Special characteristics of the UH computers

Using the computers at the University of Helsinki is very similar to using any Windows computer. However, there are some special characteristics on the University of Helsinki’s computers. This page discusses the following topics:

  • Storage and home directory on the University of Helsinki’s Windows computers
  • Installing programs from the Software Center
  • Restoring files deleted from the home directory

Storage in the Windows network

Each user of the Windows network has their own home directory for storing their own files. The home directories are located on servers dedicated to this purpose: when you log in to the university’s Windows computer, the server grants you access to your own home directory based on your username. Since the home directory is not located on the workstation you are using, but on the network, the home directory is also often called a “network drive”.

To find your home directory, open the File explorer found either in the Start menu or the Task bar on a UH Windows computer. Select This PC on the left. You will see your home directory as a disk drive marked with the letter Z (below is an example of the home directory of Raymond Keskivarsen).

the home directory of Raymond Keskivarsen, showing Devices and drives and Network locations

Files saved in the home directory are backed up automatically several times every 24 hours. In addition to good information security, the advantage with using a network drive is that you can normally access the files on it from anywhere in the world. It is also possible to access the university’s Z network drive from outside the university network (read more about remote access elsewhere in the course material).

Please note that there are a couple of other locations on the university’s Windows computers from which saved files will be directed straight to your own home directory:

  • Files saved in the Documents folder will be saved in the Documents subdirectory on your Z network drive.
  • Files saved on the Desktop will be saved in the Desktop subdirectory on your Z drive.

Please take the following into consideration when using the network drive:

  • Usually a storage quota is set for the network drive. Make sure that you do not use up this quota – after that, you will not be able to save even unfinished jobs on the network drive!
  • If you delete a vital file from the network drive by mistake, the system administrator will most probably be able to restore it. Often you can also restore it yourself (read more about restoring files elsewhere in the course material).

Home directory disk quota

The storage quota for a home directory on the university’s Windows network is 100 gigabytes.

Keep an eye on your disk quota so that it does not fill up. A disk that is too full often causes problems in using the system. If the space in your home directory runs out, you will not be able to save files before you have freed up some space by deleting files from your home directory.

You can check the amount of space in your home directory as follows:

  1. Open the My computer window on a university workstation.
  2. Locate your home directory (Z:).
  3. Right-click the home directory icon.
  4. Select Properties in the drop-down menu.
  5. You will see the space used in the Properties window.

Installing programs from the Software center

The most popular programs are installed on the university computers automatically. Some less frequently used programs are not installed on all computers, but you can order their installation through the easy-to-use Software Center in Windows. You can open Software Center via the Start menu in the HY folder or by typing “software center” when the Start menu is open.

Software Center installs the programs automatically, so you do not need to worry about the settings or where to install the programs. More information about Software Center is available at the Helpdesk site.

Restoring files deleted from the home directory

If you accidentally delete a wrong file from your network directory on the university computer, you can try to restore it yourself using a feature called Previous versions. You can restore previous versions of the files in a certain folder by right-clicking the folder, selecting Properties in the drop-down menu and then selecting the Previous versions tab in the window that opens. In this tab, you can select the version that you want among any backup copies saved in the folder. After this, click Restore to restore the file.

To restore a file, a backup of it must have been made. The restored version does not contain any changes you have saved since the previous automatic backup. In addition, some time limits apply to backup copying. Further details about restoring are available on the Helpdesk page.

If you do not succeed in restoring a file yourself, in an emergency you can also ask the Helpdesk to restore the file by sending e-mail to helpdesk@helsinki.fi. However, note that a file can be restored as described above only if the file has been stored in the home directory; restoring a file on your own computer does not work in the same way. Keep in mind that backing up your work is the safest way to avoid problems!