Disks and Utilities

 FAQ Topics for Disks and Utilities

Saving Files

Q: Where do I save my files?

A: Always save your file to Work in Progress first and then work from there to avoid the possibility of files becoming corrupted. The Labs are not responsible for missing or damaged files, tapes or other media used in the Labs. Back-up your files and media. Labs are not responsible for files stored locally at workstations. Such files may be accessed by other users and are subject to deletion by other users. When you are done, copy your files to your removable media to take with you. Delete your files from the local computer drive, both for security and to make disk space for the next user. 

Lab Computer

Your Removable Media

Work in Progress (D drive in Windows)

  • Each station has its own Work In Progress folder on the desktop.

Drop Box & Secure Drop Box

  • Accessible from all computers, AT-wide.
  • Deleted automatically at 11:50am.)

* For stations located in Fashion K and R Drop Box is only accessible from those buildings.

  • DVD & CD
  • Portable Hard Drive, Firewire or USB
    (bring your own cable)
  • Flash Drive
  • iPod or similar device
    (bring your own cable)

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Q: What if I get a "Disk Error" while copying?

A: Always save to Work In Progress. Then copy your file from there to the Drop Box or your removable storage disk. If you save directly to your disk, it may result in disk error or could corrupt your files. If you are trying to save to the Hard Drive and not Work In Progress, you may get this error. The Hard Drive is locked so you cannot copy to or from it. If you get the error when trying to copy to your disk, it may be that your disk is damaged, in which case you can go to a Disk Utilities Station to check it. For more information see Repairs, Disk Utilities Stations

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Q: Why would my disk work one time and then not work the next?

A: There are two principal causes:

  • Cause 1: Writing files directly to your disk. Files can become corrupt. When you work in the Labs, make sure that you work with files located in Work In Progress and when you are done copy the files onto your disk.
  • Cause 2: Pulling a portable drive from the computer without properly unmounting it. To properly unmount, on a Mac drag the disk icon to trash and on a Windows PC right-click the icon in the system tray and select disconnect or eject. Go to a Disk Utilities Station, located near the reception area, to scan and repair your disk.

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Q: What does it mean if the computer keeps asking me to reinitialize or reformat a disk which I've been using?

A: It is likely that your has problems. Go to a Disk Utilities Station located near the reception desk at 55 West 13th Street 8th fl. Scan and repair your disk to fix file problems. Then, duplicate all existing files from this external disk into Work In Progress. Reformat your external disk and transfer your files from Work In Progress to the newly formatted disk. If that does not work, consult lab staff.

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Q: If my computer crashed, can I recover my work?

A: In Microsoft Office Programs (Word, Excel, etc.), there is an automatic data recovery system that may save your work. After you have restarted your computer, open the program and your document should open automatically if the program is able to recover it. Some other programs offer an auto-save option, which you would need to configure. In Adobe and other graphic programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.), there is no data recovery system. You need to remember to save your files periodically so that you do not lose any of your work if your computer crashes. The labs are not responsible for missing or damaged files.

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Q: I keep getting a memory error when I launch my application?

A: Free up memory by closing programs you are not currently using. If that does not work, restart your computer. Remember to open the application which requires the most memory first, if you are going to use two or more applications at the same time. You may need to delete all extra files from Work In Progress to make room, save your file, and restart the computer. If using Illustrator or Photoshop, change or set Scratch Disk to Work In Progress.

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Q: My application is running slowly or seems to have frozen. Any tips?

A: Try not to have more than one application running at the same time to keep memory allocated to the one you're using. Never work off your USB, the Drop Box, or an email attachment. Always copy the file to the Work In Progress, and open and work from there. You may need to delete all extra files from Work In Progress drive to make room. You may need to save your file and restart the computer. If using Illustrator, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, or a similar program, change or set Scratch Disk to Work In Progress.

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Q: How do I open and use my Apple iWork Pages file?

A: Right click on the file then select extract all. This will create a folder called Quicklook in which there is a PDF with the text of the document. You can then copy and paste the text portion into a MS Word document.
You can also save directly to MS Word from the iWorks Pages application from your computer.

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DROP BOX: TEMPORARY NETWORKED STORAGE

Q: What is the Drop Box?

