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Home drive FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions 

These FAQs contain general questions about the project, migration process and what is in scope for the first phase.  

For information about OneDrive for Business, please see our OneDrive page.

Maximising your file transfer rate:

  • You need to be on VPN to get to your N drive (unless you are on campus). VPN is a slower connection, and the connection speed depends on how many other people are on the network at the same time. If you can do the transfer out of hours, this will help.
  • If you have remote access into a PC on campus, you can do the file transfer from there remotely.
  • Close all other applications, do not try to do any other  work at the same time. This gives your computer as much processor power as possible,
  • If you are at home, maximise your broadband and use a wired connection rather than wifi
  • Keep your laptop plugged in to mains power. OneDrive will stop transferring files in battery saver mode (default is at 20%)
  • Do not close your browser window or turn off your computer during the upload
  • If you have a lot of data, try splitting it into sections and upload over a few days
  • Copy first, then you can delete once you are satisfied your files are safely on OneDrive for Business
  • Give it time and be patient. This is not a fast process – it may take several hours to transfer. 

Links for the demo sessions

These links take you to the Stream meeting recordings (unedited).

Wednesday 24th March

Monday 29th March

Slides for the demo sessions


Migration questions

Q: What is my home drive?

Your home drive, or N drive, is your local space on the Reading file server. If you've mapped it as a network drive, it will appear as your user name, e.g.  xy123456 (\\\homes) (N:) (or the letter you've assigned it) in your file list. You can also get to it in Windows Explorer by typing \\\homes\youruserID in the address bar (when signed in to VPN).

Connecting to your N drive on a university PC and How to map a network drive

Q: I’ve had a new laptop/I am using my own computer and the N drive isn’t set up, how do I get to the content I’ve got on there?

How to map a network drive

Q: I haven't got VPN set up on my new computer.

Setting up VPN

You can also access your N drive through logging in to this link Netdrive, and copy files from there.

Q: I don't think I have a home drive?

In the last couple of years, new staff have not been automatically given a home drive and have been encouraged to use OneDrive for Business instead. If you don't have a home drive, or haven't heard of your home drive, then it is likely you don't have one and so don't need to do anything. 

If you want to check, you can try to map your home drive as per the above instructions (connecting your N drive/mapping a network drive). If you get an error message (Cannot map to...) then you don't have an N drive.

Q: How do I get OneDrive for Business?

You can either access OneDrive through, or the OneDrive for Business application is installed on all University Windows 10 computers. It appears in your folder list as "OneDrive - University of Reading", or you can use the search facility to find OneDrive on your computer (magnifying glass). 

If you need to install it on a machine running below Windows 10, please ask the IT Service Desk to install it for you.

Mac users: you can access OneDrive through and download from there, or you can get the desktop app from the App Store.

Q: I've not set up OneDrive yet, what do I need to do?

Please see these instructions: Setting up OneDrive

Q: I've got Office 2016, do I need to upgrade to Office 365?

OneDrive is available for staff on both licences. 

Q: What is the deadline?

We are asking for staff to have emptied their home drives by 30th April 2021. The drive will be set to read-only on 1st July 2021; this will prevent any new data being added, but will let you copy and move to OneDrive. Data won't be deleted until much later . 

Q: Does this include PhDs, students, postgraduates, masters? 

 This first phase is for people with a staff email account ( rather than a student email account ( or 

Q: What happens if I do nothing? 

You won’t be able to continue using it forever, as it will be set to read-only on 1st July. DTS will move anything that’s left on home drive after 1st July 2021.   

Q: I run Linux, what do I need to do?

If you run Linux and you use your N drive (rather than your Unix home), you will need to empty your N drive as well. There isn't an official Linux client, but you can access OneDrive from Office365 on the web (make sure to use your University credentials). 

Linux users can use rclone to backup files,  for some instructions see

Q: Do you have instructions for Mac users?

There are some instructions for connecting to a network drive and transferring files to OneDrive for Macs here: Connecting your Mac to a remote server (Apple) and Sync files with Onedrive on Mac OS X (Microsoft).

Q: I have a personal webpage

If you have a personal web page (i.e. hosted at Do not move or delete the folder public_html, which contains your website information. If you move this, your website will break. You can safely move everything else. Personal websites are going to be moved to an alternative platform in a separate project.

Meteorology: If your site is hosted at then you don't need to do anything. These are hosted on Unix home, which is not being changed. 

Q: Will we still have access to our other drives and folders on our work computers e.g. Documents?

You will still have access to files on your local drive, (C:), as well as any other network drives you have mapped. This phase of the project is only concerned with your own home drive. 



Q: Is it OK to hold sensitive information on OneDrive? 

Your own OneDrive space has the same confidentiality rating as your home drive - it is owned by you and you have responsibility for any data there. It is only accessible by you, and only you can share to specific named people who need access. If you have any sensitive information, that should be encrypted (as it should have been on N). Data on OneDrive for Business for our University  is stored in the UK.

Link to encryption policy

You can get 7-Zip from Apps Anywhere, which you can use to encrypt files (instructions here).