SPSS and NVivo - Where are my files?

After connecting to the Remote Access SPSS or NVivo, the usual next step is to download files from LEARN or elsewhere and start working with the software. Sometimes, it's not obvious where your files are stored or how to access files for analysis.

When you download the files, make sure to take note of where you are storing them.

When you open a file from the remote SPSS or NVivo session, you will see the normal open file dialog box but your files are not there (on the server) they are stored locally or on a network drive. You need to navigate to these files. 

An example using SPSS

Click on the Open Data (folder) icon at the top left of the menu bar or select the "Open another file" option on the starting splash screen (below)

Screen capture of Opening SPSS splash screen with Open another file hilighted

Click on the "Look in" drop-down list of the Open dialog box. 

Screen capture of Open Data file dialog with the Look in pull-down menu hilighted

Select the VDISRV entry under Desktop (the actual name will have a number appended, e.g. VDISRV1, VDISRV2)

Screen capture of Open Data file dialog with the VDISRV option hilighted

You will see a complete list places where files could be stored. Ignore the folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads) as these "aren't the folders you're looking for". Instead, look for entries with a box and an upside down "T" icon: entries that are named like "C on Computer", "home on Computer", "\\files.uwaterloo.ca" or "\\fileu.uwaterloo.ca". If you don't see these listed, try clicking on the folder named with your userid and then open/click on the VDISERV folder again.

Screen capture of Open Data file dialog showing local and server locations

  • Entries with "on computer" are local to your computer/laptop (AHSCO-ETB is a computer name in the screenshot above). These correspond to the drive letters on Windows or the current user's "home" folder on a Mac. 
  • Entries with "\\files.uwaterloo.ca" or "\\fileu.uwaterloo.ca" are your N: drive on the University of Waterloo network. 

Now, navigate to where you downloaded or stored your data file and open it. On home Windows machines, look for files under the "C on computer" then under the "Users" folder and then a folder with your computer login account.

If you are on the campus network, we recommend using the N: drive locations as these are backed up frequently (\\fileu.uwaterloo.ca or \\files.uwaterloo.ca).