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Connecting to shared folders on FILES (the SCS file server)

Instructions for Windows & Mac

IMPORTANT NOTE: Connecting to a shared folder on the SCS file server, from off-campus requires use of the University VPN.   This creates a secure connection between your computer and the Illinois campus network. If you do not already have the VPN software installed on your computer or need assistance with this, please see VPN Installation Instructions. 

Instructions for Windows

  1. If you are off-campus, connect to the University VPN.  

  2. Open the Run box - you can either:
    • press the Windows logo key + R, or
    • type Run in the search box at the bottom of the screen and select the "Run" app

      Run command
  3. In the Run box, type (or copy) the following exactly as shown:


    and click OK.  Note the dual backslashes (generally found just above the "Enter" key on your keyboard) before  This is important! 

    Run box
  4. Credentials:
    • (on-campus only): If your computer is in the Active Directory, a window to the SCS File Server ( will simply open
    • When you connect to a network drive, you will be prompted for credentials. Use uofi\[yourNetID] and your Campus Active Directory (email, VPN) password.
  5. A window with one or more shared folders will appear.  Only folders you have access to will be shown.

  6. Add the connection to your computer using one of the following methods: 
    1. Pin to Quick Access (recommended)
    2. Create shortcut on Desktop
    3. Map network drive (NOT recommended for off-campus computer or computers not in the Active Directory)

Option A: Pin to Quick Access

NOTE:  This is the recommended option for anyone with a laptop or other computer that will (or may) be used off-campus.  Items in the "Quick Access" bar only try to connect when clicked on, so this will not make logins slower when off-campus.  

Right-click on the file share you want to access, and select Pin to Quick Access. This will add a link to the [foldername] file share to the "Quick Access" panel in Windows Explorer.

Quick Access

  • IMPORTANT: While the [foldername] folder will always appear in your Quick Access bar, it will only be accessible when you are logged into the VPN if you are off-campus.  

Option B: Create Desktop Shortcut:

You can create a shortcut to the shared folder on your desktop by right-clicking on the folder and choosing Create shortcut. You'll get a message:

Shortcut message

Click yes and the shortcut will be created.

  • IMPORTANT: While the "[foldername]" shortcut will always appear on your Desktop, it will only be accessible when you are logged into the VPN if you are off-campus.

Option C: Map a network drive

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This is not recommended for off-campus computers.

Mapping network drives is ONLY recommended for computers that remain on-campus at all times, such as an office desktop.  It is strongly discouraged for laptops or other computers that will be used off-campus.  See the FAQ section below for an explanation.

  1. Right-click on the file share, and select Map Network Drive.
    • NOTE: on Windows 11, when you right-click on the file share name, you'll first need to select Show more options, then on Map Network Drive

  2. Select the drive letter

  3. If you're on campus and your machine is NOT in the Active Directory, select Connect using different credentials

  4. Click Finish

  5. If you selected Connect using different credentials, you'll be prompted to log in.  Use uofi\[yourNetID] and your Campus Active Directory (email, VPN) password.
    • DO NOT select "Remember my credentials" if you are using a shared login - if you do, everyone that uses that login will be connecting as you! 
  • IMPORTANT: While the "[foldername]" mapped drive will always appear, it will only be accessible when you are logged into the VPN if you are off-campus.  Otherwise, it will tell you that it is "disconnected"


Instructions for Mac

  1. Connect to the University VPN.  
  2. Open the Connect to Server box - you can either:
    • press Command + K or
    • Click on the Go menu, then select Connect to Server...

      Connect to Server command

    • In the "Server Address" field, type smb://[sharename](replacing the [sharename] with the name of your shared folder. 
      For example: 

      smb://         (See red arrow, below)

      If you don't know the name of the shared folder, just type:


      A window will appear where you can select the share that you want to connect to.

      List of shared folders
  3. You can save this address to your "Favorite Servers" by clicking on the plus (+) sign

    • Depending on the version of MacOS you're running, the plus (+) sign may be at the end of the "Server Address" text box or at the bottom of the window (green circle).

      Connect to Server box
  4. Click on the Connect button (purple circle)

  5. When you connect to a network drive, you will be prompted for credentials. Use uofi\[yourNetID] and your Campus Active Directory (email, VPN) password.
  6. The shared folder will open. 
  7. If you close the shared folder window, you can find the shared folder (titled "[foldername]") under "Locations" in your Finder window.  

    Mac Finder Locations

FAQ (Frequently asked questions):

Why is it a bad idea to map a network drive on a Windows computer if I'm off-campus? 

There are several reasons that we strongly recommend against mapping a network drive for off-campus computers: 

  1. Slow booting: When a Windows computer boots, it tries to reconnect all network drives before giving you an opportunity to log in.  Since the mapped drive only works when you're using the campus VPN, you'll have to wait the 45-60 seconds for each mapped connection to time out before you'll be able to log in.  This gets old rather quickly. 

  2. Lock-outs after changing password: Generally, a mapped drive is setup using cached credentials.  If you change your University password, the cached credentials are NOT automatically updated.  This means that every time Windows tries to connect to the mapped network drive (when you're connected to the VPN), it's using an out-of-date password and your Active Directory account WILL GET LOCKED OUT.  The only way to fix this is to remove the mapped network drive, and re-connect to it using your updated credentials.  

Alternatively, Windows only checks if items in the "Quick Access" bar are accessible when they are accessed.  So adding a shortcut to your "Quick Access" bar (Option A) does NOT make your logins take any longer regardless of VPN status.  

Keywordslopunny files chbe chbefiles chemistry chem chemfiles network shared drive chemistry chem share shares   Doc ID117842
OwnerJay G.GroupSchool of Chemical Sciences
Created2022-04-07 16:12:00Updated2023-07-20 17:28:25
SitesUniversity of Illinois School of Chemical Sciences
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