Storage Options in the VDE
The virtual environment functions a lot like a normal Windows Desktop experience, however the traditional file structure that can be found in a normal Windows operating system is a little different in the virtual environment. There is no "My Documents" or other default folders other than "Desktop" and "Downloads", and any files saved here during the session will be permanently deleted upon the session's termination.
To prevent file loss, there are other options to store files that can be retained across different sessions.
- Cloud Storage: The new eLumin VDE allows for the integration of Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage solutions into the environment itself, allowing for a swift transfer on file to and from the virtual environment and your local computer. Instructions to integrate these solutions can be found here. Box can also be used as an option, however there is no desktop client in the environment, it will have to be accessed from the web in the environment at box.umbc.edu.
- The Home Folder is a catch-all option for holding files across sessions. However, keep in mind that this folder needs to be loaded upon every session beginning, and the more this folder contains the longer the start-up time for the session, as well as performance loss while using the environment. DoIT does not recommend this as a primary storage option while in the environment.
When should I Copy/Paste vs. Zipping Files?
For files of smaller sizes, dragging and dropping or copying and pasting files to/from cloud storage is the easiest and best option for file movement and management in the virtual environment.
However, when dealing with large groups of files or a large file alone, there is the potential for data loss when moving them to/from cloud storage in an uncompressed state. To combat this issue, the virtual environment has a program that compresses ("zips") the file(s) to prevent data loss during file upload/download called 7-Zip.
DoIT recommends the following regarding the movement of large file(s):
- Place the zipped version of your file(s) into your preferred cloud storage.
- Download this zipped version of your file(s) from cloud storage to the VDE. You can use the Home Folder to save the file, data will be retained here between sessions, or use the Desktop or Downloads folders. Keep in mind, exiting your session will cause all files stored in Desktop and Downloads to be PERMANENTLY DELETED, data will not be retained between sessions in these folders.
- Unzip your compressed file in the VDE using 7-Zip (Instructions on how to do so are below).
- Once you are finished utilizing your file(s), zip the file(s) again using 7-Zip (Instructions below).
- Upload your compressed file back into your preferred cloud storage before ending your session.
Zip a File
Navigate to where the files wished to be zipped are located and select them. Right click on the group and select the 7-Zip option, then the Add to archive... option.
Name the .7z file and select the Home Folder, Desktop, or Downloads to save it in and click OK.
DO NOT ZIP DIRECTLY INTO CLOUD STORAGE, data loss may occur. Zip the file(s) in the Home Folder, Downloads or Desktop, then move the newly zipped file to cloud storage. More on the storage options can be found above.
NOTE: After ending a session all files not located in the Home Folder or a cloud storage option will be PERMANENTLY DELETED.
Allow the program time to compress and zip the files.
After finishing the zipped file can be found in your specified folder.
Unzip a File
To unzip a file, locate the .zip/.7z/.rar file (All compressed file types will work).
Then right-click on the file, select the 7-Zip option and then select the Open archive option.
DO NOT UNZIP DIRECTLY FROM CLOUD STORAGE, data loss may occur. Move the zipped file to the Home Folder, Downloads, or Desktop before unzipping.
The 7-Zip File Manager program will open and display the contents of the zipped file.