Where to store files

Reviewed by bil hays, 7.15.2017

Where are the best places to store files.

Folders with very sensitive data, such as IRB 3 and HIPAA, should be stored on the campus secure file server. From windows, you would access that server at:


Mac and linux users would use:


Less sensitive data, such as FERPA, should be stored on gandalf or merry. From windows, you would access that at:



Mac and linux users would use:



From Windows, put the string above into the Search bar. From a Mac in Finder, use Go, Connect to Server. Linux users should see https://cs.unc.edu/help-article/mounting-cifs-shares-linux/

We suggest that windows and mac users use Google Drive to sync their documents to Google’s cloud. In 2017 Google changed the service, it is now called Google Sync and Backup, and you can chose to backup individual folders or the entire computer. Since we have unlimited Google Drive space, this is the best option for having online backups. You can download the client here:

Note that we do not recommend putting sensitive data into Google Drive–google is oriented to sharing documents, so it is easy to make a mistake there and accidently expose data to the internet. Here is an example.

All files on the servers mentioned above are backed up, and we presume Google is doing a decent job making sure they don’t lose any files. Please note we do not backup workstations, lab machines, or research servers unless requested.

Aside from the backup issue, one reason to use the servers and Google Drive is that if you need to give up your computer or it no longer works, you files are accessible from other computers. And if you use more than one computer, the files are accessible from all of them.

If you need access to any of these resources, or have any questions, please send email to help@cs.unc.edu