Information Services Division


Keeping Your Data Safe

Backup recovery

Data Backup

Any place where you store your data can be susceptible to loss. You may, for example, have a hard drive failure, lose your USB stick, have your data corrupted by a virus, have your laptop stolen or your external hard drive may stop working, so it is important that you keep your work or data backed up.

Where should I store the backup?

You should keep at least one copy of your work on the N:drive, which is your own personal storage area. This gets backed up on a daily basis.

The N:drive is stored on the University's network servers, so your files can be accessed from any computer after you have logged in.

The N:drive is also accessible from your home computer or laptop via Desktop @ UCL Anywhere.

You should always:

  • Save your work regularly while working on it (every 10-20 minutes). If you lose your connection or the computer crashes, you may then be able to retrieve most of your work.
  • Make multiple backups of your work. If you use a CD or USB, make copies on your N:drive too, in case you lose or damage them or the data becomes corrupted.
  • If you are backing up your data on a separate device, make sure you store it in a separate place to your original data. The usual recommendation is to keep the data at least 60 metres apart. If your laptop bag gets stolen and you keep your backups in the same bag as the laptop, then you have still lost your data.

Simple steps to keep your computer and files safe

There are some simple steps you can take to help protect your computer and personal details. They will also help you comply with the IT Security and Use Policy.

Some measures will provide you with a layer of protection, others will make you more aware of potential threats.

Risks and threats are constantly evolving and changing though, so you'll need to routinely check that you're up to date with recommended security measures.

For more information on staying safe online, protecting yourself against viruses and spyware, handle data securely, protecting your computer and more visit Stay Secure.

Desktop Data Security

Data Security…

All the Desktop @ UCL PCs and non-standard Desktops (commonly used by users handling sensitive data) are encrypted with Windows BitLocker encryption technology.

The encryption keys are stored securely on the Active Directory environment server.

All Mac laptops are encrypted with Filevault 2 Full Disk Encryption and the keys stored securely we are working towards encrypting all staff desktops.

Mac - Backup & Restore Files & Folders


Time Machine works with any hard disk connected to your computer via USB, FireWire, or Thunderbolt; it also supports Apple's Time Capsule and backup disks connected over a network, provided the disks support Apple File Protocol (AFP) file sharing. As long as the disk is available to your Mac, you can use it for a Time Machine backup.

When enabled, Apple's backup software takes periodic snapshots of all your files and catalogs them on an external hard drive you have plugged in or a Time Capsule you've hooked up to your network. It backs up the entire contents of your hard disk hourly, daily and weekly; as the drive gets full, Time Machine will delete the oldest backups and replace them with newer versions.

How to use Time Machine to back up or restore your Mac

Time Machine backs up all of your files or folders to an external storage device so that you can restore them later or see how they looked in the past.

1. Demo - "Backing up manually your files & folders"

2. Demo - "Setting up a Time Machine backup and restoring your files & folders"

PC - Backup & Restore Files & Folders on Windows 10

Laptop and PC…

Losing data because of a computer problem or a hard disk crash is discouraging, to say the least. You might lose important data. And, after you get the computer just the way that you want it, it can take a long time to reconfigure your personal settings on a new computer: desktop background, sounds, screensavers, and wireless network configurations to name just a few.

However, a little prevention can go a long way to avoiding this ordeal. To help save you lots of time and aggravation, we recommend that you take the precaution of regularly backing up your data and settings.

How to back up and restore your Files or Folders on Windows 10

The guide describes how to manually back up your personal files and settings on PC. It also describes how to use the data tools in Windows to back up your files and settings:

1. Demo - How to Back up your Files & Folders on Windows 10

2. Demo - How to Restore your Files & Folders on Windows 10

If you're missing an important file or folder, here's how to get it back:

  1. Type Restore files in the search box on the taskbar, and then select Restore your files with File History.
  2. Look for the file you need, then use the arrows to see all its versions.
  3. When you find the version you want, select Restore to save it in its original location. To save it in a different place, press and hold (or right-click) Restore, select Restore to, and then choose a new location.

Files and storage staff…

All staff are provided with their own personal and secure filespace, stored on a central fileserver. This space is known as your N: Drive. You are provided with a quota of 6GB.

All Support Services, Departments and Research Projects are allocated shared network file space for collaborative working and file sharing purposes. This is generally located on the Q: Drive. 

All files on N: and Q: are securely backed up every night.


Files and storage student…

All students are provided with their own personal and secure filespace, stored on a central fileserver. This space is known as your N: Drive. You are provided with a quota of 100GB.

There is a shared network file space where tutors can drop shared information. This is known as the O: Drive.

All files on N: and O: are securely backed up every night.

Training Guides

Backup & Restore Your Files & Folders on windows 10

General Information

File History regularly backs up versions of your files located in the Documents, Music, Pictures, Videos, and Desktop folders and OneDrive files available offline on your PC. Over time, you'll have a complete history of your files. If the originals are lost, damaged, or deleted, you can restore them. You can also browse and restore different versions of your files. For example, if you want to restore an older version of a file (even if it wasn't deleted or lost), you can browse through a timeline, select the version you want, and restore it.

If you have files or folders elsewhere that you want backed up, you can add them to one of these folders.

Before you start using File History to back up your files, you need to first select where your backups are saved. You can select an externally connected drive, such as a USB drive, or you can save to a network on a drive. There are other choices, but these two provide the best options to help protect your files against a crash or other PC problems.


Time Machine is the built-in backup feature of your Mac. You can use Time Machine with a drive connected to your Mac, a drive built into or connected to a Time Capsule, or a supported network volume.

Time Machine can back up the data on your Mac to:

  • An external hard drive connected to a USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire port on your Mac
  • An AirPort Time Capsule's built-in drive (any model)
  • An external USB drive connected to an AirPort Time Capsule (any model) or AirPort Extreme (802.11ac model only)

Set up Time Machine