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Central file space

The University provides central file space for staff and students to store files, either in individual users' personal file space (also known as 'home directories') or as shared file space for schools and units.  This file space is held on centrally administered disk storage systems (servers), including a highly resilient data storage system, the Central File Store (CFS).

The intended aim is that central file space be used for storage of all University data, for reasons of 'good business practice' and efficiency:

  • information integrity and security: data is kept in central secure locations and all files are backed up on a daily basis
  • compliance: facilitates requirements of Freedom of Information, Data Protection, etc legislation, plus requirements of research data, etc
  • records management: allows effective record-keeping principles to be applied, such as setting of retention and destruction schedules, 'golden copies' and version control, auditing, archiving, etc.
  • business continuity and risk management: gives greater control over valuable information, and minimises use of localised data storage

We are already implementing the centralised storage (externally in  ) of calendar data and staff email, for which all the above advantages will also apply.

How to use your personal or shared file space

Use of file space is governed by the Conditions for the Use of Computers within the University. 

IT Services does not dictate how personal or shared file space is used: the onus is on each individual or school/unit to manage their own central file space.  However, there are a few rules which must be adhered to:

  • An individual's personal file space must be used responsibly: it must not be shared with others.
  • Conversely: shared space must not be used for the storage of personal or non-University data.
  • No copyright or illegal material is to be stored (temporarily or permanently) within personal or shared space.

Personal file space for individual users

Members of staff are allocated an initial 5GB of disk storage in their personal file space.  Undergraduate students get an initial allocation of 5GB and postgraduate students get 3GB.  There is some scope for increasing these allocations; if you have a genuine need for more space, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Users wishing to access their personal file space should map a network drive (Windows) or connect to a server (Mac) as follows:

Windows - map a network drive

\\\users\<username>  e.g. \\\users\mmm45

Mac - connect to a server

smb://<username>  e.g. smb://

Group space for schools and units

Schools and units can apply for shared file space ("share") on the Central File Store (CFS).  This can be divided up into a main group share plus a number of sub-groups.  Every group and sub-group share must have a designated "responsible" person who will be the point of contact in dealings with IT Services, and who will also ensure that their group and/or sub-groups are used responsibly, and that requests for changes are sent through them.

Each school or unit can have a group share with an initial disk quota (currently 200GB for schools, 50GB for units).  Within this group a number of sub-groups can be set up, each with its own authorised user list. Group and sub-group users must authenticate themselves before they can access any data held on a group share.

  • If sub-groups within the school or unit need to share files between them, a shared sub-group can be set up to facilitate this.
  • If group or sub-groups from separate schools or units need to share files on a regular basis, shared sub-groups at the top level can be created for this purpose. 

Please contact the IT Service Desk if you need further advice on setting up and using shared spaces on the CFS.

Group/sub-group membership limitations

The maximum number of groups and sub-groups that any one person can be a member of is sixteen.  This limitation is unlikely to affect the vast majority of CFS shared-group users but it may become a problem for a few administrators.  If you find that you are approaching the limit for membership please contact the IT Service Desk to discuss how we can adjust things to minimise the inconvenience.

How to access a group's or sub-group's file space


Space for principal investigators (PIs)

  • All Principal Investigators (PIs) are entitled to 0.5TB of disk space *.

* This can be managed as individual shares or via a school wide research share

The Research Data team has an online form for applying for storage:

Storage request form


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Contact the IT Service Desk

Log a call using IT Self-Service
(01334 46) 3333
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(Mon - Fri, 09:00 - 17:00)

Level 2
University Library
North Street
St Andrews
Fife KY16 9TR

Opening Hours
Mon - Fri
: 08:30-18:00
(front desk support
from 09:00)

Sat: 10:00-17:00
Sun: 11:00-18:00

The IT Service Desk is closed
for staff training on Fridays
between 09:30 and 10:30