Windows File Synchronization FAQ’s

In response to longstanding need to provide reliable and secure backup services for Bates-related computer files, ILS is implementing Windows File Synchronization on all faculty and staff Windows office computers. Windows File Synchronization provides a way for all Bates related work to be stored on a server and the local hard drive. The following are some frequently asked questions concerning this process.

Please consult our helpsheet: Enabling Windows My Documents Synchronization and the Benefits of Windows File Synchronization

1) Why is this important to the College?
ILS in general saw the need for file synching because of the costs of lost data which include: the loss of productivity during recovery attempts, the loss of actual data, the costs to attempt to recover the data either by Bates techs or an outside service, and the costs to recreate the data if recovery is not possible. There have been costly instances of each of these scenarios.

2) Where will my Bates work files be stored?
The server (Mexico) will be the primary storage repository and the files on the computer’s hard drive are synched with the files on the server.

Please note: Do not include the entire contents of My Doucments in copying files to your Bates work folder, only work related, not personal files belong in this folder.

3) Does this process replace where I save shared files on the network?
No, files or folders to be shared from the network should be stored on Belfast or China servers, for example. Windows synchronization is for Bates work from individual’s computers used online or offline, not work meant to be shared by department or group members.

4) Will this process affect the performance of my computer ?
The synching occurs automatically and does not affect the performance of the computer.

5) What happens to my files if I disconnect my computer from the network?
If a computer is removed from the network the files are synched as soon as the computer is reconnected to the network. The network server is backed up regularly so that there will be an archived copy of the Bates work files.

Note: If connected to Bates via a VPN or Bates modem the synch will occur as if on campus.

6) If file synchronization is in place, are my files available from any networked computer?
Once this system is implemented, faculty and staff members can continue to work on Bates files even if their computer is unavailable. Since their Bates work is stored on a server it can be accessed from any computer connected to the Bates network. Each user will have a secure folder on the file server that can ** only** be accessed by the individual user.

7) Is this considered a records management/archives for my files?
Windows file synchronization is not a records management system. Files will be stored based on individual and departmental file storage techniques, including differences in some departments with existing systems for storage of large files. Muskie Archives will assist in improving these techniques.

As part of this project, Muskie Archives has developed recommended best practices for managing electronic records, including advice on directory structures, file and folder names and file maintenance. These best practices will be included in the training and implementation of the file synchronization project.

8) Is there a similar program for Apple computers?
This approach applies only to Windows computers. The file synchronization program uses existing features of the Windows operating system. The current Apple operating system does not have comparable features. The next Apple OS may in include a synch feature. ILS is also looking at other options for Apple computers.

9) When my computer is replaced, will I have to set this up again?
Computers currently in use will need to follow the instructions for enabling windows file synchronization, however replacements will have this all setup for the user when it is delivered to their desk.

10) Can I save Access databases to My Bates Work folder for synchronization?
No, Access databases should be saved to other network servers, such as Belfast to avoid errors.

11) How do I delete files no longer needed for Bates work from the network folder?
Click once to select the file(s) or folder(s) no longer needed and press the delete key. Locally stored copies should also be deleted if no longer needed or are not of archival value to the College. Questions on what materials should be retained for College Archives may be directed to Pat Webber, at the Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, x6428.

12) Can files that are deleted from the network folder be recovered?
Deleted files do not show in your local Recycle Bin, or any network Trash to be recovered by droping back into the folder Bates Work.  Please contact Help Desk Services, x8222 to request this procedure. The complete path name and file name(s) will help the process, as well as the last date and time the file(s) were in the network folder.

13) What are the recommended best practices for managing electronic records?
Please consult Managing Electronic Records Pat Webber and Kat Stefko, of the Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library.

14) Should I be concerned about an error message when I shutdown my laptop while using the VPN software?
In order to avoid this message, manually synch your files to the network, then disconnect the VPN software by closing it properly. The computer should then shutdown normally.