Essential Hints and Tips

This section covers some essential hints and tips for using IT Services computer clusters. 

  • Best practice for saving important documents
  • How to work from a document sent via email.
  • Where you should save your work.

Best practice for saving important documents

It's important when working on a document that you take care to save your work, particularly for assignments or dissertations.

Always have a backup

Save important documents in multiple locations (e.g. network Home Drive, external hard drive, USB memory key). The IT Service Desk recommend their 3-2-1 Back It Up plan.

Save your work regularly

Save your document periodically as you work on it. If an issue occurs with either the PC itself or access to a network Home Drive this will ensure as little work as possible is lost.

Verify your work is saved

Once saved, re-open the document to ensure it has saved correctly. If there's an issue saving this will give you an immediate warning to save your work elsewhere. 

Avoid losing your work when working from an email attachment!

It is quite common for people to email documents to themselves if they are working on them regularly as they can be accessed from anywhere.  There are a few things to bear in mind when doing this, especially if you are using the Outlook Web Access (webmail) to access your email account. 

It is a common misconception that when you double click a Word attachment from an email message and it opens in Word that you are then directly editing the attachment.  In fact, what happens is a copy of the attachment is made in a temporary location on the local hard drive and then opened in Word.

Local drives are not good locations to save your work as it will be lost when the PC is rebooted.  For more information see the 'Where should I save my documents' section below.  We recommend that you follow these steps below when working from email.

  1. Open the attachment by double clicking it.
  2. Go to the File menu of the application you are using, in the case of Microsoft Office applications click the Globe at the top left of the window.
  3. Choose Save As from the menu then browse to a known location to save a copy of your document.  It is recommended that you choose one of the locations mentioned in the 'Where should I save my documents' section for this.
  4. Make your changes to the document, remember to go to Save on the File menu at regular intervals to save your progress.
  5. Once you have finished and performed your final save, the changes will be saved in the location you selected in step 3.  If you want you can email this new copy to yourself by creating a new email message and attaching the new document created in Step 3.

Where should I save my documents?

When creating documents on a IT Services Cluster PC, it is important to save them in the correct location to allow you to access them again from another PC on campus.  Please see below details of where to save and where not to save.

Where should I save my work?

  • Home Drive : - This is the best place to save your work as it is located on a server which is backed up regularly.  This is usually mapped to the letter U: in My Computer so it can be accessed in the usual way from the Computer icon on the desktop.
  • My Documents : - This should be redirected to your Home Drive so saving your document here, in effect, means it will be saved on your Home Drive.  However, it is worth double checking your Home Drive after saving to the My Documents folder to verify that the document is there as this redirection may not always work.
  • USB Key : - This is another option which is quite popular as the documents are close to hand and very portable.  The drawback to these are that they can be prone to failure and as they are becoming increasingly small in size they are easily misplaced.  We recommend that you DO NOT use a USB key as your primary storage for important documents.

Where should I NOT save my work?

  • The Desktop : - Any documents saved to the desktop will not be available from other PCs.  Once a Cluster PC is rebooted any documents saved to the local drives will be lost so please ensure that your document is saved in a safe place.
  • Local Drives (C:\ D:\) : - As mentioned above, any documents saved to the local drives (C:\ or D:\) will be removed when the PC is rebooted.  These locations should not be used under any circumstances.

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