Tips for Saving Files at JCU

When typing up an assignment, you need to make sure that your hard work is safe! There are a number of ways that you can save your data, let's look at a few of them.

What are my Options?

If you are working in one of JCU's General access labs you have access to several different methods of saving and storing your work:

  • Shared Drive - A temporary 20GB storage area, only available from the GATCF computer you are stilting at. Also known as E: drive on GATCF computers

  • CD / DVD Burners - Use either write-once or reusable media: Known as D: on GATCF computers

  • USB Drive - Sizes range from around 1GB up to 32GB+. When plugged into a GATCF computer they usually show up as G: drive.

  • Email Attachment - If your disc isn't working or your home drive is unavailable you can always send your work as an attachment via email. JCU email supports attachments of up to 25MB in size

Shared Drive

The Shared Drive is a temporary 20GB storage area, available on all the computers in the GATCF labs, it is also referred to as ‘E Drive’. Please note that the contents of E: drive are deleted once a day, around 2am.

To find E Drive click on the File Explorer Icon

File Location icon


You may need to click the small arrow next to THIS PC to see more items, one of which will be TEMP (E:). Click TEMP (E:) to access or save documents.

Locate Temp E drive

While using Lab computers it is recommended that you copy documents to the Shared Drive (E: Drive), leaving the original file untouched in case of a software/hardware failure. When you are finished working on your document and are happy with how your work saved on the Shared Drive you can then replace your original file with the updated version.

It is important that you get into the habit of verifying the integrity of any of your saved work. If you overwrite your old working copy with the new version that doesn't open then you will have lost all of your work.

Helpful Tips:Get into the habit of using this space as a temporary work area. It is large enough for all but the biggest multimedia type applications that you will be creating. The only thing to remember is that it is a shared drive on the computer you are using so any material saved there will be accessible by the next person to log in. They will be able to open, modify and delete any files stored here, so keep this in mind if you are writing up assignments or personal information.

Be aware that the Shared Drive is cleared each day at 2:00am so if you’re working on the Shared Drive on a computer and come back the next day to retrieve your work it won’t be there.

CD / DVD Burners

All the GATCF computers come with CD Burner hardware/software. CD's are a cheap and relatively reliable way to make backup's of your work. You have 2 main options available to you: CD-R and CD-RW the only difference being you can only write to a CD-R once.

A good practice to adopt is making regular backups onto CD of all the contents of your important documents, whether they are assignments you are writing reference documents you have spent hours locating and researching.

Use CD-R's when you want to make an unchangeable archive of your work. Label the CD with the date your performed the backup and put somewhere safe, if you get into the habit of doing this once a fortnight ( or once a week if the work is really important ) the cost of buying CD's over the time of your degree will pale beside the reassurance that you are protected from most mishaps.

Use CD-RW's for your day to day backup of work. These allow you to erase and rewrite up to about 1000 times. If you get into the habit of backing up regularly, when a problem does happen you are prepared for it and can recover more quickly than if you do not backup at all.

Helpful Tips:You can only add files to a CD-R, any files on the disc cannot be changed.

The limit for CD-RW is about 1000 writes - if you use your disc for daily backups it should last about 3 years. However if you format the disc as a Direct CD so you can use it like a floppy disc and you work gets saved every 15 minutes or so your disc will last about 3-4 months. The convenience you get from Direct CD is weighted against the reliability of the contents.

USB Drives

USB storage devices are usually key ring sized devices with storage spaces up to many Gigabytes but they are also available on many electronic devices such as mobile phones and MP3 players. Because the GATCF cannot install drivers for every type of USB device some versions of USB devices may not work.

Helpful Tips:These devices are stored using an electric charge and therefore quite fragile if you don't follow the instructions correctly. If you fail to disconnect one of these devices properly you can permanently erase the contents and make the device unusable. Always follow your operating systems rules for disconnecting a USB device or if you can't log in to disconnect the device, shutdown the computer and turn the power off.

For more information go to USB Flash Drives

Email Attachment

Another way of making sure a copy of your work is available if you are having issues with floppy disks, or CD's is to save it to the Shared Drive and attach it as an email to yourself. This way you can find a computer at home that can access the internet or another computer on campus. This method also has the advantage of storing multiple versions of the same file at varying stages of progress and being able to find them by the date the email was sent.

Helpful Tips:The thing to remember is that any mail you send or receive takes up quota on your JCU webmail account. Normally you can store up to 10GB of data, but this includes: Inbox, Sent Items, and Trash as well as folders that you create yourself. So if you send a 10MB file to yourself it takes up 10MB in your Sent Items and 10MB in your inbox when it arrives. Keep track of your quota usage and when it arrives in your inbox make sure you delete the email from your Sent Items folder.

For more information go to Email Spam and Attachment

Best Practice

The best habit you can get into when dealing with important data is to make backups. If you use the one disc over and over for all your work and that disc fails then you are left with nothing. If you use one disk for all your work and regularly make a backup onto another disc, or another computer then you are left with something that you can recover from.