A: The Drop Box is a New School server where you can temporarily store files, as you move around from one station to another. The Drop Box is temporary with all files automatically deleted daily at 11:50am, without exception.
Labs at Parsons East, Arnhold Hall, 6 East 16th Street, and Presentation Rooms use the same Drop Box; the Fashion Lab has a separate Drop Box which is accessible only at that location.
You upload your files to the Drop Box, and then copy the files down to another station to work on them. Keep in mind others have access to files in the Drop Box, so for basic security do not put personal information there. Do not open files directly from the Drop Box, copy the file to the Work In Progress then open it from there. You can move or copy files into the Drop Box but you cannot delete files in the Drop Box. You cannot change names of files or folders in the Drop Box.
Note that the New School Drop Box is not affiliated with or connected to the online service Dropbox or Dropbox.com

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Q: What is the Secure Drop Box?

A: The Secure Drop Box is your personal file depository. Files put in the Secure Drop Box are available only to the user who is logged into the station. To access your secure drop box, be sure to logoff and log back in with your NetID username. Otherwise, it works the same as the regular Drop Box. Secure Drop Box is available to degree and credit-seeking students, faculty and staff. Be aware the classroom stations auto-login as default user "newschool", so be careful not to deposit files there by mistake. However, if you do, you can always access the files by logging back in as username: newschool, no password (leave field blank).

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Q: How long can I keep files in the Drop Box or Secure Drop Box?

A: The Drop Box and the Secure Drop Box are automatically erased every day at 11:50am. Be sure to copy files you may need from it before that time.

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Q: How can instructors share files with students over the course of the term?

A: Set up file sharing in your portal environment at MyNewSchool under the "My Courses" icon. This gives you access to Blackboard, The New School's online classroom environment.

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Q: How do I access the Drop Box?

A: To access the Drop Box: On a Mac, go to the Dock's Apple menu > Drop Box. On a PC, go to the Windows Start menu > Drop Box. The Drop Box icon will appear on the Desktop for Macs or under My Computer for Windows PCs.

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Q: What is the 'Access is Denied' error when I try to change my files in the Drop Box?

A: Files and folders in the Drop Box cannot be modified. This means that you can neither rename a file or folder nor can you delete a file in the Drop Box. You cannot replace an old item with a new item of the same name. Change filenames while the file is still in Work In Progress.

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PORTABLE DRIVES (FIREWIRE & USB)

Q: What is a USB Flash drive?

A: A compact USB drive. It plugs directly into the USB port of your computer without needing a cable. It is also known as a "Memory Stick", "Thumb Drive", "Jump Drive" or "Pen Drive".

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Q: Where can I use my drive?

A: On any Mac or Windows PC that has front-end Firewire or USB ports. Bring your own firewire or USB cable to plug-in an external hard drive. For iPods, bring the specialized USB or firewire cable made specifically for the iPod. While some USB Flash Drives work when plugged into the USB port in the Mac's keyboard, it does not work for a lot of flash drives. Instead of using the keyboard port to plugin a USB drive, use the front-end USB ports.

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Q: How do I use my firewire 400 hard drive on the Macs with 800 ports?

A: You can use the disk utility station to transfer your files from a Firewire 400 device to the Drop Box, or purchase a 400-800 cable. Ask lab staff for help.

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Q: How do I mount my Apple Laptop as a hard drive on another computer?

A: This is referred to as "Firewire Disk Mode" or "Target Disk Mode" and is supported by any Apple computer that came with Firewire built-in. Unfortunately, it does NOT work using a Windows Laptop with Firewire card. To use:

  1. Turn off the 'target' computer (laptop), the one to be mounted as a hard drive.
  2. While holding the 'T' (for Target mode) key on the keyboard press the power button to turn the machine on. Continue holding the 'T' key after releasing the power button until you see a flashing Firewire Icon on the screen (blue background, yellow Firewire symbol).
  3. Plug in the Firewire cable from the 'host' computer (the machine mounting your disk). Your disk should now appear on the host computer's desktop.

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Q: How do I properly connect and use my external hard drive?

A: Please follow the instructions provided by your hard drive's manufacturer

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Q: How do I properly unmount my drive?

A: It is best to follow exactly the manufacturer's instructions. Unmount the drive using the computer's software. Never remove the drive or unplug a cable before properly unmounting it. Here's how to properly unmount the drive:

  • For Mac: Drag and drop the drive icon to the trash icon (notice it changes into an eject icon). The drive should disappear from your desktop. If that does not work, in the window showing the Drive's contents, click the soft "Eject" button. Wait for the drive to "spin down" or cool down.
  • For Windows PC: Click on 'Safely remove hardware' (green arrow icon at bottom right corner of the Task Bar). Select to stop the drive, and wait until you get the message it is safe to remove it.

