IT Connect

Information technology tools and resources at the UW

Using Your Computer

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General guidelines

  • Log into your computer using your UW NetID and UW NetID password credentials. If you are using Nebula2 credentials, now is the time to change over to NetID login.
  • Do not modify Managed Workstation hardware without assistance from the Managed Workstation service.
  • You can add things to your desktop window and change the look and feel, but do note the guidance in the Your Files section.
  • If you log into another Managed Workstation, your H: and I: drive will be mapped so you can generally get to your files. On someone else’s managed workstation, you can get to email via web interfaces. Any customizations you’ve made to your primary computer will not follow you.
  • You can connect to your managed workstation remotely.

Change communication

There are three mechanisms for hearing about changes:

  • Nebula-announce mailing list: Hear about changes before they happen
  • News archive: Hear about changes as they happen
  • Semi-annual Managed Workstation newsletter: Hear about changes past and planned (available via nebula-announce and News)


  • Leave your computer turned on at all times to allow network access for critical updates. You may log off or lock your computer, but please do not power it off.
  • If you are using a managed workstation from home or any location off-campus, you should know that getting software updates requires the managed workstation to be connected to the UW network. So we recommend you either regularly leverage the Nebula VPN so your managed workstation can contact our update server or bring the managed workstation into work at least once a month and connect it to the UW Network.


  • A standard suite of software is pre-installed on your managed workstation. You may want to review our OS and Browser support information that tie to specific capabilities Managed Workstation provides.
  • 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 yourself.
  • If you have a specialized program required by a number of people in your department, we may be able to create a “package” for it for easy installation on a number of computers. This will save you time and insulate you against future rebuilds. You can find out more about how to get software that is centrally distributed here.


  • Passwords:
    • Use strong passwords.
    • Do not share your password.
    • Do not leave your machine logged in and unattended (use the Window key and L to lock it).
  • 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.
  • Your department may want to review additional security configuration you can take.

Your Files

  • Save files on Google Drive, OneDrive for Business, H: or I: drives, as directed by your department
  • Do NOT store files on C: drive (includes Windows desktop)
    • Local drives are not backed up – your work can be lost.
    • Local files are not available from another computer
  • Lost a file? 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) 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 about this is at:

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 Nebula 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. 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.

Other file services that are available to use