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.

Cloud-based Storage

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

• Many also have applications available to download onto your computer to sync your files to the cloud.

• These applications usually create a new folder/directory on your computer, and any files placed into this folder should sync with the service’s storage servers, as long as you connected to the internet.

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

OneDrive (Ursinus Preferred)

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-capacity 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 or 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” when prompted.
  3. Enter your Ursinus username and password in the next window.
  4. If asked to “Stay Signed In”, you may choose Yes if you’d like.
  5. You should then be taken to your OneDrive location.

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.  You must either be on campus or connected via VPN to access the S Drive.

• After setup, the “S” drive will be listed as “ucdrives”. Within the “S” drive will be two directories: “Private” 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 automatically 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 a department-level folder that restricts access to members of that given department.  There are also additional folders for specific projects, committees, or other special uses.

• 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 (10 Gb) per person.

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. Windows will offer you three options:  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. The first is by selecting the file and using Command+C to copy, then Command+V to paste where you want the copy to be placed.  You can also use your mouse to drag the file(s) from their home location into the S Drive, which will cause your Mac to copy the file(s) into the S Drive.

Typically, the default behavior in MacOS would be to just move a file that’s dragged by mouse from one location to another (basically, cutting and pasting). But when moving a file between drives (e.g. from your Mac hard drive to the S Drive), MacOS will instead copy the file instead of moving it.  If you do in fact want to move the file to the S Drive, 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 in both places.

In cases where you want to copy a file from one location on your Mac to another location on your Mac, you can hold down the Option key while dragging the file with your mouse.

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 you accidentally do the reverse (copy from the backup location to your computer, you will overwrite the file that is on your computer (most likely the newer file) with the older file that you had backed up previously.

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

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.