After Step 1, it is safe to disconnect. With a USB Flash drive, simply unplug it. With firewire or USB-cabled drives, unplug the USB or Firewire cable. Then, if your hard drive has external power, turn the drive off and unplug the power cable.

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Q: How do I disconnect my drive if my computer crashes?

A: Do not unplug your Hard Drive with the computer still on. If you cannot safely unmount your Hard Drive, power down the station by holding down the power button for six seconds. The Hard Drive may still be spinning and you might cause damage if you unplug while the computer is still on.

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Q: What do I do if the drive does not show on the Mac desktop?

A: Try mounting the Drive (volume) using the Finder. In the Finder, choose Go > Go to Folder. Type in "/volumes" and click OK, and you should see your Drive. If not, this may be your issue: Most Drives above 120GB cannot be used to transport data between Windows PC's and Mac computer systems. As a workaround, partition your drive into smaller sections, each no more than 100GB.

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Q: Why won't my drive open on a Mac?

A: It is likely you need to set the volume to ignore ownership. To do this, mount your volume on the Desktop. Choose "Get Info" from the File menu. Click the sideways arrow on "Ownership & Permissions" to open the menu. Click the check box on for the last option, "Ignore ownership on this volume". Then click "Apply to Enclosed Items" to unlock.

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Formatting & Partitioning

Q: How do I format a USB flash drive for a Mac, for a Windows PC, and for both?

A: You can do a basic reformat of your flash drive using the program Disk Utility for Macs, or by right-clicking on the disk icon for PC's. For more advanced disk functions use a Disk Utilities Station, located near the Arnhold Hall 8th floor reception desk.

At a Windows PC Station 

At a Mac Utility Station 

 For Mac & PC using a Windows PC

1. Insert your drive and double Click on My Computer to view all available disks and drives.

2. Right click on your drive and use the drop down menu to navigate to Format

3. A formatting menu will appear. Your settings for 'Capacity', 'File System' and 'Allocation Unit Size' will automatically be detected.

 1. Insert your drive and launch Disk Utility. Disk Utility is found under Apple menu > Utilities > Disk Utilities

2. Select your disk from the list of disks and volumes on the left.

3. Click the 'Erase' tab. If you would like to use the disk exclusively on Mac, under 'Volume Format' choose 'Mac OS Extended (Journaled).'

4. If you would like to use the disk for cross-platform use on Mac and Windows PC, under 'Volume Format ' choose 'MS-DOS File System .'

 1. Use a Windows PC station.

2. Insert your drive and double Click on 'My Computer' to view all available disks and drives.

3. Right click on your drive and use the drop down menu to navigate to 'Format'

4. A formatting menu will appear. Your settings for 'Capacity', 'File System' and 'Allocation Unit Size' will automatically be detected. If you would like to use the drive for cross-platform use on Mac and Windows PC, under 'File System' choose 'FAT32.'
WARNING: Formatting and/or partitioning will erase all the data on the drive.
*Note: While formatting your disk using the FAT32 file system allows for cross-platform use on both Macs & PCs, it also limits the size of files you can save to 4GB maximum. To save files large than 4GB, format your disk as "Mac OSX Extended (Journaled)" for Mac use, or as "NTFS" for Windows PC use.

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Q: What is a Partition?

A: A partition is a division of disk space.

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Q: Why would I want to partition?

A: Partitions can improve the efficiency of your hard disk because it lends itself to faster searching and less wasted disk space. Partitions are also necessary if you wish to use a Firewire Hard Drive for cross-platform use on Mac and Windows PC. Most Firewire drives with disk space above 120GB cannot be used to transport data between Windows PC's and Mac computer systems. As a workaround, reformat your Firewire drive into separate partitions, each no more than 100GB.

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Q: How do I partition a Firewire or USB Hard Drive?

A: Use the Disk Utilities Station located at Arnhold Hall 8th floor. Follow these steps:

  1. Insert your disk or drive and launch Disk Utility. Disk Utility is found under Apple menu > Utilities > Disk Utilities
  2. Select your disk from the list of disks and volumes on the left.
  3. Click "Partition."
  4. Choose the number of partitions from the Volume Scheme pop-up menu.
  5. Click each partition and type a name for it, choose a format, and type a size. You can also drag the divider between the partitions to change their sizes. If a partition's name has an asterisk beside it, it's shown larger than its actual size in order to display its name legibly.
  6. If you will use the drive on a Windows computer, click Options and choose the Master Boot Record partition scheme. It might be called the PC partition scheme.
  7. Click the Partition button, and then click Partition again. Close Disk Utilities and unmount your drive.

