with Android 1.6 and later.

  • Start the app,
  • create the server entry pointing to https://homedir.wlv.ac.uk/ and
  • enter your IT account username and password.
  • Then connect and you will get a list of the contents of your personal storage (My Documents).

All the features of the iPhone/iPad version work the same way on Android.

As with the iPad/iPhone, there is a paid version, WebDAV Navigator, which has additional features and no advertising.

Accessing Personal Storage from a Blackberry

You need to download and install WebDAV Navigator Lite from the Blackberry App World, which requires Blackberry 5.0.0 or later. Start the app, create the server entry pointing to https://homedir.wlv.ac.uk/ and enter your IT Account username and password. Then connect and you will get a list of the contents of your personal storage (My Documents). The free version for the Blackberry doesn't support uploading at all, so if you want to use it for uploading pictures, you may want to consider the paid version. Other features work as on the other platforms.

Accessing Personal Storage from a Windows Mobile phone

The WebDAV client for Windows Mobile 7/8, is a paid app only version. You can find details on his Web site.