Remote Access to Your Windows Files

There are a number of ways that you can access your windows files from home or other remote sites. Please also note that you may well find these instructions useful within the department as they can be used to access your files from non-Windows systems and any other system which isn't authenticated in the domain.


This is a standard protocol designed for `Distributed Authoring and Versioning` of web site files. However, it can equally well be used to access any sort of file. The advantage is that the remote system gets access to the properties of the files so the view of your files can be made to look very similar to local files. On Windows systems this includes the ability to drag and drag files or folders between local and remote file systems. (As it is based on HTTP, the protocol will get through firewalls unlike native file sharing protocols.)

If using a windows client, you use WEBDAV by defining a `Network Place` which points to the department's server. Open `My Network Places` and click on `add a network place`. When asked for the network address use the same URL as given in the `Web Browser` section above and give it a friendly name like `My H Drive`. You will be prompted for login name and password. You can open this `network place` with explorer and you'll find it looks just like and ordinary folder. You can nagivate by clicking on folders and can right click to get properties.

Linux and other Unix's:
Ubuntu 12.04 ships with nautilus 3.4, which works well with the "secure webdav" option.  We have also successfully tested Konqueror. Versions 3.1 and above work, early ones seem to have a problem . When specifying the URL to Konqueror, replace the https: with webdavs: . The is also a a command line webdav client called cadaver, again, the most recent versions of this seem to work ok.  There are a number of other WEBDAV clients available but many have historically had trouble inter-working with the windows implementation.

Mac OS X:
In the finder application go `connect to server` (CMD-K). Set the server address to<username> where you should replace <username> by your physics network username (without the physics\ prefix). When asked for username, give the full form (e.g. physics\bloggs) and the usual password. We believe there are currently issues using the encrypted form of this (i.e. replacing http with https). Please contact ntsupport if you succeed in using webdav over  https  from OS X.

CERN have some useful web pages giving more details of the protocol and the available clients. See

Web browser (all clients)

This allows you to read or download files from your home folder. It does not allow for uploading of files. Use the following web address<username>

where <username> should be replaced by your physics network account name (without the domain name prefix .. e.g. /home/bloggs ). You will be asked to login and you should use the full form of your username, e.g. PHYSICS\Bloggs. You should then be presented with a listing of your home folder (the H: drive). Click on the filename to open or save. In some browsers you can right click on the link to view a menu of options (open, save as etc).


The SFTP protocol provides similar functionality to FTP but is secure as information is encrypted. SCP is a secure copy protocol and has a command line syntax similar to `copy` commands. The services are accessed via the windows front end server (winfe) e.g. from a command line prompt on Linux (or any other OS with command line clients)

scp  <username>

Replace <username> with the name of your windows account. If your username on the windows system is the same as the username on the machine on which you are running the scp client you will usually be able to default it e.g.


You'll be prompted for a password. The starting folder when you login is your windows home folder (H:). Please contact IT Support if you need access to other folders.

Please note that to access a file in your home folder you should specific simply

scp<filename>  <localfile>

You can access anything you would normally be able to access under the Y: drive in windows. So you can see the `users` tree as /users, files on the windows web server as /web etc. e.g. to access the file on windows called y:\users\particle\bloggs\file.txt you would use the path /users/particle/bloggs/file.txt . If in doubt, check the Y: tree in windows. Please note that any file name or path  containing spaces or special characters should be enclosed in quotes.

You can access any file to which you have access on the Physics network by specifying the full pathname e.g.\dfs\web\users\<username>\<folder>\<filename>

  to access a file in a folder in your personal Web pages.


  to access a certain version of kit  xxxxx for a specific platform on the local kits server .

Suitable clients for Windows include

Suitable clients for Linux/Unix are usually included in the operating system.


FTP is not recommended as the protocol allows your username and password to be sent across the internet in plain text. This is a serious security risk. We intend to remove this service just as soon as users have become familiar with the alternative means described in previous sections.

Currently, the preferred way to access via ftp is via the server called

(winfe stands for Windows Front-End). After logging in you will find your default directory is you H: drive.

FTP access to winfe is blocked in the firewall so if you need access from outside the department you should first make a VPN connection. Once the new SCP/SFTP service is well established, this service will be removed.

Terminal Server Protocol (windows clients)

The RDP (remote desktop protocol) used to access our terminal servers are also capable of transferring files. (Existing RDP clients for Linux/Unix like rdesktop do not support this part of the protocol so this is restricted to windows). To do this you need to use the advanced client (see Terminal Servers). When defining a connection using this client, switch on the option to 'map local drives' and then connect to one of the terminal servers. Open 'my computer' on the terminal server and you should see that all disks on your client computer are available and can be accessed as if they were disks on the physics network. Note also that you can map your client's printer and print directly to that from applications running on the terminal server.