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labs / tiddlers / content / labs / lab01 / _Labs_01_Task 0_ Basic Lab Environment.md

Familiarise yourself with the Student Desktop.

When you log into the machine you are sitting at it appears the work that you are doing, and all your files are stored locally. They are not, they are on a virtual computer running on a server somewhere else. All the machine you are on is doing is handling the connection to the virtual machine, capturing your keystrokes and displaying the screen. This is why you can log into the student desktop from a Mac in Singapore and you are actually working on a Windows machine in Dunedin. Make sure that you can access your student desktop remotely from your own computer, assuming you have an internet connection.

Open Windows Explorer and look around.

In the left pane click on the root of your H:\Drive signified by your usercode, this is the Root of your H:\Drive. While you are there create a folder for COMP101 and any of your other courses. This is your Home directory where you keep all your work!

If you open your COMP101 folder in Explorer and click inside the address bar above it you will see the address change, and can see its actual address is - H:\COMP101. If you use the My Documents folder on your desktop to create your folders and click into the address bar you will see that it shows something like….

https://student.otago.ac.nz\mds\Profiles-V2\b\burga052\RedirectFolders\Documents\COMP101

(Not an address you want to type into the command line compared to H:\COMP101)

Check out the other drives you have available.

You will probably not see the C:\Drive. That would either be the main hard drive on the local machine (usually) or the C:\Drive on the virtual machine at University. If you can see the C:\Drive be aware that you can’t work or store files there on the student desktop.

There should also be a T:\Drive with an InfoSci folder inside it. That is where we will place files or applications specific to our coursework and not available to other students.

O:\Drive. How to access OneDrive from your Student Desktop Although your OneDrive files are stored online in the cloud, you can access them from the Student Desktop just like another folder. Open any folder and click on the OneDrive icon in the sidepane.
Note: It could be a useful place to keep your back ups. It’s not a good place to work on files there however as it’s not even in New Zealand (at this time).

Your student H:\Drive will have 3Gb of storage available although some of it will be taken up with your system profile. You also have access to 1TB of cloud storage in your Student One Drive. You should not run out of space for legitimate student work and backups.

There will also be a CD/DVD drive, that is physically on the machine in front of you. If you plug a flash drive or phone into the USB port of the computer it will also show up as a Drive.

Backup

Backing up your files is your responsibility. Losing or having a file corrupt is never an excuse to get a time extension for an assessment deadline. Usually it is considered good practice to have back ups “off site” however the university systems run by ITS have a mirrored drive system. If the server your virtual computer is working on now fails, another will take over and nothing saved is lost. If however your file corrupts (as they just do sometimes) having multiple copies of a corrupt file will not help. Sometimes you may get lucky and by right click on the file in windows explorer you may have the option to restore a previous version, but don’t rely on this as there is no guarantee that previous versions will be available!

Work out a backup system that is easy and fast. The easier it is the more likely you will keep regular backups. Try out one possible method described below.

Task: Backup archive.

Find a file using the File Explorer you wish to backup

Right click on it and select Send To > Compressed zip file. Right click on the .zip file it created and select Rename. Rename it to BackUp.zip.

Left click on any other file you want to back up and drag it over the BackUp.zip file. This will keep the original file and a backup.

Now both are backed up. As you work on your files every half hour or so save the file (Ctrl-S) go back to file explorer and drag the file over BackUp.zip and overwrite your old backup of the same name.

If anything goes wrong you can extract your file from the BackUp.zip and save it back to your H:\Drive.

It does not matter what system you choose to back up your files, but you must have a system that you will adhere to.