My Documents Redirect FAQ

My Documents Redirect FAQ

What is "My Documents"?

The "My Documents" folder is an auto-generated Window's folder that is best recognized by the desktop shortcut icon that points to a specific location for storing user-created files and folders. By default, the shortcut refers to location on a computer's local hard drive.

What benefit does "My Documents" provide?

File and folder organization can be a daunting task and using "My Documents" is a way of keeping your data in one central location.

What is a drawback of using "My Documents"?

While "My Documents" is a great organization tool, storing data on a local hard drive does present some issues. The main issue is when it comes to recovering lost data in the event of a hard drive failure. If measures aren't taken to copy or back up files and folders to another source, your data could be permanently lost.

How does "Redirect" work with My Documents?

Redirecting the "My Documents" folder is a way of pointing it to an alternative location other then the folder on the local hard drive. During the redirect, if data currently resides in the local "My Documents" folder, it is then moved to the new location. After that, whenever you attempt to save, move, or copy files to the "My Documents" folder, these files are always being stored in another location that isn't on the local computer. This makes files accessible from multiple locations (including VPN) while at the same time protecting the data from being lost in the event of a computer failure, accidental deletion, or some sort of data corruption.

Where is "My Documents" data actually located after redirection?

Most of users are given what is known as the H: drive. "H:" is the drive letter that is assigned to the network folder that is automatically mapped when we log into are workstations. The H: drive not only contains our "My Documents" data but other files and folders that we chose to manually move there as well.

Is the H drive and "My Documents" data accessible off campus through VPN?

Yes. If it is working for your VPN account correctly, you will see a link to "My Home Directory" and "My Secure Files" link on your page in the "Secure Access Portal for Faculty and Staff". If you do not see these links, please submit a Service Desk ticket.

How secure is "My Documents" and H drive data?

H: drive data is exclusive to each user only. All data including "My Documents" is only accessible by that user.

The access to your own shared files and departmental files through the VPN is secure. However, it is important that the end-user exercise caution when deciding which files they will access through the VPN. This is how file access works on the VPN.

  1. The VPN does not keep a copy of the files that it presents as your Home, Shared or Secure directories, it is showing the actual files in those directories in real time. It is acting as a secure remote client to your files, allowing you to access them remotely, and securely through the VPN.
  2. When accessing files through the VPN, the delivery of the files is completely encrypted via the SSL connection.
  3. You are actually downloading them to the computer you accessed the VPN from. Once downloaded, you can edit the files on the local hard drive of that remote computer.
  4. To update the files that were downloaded to the remote computer from the VPN, you will have to upload them through the VPN.
  5. Since you are moving copies of files on your Home, Shared or Secure directories to the local hard drive of a remote computer, you must not download files containing Level 1 Information. That is, unless it is to an encrypted hard drive such as the ones mentioned in the Desktop Data Assessment FAQ (, see the section titled "Those instructions are for those using computers on campus. What about those who are using computers off-campus?"

What is the link for the "Secure Access Portal for Faculty and Staff"?

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