Using Your Computer

Last updated: August 26, 2022

Learn about the basics of using a managed workstation computer, how to get assistance, and download additional software.

Getting Started

  • Log into your computer using your UW NetID and UW NetID password credentials.
  • You need to be connected to the UW Network to log in for the first time.
  • If you use your workstation off-site, you need to connect to the UW network (either on-site or via VPN) at least once a month, otherwise the computer will lose the ability to connect to MWS resources and you will lose the ability to login.
  • Always lock your computer when you’re away from it.
    • On Windows: Hold the Windows key and hit L to quickly lock it.
    • On macOS:  Hold the Command and Control keys and hit Q to quickly lock it.
  • Keep your computer turned on at all times. This allows for critical updates to be install when you aren’t using the computer.
  • You can change the look and feel of your workstation, but such changes are not backed up and don’t transfer from device-to-device.
  • We strongly recommend you DO NOT add files locally to your desktop or documents. Before working with files on your computers, please read the guidance in the Your Files section.
  • You can connect to your managed workstation and other services remotely.
  • When working from another workstation, you can get to email via web interfaces.

Getting assistance

  • Visit our guide for requesting help if you need support or assistance with your Managed Workstation.

Your Files

  • Save files on Google Drive, OneDrive for Business, H: or I: drives, as directed by your department
  • If you log into another Managed Workstation, the H:, I:, and U: drives will automatically be mapped so you can generally get to your files.
  • Do NOT store files on C: drive (includes Windows desktop and My Documents)
    • Local drives are not backed up – your work can be lost.
    • Local files are not available from another computer
  • Your H: drive, if one has been made available to you by your department, is generally only viewable to you.
  • Lost a file on your H: or I: drive? Or has it been changed or damaged beyond repair?
    • You may be able to retrieve a copy using the I:\snapshots folders.
  • Backups are stored at: Your H: drive in I:\snapshots\(selected date)\users\(your UWNetID)
  • Backups of your I: drive in I:\snapshots\(selected date)\groups\(your directory)
    • The files in Snapshots are read-only, and should be copied to your regular directory.
    • More information about this can be found on our Recovering Files page

Files that should not be placed on H: or I:\groups:

  • Confidential data. If you have questions about whether you are handling confidential data, please see your supervisor or contact Contact Managed Workstation if you need advice about where to store confidential data.
  • Microsoft Access databases. These only work well locally or on a Windows File server–we have an option for that. Please ask if you need this.
  • Windows backup files, disk images, or an entire copy of a hard drive.
  • Non-work related media files (these could also run afoul of ethics rules and state law), such as MP3 files, movie files, and images.
  • Programs, executables and installers. The C: drive is a good alternative for these files.
  • Large files, over 1GB in size. These may require special computing resources not suited to the existing shared file services. Talk with us if you find yourself in this situation.

For a list of all of our file service options along with their benefits and costs: Comparison of UW file service options available to MWS customers


  • A standard suite of software is pre-installed on your managed workstation. We can create special images upon request.
  • Additional software is available for easy installation from the Software Center. The Software Center is pre-installed on your managed workstation. To find it, open the Start menu and type “Software Center”. You can find out more about how to get software that is centrally distributed here.
  • Please ask us to package up any business critical software you need instead of installing it yourself. This makes it easy to reinstall in the future, and makes it available to others if needed. This saves time during future rebuilds. Doing this saves the UW money.
  • If you install your own software, you do so at your own risk. Keep a copy of the installation files, license codes, and any customized settings. If your managed workstation is rebuilt, you will need to reinstall the software.


  • Sophos Anti-Virus is provided on every managed workstation. It provides centrally-managed real-time scanning and runs periodic scans of your computer. Managed Workstation Service get notifications of any infections that require intervention and will contact you about them.
  • If you get a virus infection, your computer may have to be re-imaged. For this reason, do not save important data locally.
  • Log out or lock your computer screen whenever you walk away from the computer.
  • Practice safety! Be vigilant on the Web and email:
    • Don’t click–hover! Hover your mouse over links in email; this displays the actual destination.
    • Don’t click or call! If the message or its links ask for any personal information, contact the company directly. Do not use the phone number or email link in the message.
    • If you have entered your UW NetID credentials into a bogus site, you should change your password at the valid UW site. Go to the UW home page and search on change password or type or copy this URL into your browser:
  • We provide some assessment and mitigation of broadly affecting vulnerabilities specific to Windows workstations. If in doubt about a specific vulnerability, ask us.