WARNING: Formatting and/or partitioning will erase all the data on a disk or drive.

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REPAIRS, DISK UTILITIES STATIONS

Q: How do I make simple repairs to a disk?

A: To make simple repairs to a disk, follow these instructions:

On a Windows PC:

  1. Double Click on 'My Computer' to view all available disks and drives.
  2. Right click on your disk and use the drop down menu to navigate to 'Properties,' and choose the 'Tools' tab.
  3. Run 'Error Checking.' Make sure 'Automatically fix file system errors' and 'Scan for and attempt recovery of bad sectors' are checked. The files that are corrupt or in bad sectors already may not be usable but other files should work.

On a Mac:

  1. Remove your disk and bring it to a Disk Utilities Station.

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Q: What are the Disk Utilities Stations and what do they do?

A: The Academic Technology Labs have Disk Utilities stations near the Arnhold Hall 8th floor reception desk. These stations have software applications that help recover and repair problematic data files. When you have a Disk or portable Hard Drive that will not mount or is reporting damage, error or virus, bring it to a Disk Utilities station. It is important to note the Disk Utilities station is a Mac, which will handle cross-platform formatted and Mac formatted disks. If you have a Windows formatted disk, refer to the information in the Q&A above.

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Q: What Disk Utilities are available?

A: The folloing disk utilities are available in the labs:

  • Disk First Aid: Scans Mac-formatted disks only for minor errors and repairs them.
  • DiskWarrior: Scans for major errors and fixes/rebuilds the directories on your disk.

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Q: When should I use Disk First Aid versus DiskWarrior?

A: Try Disk First Aid first to repair a Mac-formatted disk. If it reports: 'Scan complete. Problems were found, but Disk First Aid cannot repair them', try DiskWarrior. Use DiskWarrior if the disk is: not mounting (not appearing on the desktop when the computer is started); missing files or folders; or crashes when its files are used. DiskWarrior rebuilds your disk directory using data recovered from the original directory, thereby recovering files and folders that were lost.

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Q: What else can I do if Disk Utilities do not work?

A: You may want to try an outside data recovery service. However, if you've tried to scan and repair a number of times, your files likely are not recoverable. You can reformat to continue using the drive, but unfortunately, the data on your disk will be lost. The disk may also no longer be reliable and should then not be used to store files.

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Q: How do I get rid of a virus on my disk?

A: At any station, Mac or Windows PC, run Symantec Endpoint.

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RENDERING & ANIMATION

Q: How are the animation projects and media managed?

A: Create a master folder in Work In Progress. Save your project and preferences there. When launching the application, always reset the preferences to your own. Animation projects, by default, save to the last targeted volume and if you do not reset, your files may be misplaced into another user's folder. When backing up your project or moving it, always take the master folder and all its contents, including project file, preferences, and render files.

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Q: What could have caused my project to crash?

A: Sometimes the complexity of a project as well as other attributes, such as resolution, can affect the performance of your software. Modeling and Animation software is memory (RAM) intensive.
Maximize computer performance through these basic tips:

  1. Work from Work in Progress, never from the Drop Box or removable media.
  2. Delete the work history to free memory and save your work at various stages.
  3. Work in wireframe or quick shade when necessary, rather than in high resolution mode.
  4. Change the camera's perspective to refresh your workspace.

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Q: To where do I render my animation?

A: Render to Work In Progress. Back up to a Firewire drive or on CD. Do not render to the Drop Box, or your application will crash and your progress will be lost.

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Q: When can I render my project?

A: You can begin rendering a project any time the labs are open and stations available, but you should monitor it when you do. If you are in a classroom, check the classroom schedule; otherwise you can render overnight. Set your project to render just before the lab closes, fill out a "Rendering" sign from the lab reception area, and place the sign on your workstation's keyboard or in a visible location on the workstation. Retrieve your project first thing the following morning to avoid incoming users from deleting your work. If you're late picking up your rendered project, incoming users may delete your work if they need disk space, or even by mistake.

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Q: Can I leave my workstation while rendering my project?

A: Leaving your workstation while rendering is at your own risk. If you are unable to monitor your project as it renders, place the rendering sign. If users need to use your station, they may minimize your application and get to work on their own projects. To avoid unexpected surprises, monitor your render, or at least check on it frequently.

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