Accessing your Math department network space

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Revision as of 20:39, 16 September 2010 by Jheim (talk | contribs) (→‎Linux)
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Members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Mathematics are allocated a certain amount of space on a shared network file system. This space can be accessed by simply logging into any departmental machine. Your network space appears as your home directory when you log into a linux computer or as the X: drive when you log into a Windows machine. Users sometimes need to access this space from their own laptop or home computers. This document explains some of the methods by which that can be done.


The easiest way to access your network disk space from a linux computer is to use sshfs. Sshfs packages are avaiable in all of the major flavors of linux. In debian or ubuntu linux, you can install sshfs by simply opening a terminal window and typing, "sudo apt-get install sshfs".

Once sshfs is installed, you may wish to add your user name to the fuse group. This will allow you to mount sshfs file systems as a regular user. For example, if you usually log into your linux computer as user johnsmith, you would add yourself to the fuse group by opening a terminal window and typeing, "sudo adduser johnsmith fuse".

To mount an sshfs file system, open a terminal window and type something like: mkdir ~/mathfs sshfs ~/mathfs

This will mount your Math department network space on the /mathfs directory in your home directory. Replace 'username' in the above example with your Math department user name. Also, replace 'path_to_your_home_directory' with the path to your home directory. For faculty, this is /fac/username. For graduate students, this is /grad/username. For staff, this is /staff/username. For visitors, it is /visitor/username.  

Hint: You can make it possible to connect to your Math Department network file space by typing just a few characters. To do this:

  1. Create an alias for the sshfs command you use to mount your network space. Edit your shell startup script, either .cshrc for csh and tsh users or .bash_profile for bash users. If you use csh, you would add a line similar to the following: alias mathfs 'sshfs mathfs"</code>. For bash users, add a line similar to the following: alias mathfs='sshfs mathfs'. Use your own Math department login name and home directory, of course.
  2. Generate a ssh key to connect without a password.

At this point, just typing 'mathfs' in a terminal window will mount your Math Department file space on the mathfs directory.


Windows does not provide a way to access other computers via ssh. You can use an ssh program like SecureCRT or [| putty]. DoIT provides a free [| SecureCRT download].

At the time of this writing, there was no free Windows program to allow you to connect your Windows computer to our network file system as a Windows share. The computer staff at the UW Math Department recommends a commercial product called [| ExpandDrive]. This product allows you to map a network share to any computer running ssh.