See also our updated advice on Research Data storage and costs
The storage options for standard Windows PC users are:
University networked storage e.g. H: drive and J: drive:
- All data held on University networked storage is protected by central back-up;
- Remote access available via the Standard Staff Desktop remote access service;
- Personal storage (H: drive) is private so good for confidential or draft material;
- Shared storage (e.g. J: drive) alerts you if file already in use to control versions;
- Can be slow if working with large files and may not have sufficient capacity.
Personally managed storage e.g. computer home directory/filestore (C: drive on Windows), laptop or external hard drives:
- You are responsible managing back-up;
- Access and security dependent on the protection you install;
- Can be very affordable for large capacity and often portable;
- Laptops and external storage can be damaged if dropped / mishandled.
Researchers using Unix-based systems like Linux or Mac OS X are best to contact local IT support with specific storage queries.
Portable storage media such as CDs, DVDs and memory sticks (also known as USB sticks, flash drives, thumb drives, memory keys) are more risky as they are not backed up centrally, and are vulnerable to loss and damage. It's best not to rely on these devices as your only copy of important data.
They are very convenient though, and useful for:
- Temporary copies / moving files e.g. taking a presentation to a conference;
- Secondary, back-up copies;
- Files only one person at a time needs access to;
- Non-confidential data;
- Data you can afford to lose.
UK Data Archive Storing data [WEB, c. 2 pages]
A concise guide to the issues of data storage, explaining how to choose appropriate media, manage security and select data formats.
Local IT support can organise shared storage areas and help advise on setting up your own storage and back-up. You can also contact IT Services on:
Telephone: 0141 330 4800