How To Connect To Your U Drive

What is the U Drive?

“U Drive”, a service offered by UW Seattle IT, is: “a central file storage for users, provides students, faculty and staff with a place to store files that can be accessed from anywhere, on- and off-campus.” In short, it's 5 gigabytes of cloud storage for files available to UW students, staff and faculty. It's enabled by default for students; faculty and staff have to turn it on first at

For more information, see

Connecting from the Windows Lab

This should be automatic. There should be a “U:” drive already connected after you log in to Windows lab machines.

If you don't already have a U: drive when you log in to a Windows lab machine, follow the steps for the Windows 8 virtual machine below, starting at step 3. If you're staff or faculty, you may already have a U: drive mapped to your UW Bothell file storage, so choose a different drive letter for your Seattle U Drive. (Confusing, I know, but both campuses chose “U” as the letter for their network storage, unsurprisingly.)

If you're a student and had used the UW Bothell-provided U: drive in the past, those files are now in the X: drive.

Connecting from the Linux Lab

  1. Click on the file folder icon in the upper left, labeled “Home Folder”.
  2. Type control-l to open and put the cursor in the location bar
  3. In the location bar, type smb:// and press return
  4. If you get a login prompt, enter your UW NetID as the username, NETID as the domain, and your UW password as the password.

That's pretty much it. There should be a “udrive” entry under “Network” in the left hand navigation pane of the file browser now.

If you want to be able to access your U drive files from a command line, you can make a symbolic link like so:

ln -s /run/user/`whoami`/gvfs/smb-share\:server\\,share\=udrive/ ~/.udrive

That will make a link named .udrive in your home directory, pointing to your U drive when it's mounted.

Permanently Connecting from a Windows 8 Virtual Machine

  1. Launch and log in to your virtual machine.
  2. On the Start screen, click on the Desktop icon to go to the desktop.
  3. Click on the File Explorer icon at the bottom of the screen (to the right of the Internet Explorer logo).
  4. Right-click on “Computer” in the left hand side of the file explorer and select “Map network drive…”
  5. Select “U:” for the drive letter, and enter \\\udrive for the folder.
  6. Make sure both “Reconnect at sign-in” and “Connect using different credentials” are checked, and click “Finish”.
  7. Enter “NETID\your_netid” (use your own NetID, not “your_netid”, obviously) as the username, and enter your UW password in the password field.
  8. Make sure “Remember my credentials” is checked, and click “OK”.

You now have a U: drive connected to your U Drive space in Seattle.

Connecting from a linux lab machine over ssh

NB: this applies only to the machines physically in the lab, numbered 00 through 15. It does not apply to 16 through 22, the ones you get if you connect to

If you have connected to one of uw1-320-00 through uw1-320-15 via ssh, the following commands should establish a connection to your U drive. I'm still playing with this, so I don't know if it's the best way to do it or not. So far, it seems to work for me.

dbus-launch bash
gvfs-mount -l
gvfs-mount smb://

At this point, you should have your U drive mounted at /run/user/your_netid/gvfs/,share=udrive (under your own netid, of course). This is somewhat unwieldy. You can make a symbolic link like so:

ln -s /run/user/`whoami`/gvfs/smb-share\:server\\,share\=udrive/ ~/.udrive

When the u-drive is mounted, you can cd to .udrive and find your files there. Otherwise, you'll get an error:

jdlarios@uw1-320-11:~$ cd .udrive 
bash: cd: .udrive: No such file or directory

Note: You should only need to run kinit if you're using ssh keys to connect; if you type your password when connecting, you can check for a ticket using the klist command:

jdlarios@uw1-320-11:~$ klist
Ticket cache: FILE:/tmp/krb5cc_2004_lUpAMU
Default principal: jdlarios@NETID.WASHINGTON.EDU

Valid starting    Expires           Service principal
29/05/2013 16:26  30/05/2013 02:26  krbtgt/NETID.WASHINGTON.EDU@NETID.WASHINGTON.EDU
        renew until 30/05/2013 16:26

If you see something like that when you run klist, you don't need to run kinit.

You can unmount your U drive with the following command, if you're still in the shell from which you mounted it:

gvfs-mount -u smb://

If you're not in the same shell, the only way I've found so far is to kill all the gvfs and dbus processes running as you:

jdlarios@uw1-320-11:~$ ps x
21446 ?        S      0:00 sshd: jdlarios@pts/1
21447 pts/1    Ss     0:00 -bash
21682 pts/1    S      0:00 bash
21686 ?        Ss     0:00 //bin/dbus-daemon --fork --print-pid 4 --print-addres
21704 ?        Sl     0:00 /usr/lib/gvfs/gvfs-udisks2-volume-monitor
21707 ?        Sl     0:00 /usr/lib/gvfs/gvfsd
21711 ?        Sl     0:00 /usr/lib/gvfs//gvfsd-fuse -f /run/user/jdlarios/gvfs
21719 ?        Sl     0:00 /usr/lib/gvfs/gvfs-afc-volume-monitor
21725 ?        Sl     0:00 /usr/lib/gvfs/gvfs-gphoto2-volume-monitor
21754 pts/1    R+     0:00 ps x

In this case, it would be everything between 21686 and 21725 there.

Once I know more about what's going on under the hood, I'll try to get all this wrapped in a shell script so you can just run one command instead of a series of them.


connect_to_udrive.txt · Last modified: 2013/05/30 00:07 by jdlarios