File Storage

What file storage services are available? | How can I use the file storage? | How do I connect to the file storage?
Is the file storage backed up? | What other file sharing options are available?

What file storage services are available?

The Biochemistry Department is utilizing services offered by DoIT to provide file storage services to labs, facilities and departmental offices. We primarily utilize two storage locations to fulfill our storage needs, and Each of these storage locations provides different types of data storage.

Biochemistry PIs, and their lab users, should generally use as their primary research data storage location. Any data that isn't lab data is stored on This includes, committee folders, facility data, Biochemistry Office folders and teaching data.

How can I use the file storage?

The file services provide space that can be used to store UW relevant data. Each major storage area is configured to allow maximum flexibility to meet your storage needs. The file storage services are available anywhere with internet access by using the departmental or campus VPN services. Please see the Remote Access page for more information.

PI Labs

Each Biochemistry PI is configured to use the UW provided service.  When managed by the Biochemistry IT group the storage is configured with the following major folders:

  • General - This folder is the main storage location for the lab. All users authorized for access to the lab's data have read/write access to this directory. Labs are expected to create an organization structure that meets there needs and insures data can be located as needed, avoids duplication of data, etc.
  • PI - This folder is restricted to only the PI of the lab. Lab members should not have access to this folder.
  • Special - This folder is for any directory that may require special permission structures. For example, a PI may want a folder that only they can add files to but all lab members can read the files. Or they may want to collaborate with another faculty member and allow them to access a specific folder in this location.
  • UWBC-Dropbox - This optional folder allows UW-Biotechnology Center to add data to the lab's ResearchDrive storage. Any member of the lab is able to read or delete data from this location. Lab members are not able to add any data to this folder. If your lab utilizes UW-Biotechnology Center and doesn't have this folder please open a ticket on the Job Board to request it.

Other Shares

There are a number of other shares available on These locations are only accessible to users with permissions to data within each specific share and may include:

  • Committees - Biochemistry departmental committees can request a folder within this share to store committee related data.
  • Facilities - A location for departmental facilities to store internal and external data as needed. This is the share you need to use to work with the MediaLab, etc.
  • Groups - This share is used for labs that may no longer meet the PI requirements for An example would include certain Emeritus PI's.
  • Office - Used by the various Biochemistry Office groups.
  • Teaching - Used by the Biochemistry Teaching staff.

How do I connect to the file storage?

Android | iOS & iPadOS | Mac | Windows | Linux - Desktop | Linux - Server


There are several apps available that are capable of connecting to the file server. For this example we will be using Astro File Explorer. You can download it for free from the Google Play Store.

ASTRO Filemanager -

  1. Make sure you using the Departmental VPN or UW VPN to access the Network.
  2. After installing and opening the app, tap the plus (+) sign next to the 'Storage Locations'.
  3. Choose 'SMB Server'
  4. Connect to the appropriate server and share:
    • For PI Lab Shares
      • Server: \\\<PI NetID>
        • Username: <Your NetID>
        • Password: <Your NetID password>
    • For Other Shares

iOS & iPadOS

iOS 13 and iPadOS include server capabilities within the Files app. You will need to use the Departmental VPN to connect from anywhere other than the Eduroam wireless on campus.

  1. Select Browse at the bottom of the Files app screen.
  2. Tap the ... option
  3. Choose Connect to Server
    1. Server: OR
    2. Click Connect
  4. Select Registered User (it should be selected by default)
  5. Use <Your NetID> username and <Your NetID password> password
  6. Click Next


  1. In the Finder, choose 'Connect to Server' from the 'Go' menu.
  2. Enter the server name to map
    • For PI Lab Shares: smb://
    • For Other Shares: smb://
      Note: If prompted, use <Your NetID> and <Your NetID password> for this server
  3. Select the share(s) you wish to connect to.
  4. The share window(s) will open.


  1. Navigate to 'This PC' . One easy way to do this is Search for and open 'This PC'.
    • Click the Computer tab at the top of the window
    • Choose 'Map network drive'
  • To connect to the server:
    1. In the 'Folder' field, type one of the paths below:
      1. For PI Lab Shares - \\\<PI NetID>
      2. For Other Shares - \\\<See 'How can I use the file storage?' for options>
    • If you log into this computer with your NetID:
      1. This computer should connect automatically as the logged in user, click finish
        Please Note: You should NOT be logging in with just your NetID, the proper login is <Your NetID> For example, Username:
    • If you don't log into this computer with your NetID:
      1. Check the 'Connect using different credentials' box
      2. Click Finish
      3. Username: <Your NetID> (example:
      4. Password: <Your NetID password>

Linux - Desktop

  1. From the sidebar in a desktop window
    • Choose "Connect to Server" (last option)
    • Enter the server name:
      • For PI Lab Shares - \\

      • For Other Shares - \\

    • User Name: <NetID>
    • Domain Name: "" or ""
    • Enter your NetID password
  2. Click "Connect"
  3. Choose which share you would like access

Linux - Server

Biochemistry IT can configure managed servers to automatically mount ResearchDrive. The Biochemistry Computation Cluster, and managed lab servers are configured this way.  You should be able to access your lab's storage by visiting: /mnt/rdrive/<PI NetID>

Is the file storage backed up?

Yes! - Data on both and is automatically backed up daily and replicated offsite for additional data protection. Snapshots are taken once a day and kept for 14 days and then weekly snapshots are kept for an additional two weeks. This allows data recovery for accidently deleted or damaged files and folders within the past month.

If you think you may have accidently deleted files that you may need please create a ticket on the Biochemistry Job Board immediately.  The sooner we are informed about data that needs to be restored the better the chance of recovery.

What other file sharing options are available?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has multiple agreements with vendors providing file storage and collaboration options. Please note that these services are generally tied to an individual user and do not ensure data remains accessible to the department after a user leaves, may not offer the same level of backup, etc.


G Suite (formerly Google Apps)

Office 365 OneDrive

The University of Wisconsin-Madison and Biochemistry Department do not recommend the use of Dropbox for UW related work.  Please use the Box service if you want an online storage and file sharing solution.