Technical Note - Working with Windows


This TechNote provides various hints for working with Windows 7 and 10 desktop systems within the ECS network.


Where are my documents?

In Windows 7 and 10 (and Windows Server 2008 R2 - as on the terminal server ward), a user's home filesystem appears in a location accessible in the Windows Explorer usually as Libraries\Documents in 7 and Libraries\[username] in 10. They are actually the H:\ drive mapped to the server where your files reside (see below).

ECS windows machines recognize your profile as a roaming profile, which means your application data and settings are generally retained in ECS active directory. You can check this by typing

on your explorer path box. In ECS laptops however, your profile is by default a local profile which means your application preferences stays within your machine and your H:\ drive is mounted if available.

Connecting to Unix filesystems

Your UNIX home directory [This should now happen automatically]

Normally when you are logged on to a Windows 7 box, your Unix home file system will appear as mentioned above in the "Documents" folder ("Username" folder in Windows 10). Further, the subdirectories Desktop and Downloads of your home filesystem will appear in the same-named top-level folders shown on the left in a Windows Explorer. Sometimes this mapping does not occur automatically, so as a temporary fix, you can map to it explicitly.
  • right-click on Computer and select "Map network drive..."
  • select a drive letter (traditionally H: for your home filesystem) and type into the Folder: field the network address of your home directory. This will be of the form \\fileserver\username where username is your standard ECS login name, and fileserver is the system on which your files reside. This latter can be specified as any one of the ECS home fileservers, but it is preferable (and more efficient) if you use the correct one. You can determine which fileserver you are using by connecting to a Unix server and typing pwd. This will output something like /home/rialto1/kingstlind, which in this case points to rialto as the fileserver name (note that any digits on the end should be ignored). Other possibilities are lido, phoenix, state-opera and roxy.
  • click Finish

Other Unix filesystems

The most commonly used other filesystems are \\smb\software (/vol/ms-software, aka /vol/software/Windows), \\\ecs (/vol/ecs) and \\\sms (/vol/sms). These are only accessible to staff.

Windows 10 experience

Monoa Taepa has reported that for windows 10 machines, the procedure for mapping the /vol/ecs filesystem to her M: drive was as follows

  • From the Start up menu, select File explorer
  • Right-click on This PC
  • Select the Map network drive... item
  • Choose M: as the Drive letter
  • Enter \\\ecs as the Folder path
  • Click on Finish

Why does Office (or Excel, or PowerPoint) keep expecting me to click an Enable Editing, or Enable Macros button?

This is basically because most of the files you will be working with are on a network filesystem and Windows 7 inherently mistrusts a network.

To prevent the MS Word "Enable Editing" button popping up all the time, you need to go to File / Options / Trust Center / Trust Center Settings and change the settings for Protected View (remove the second tick down). You may also want to change the Macro Settings to the third option (Disable all macros except digitally signed macros), and there is an option Trusted Locations, where you can add your Documents as a trusted location (but you have to set "Allow Trusted Locations on my network", at the bottom, first).


Some notes about using Xming and Plink to get an X Windows display from a windows machine.

Ray worked this out originally for an ITS teaching machine and I've (Kevin) had to deal with a couple of Will Browne's research students.

Things seem to differ between 32 and 64-bit windows, mainly because microsoft chose to make the paths names not only contain spaces but parentheses as well - oh nice one !

Here's a BAT file for use on a 32-bit machine

cd c:\program files\xming
start /B xming.exe
plink -X xterm

and here's one for a 64-bit machine (Note: didn't need the chdir)

c:\program files (86)\start /B Xming.exe
c:\program files (86)\plink -X xterm

When you get the xterm up, you need to set the environment variable


You may also wish to start a basic window manager by typing, inside the xterm,

twm &