Use the Xythos Drive for Windows
Getting and Using the Xythos Drive Software (Desktop Client for Windows)
Staff and faculty can install obtain the Xythos Drive Software on Windows computers. The Xythos Drive is not currently available for Macs. We are not licensed to use this software on student computers. Please visit the Desktop Client Request page to download the client.
This desktop client makes your netfiles home directory function more like a local drive on your computer. In addition it has a few features that the web client and the built in DAV connections do not have: Backup, Offline Files, and Intellitach.
Backup allows you to select files and folders on your computer and use your netfiles space as a backup desktop for those files. The backups can be scheduled to run regularly or manually run when you choose. The following graphic is how the Backup tab in the Xythos Drive will appear.
Offline Files allows files that are stored in your netfiles space to be cached locally on your computer so they are available when you do not have an internet connection.
- To make a file or folder available offline right-click on it when connected with the Xythos drive and select "always available offline".
- To have your recently used files available you can go to the options tab of the Xythos drive and remove the check mark next to "clear cached files upon disconnect".
- To have more or fewer files available you can change the size of the file cache. This setting does not affect files that are marked always available offline.
Intellitach is an easy way to send a large file without putting it in an email as a regular attachment. It will upload the file to Netfiles and create a ticket to that file then open a new email with the ticket already in it in one action. The recipient just gets a small text email, but can click the ticket URL in the email to download the large file.
More help information on the Xythos drive Desktop Client is available from Xythos.
Installing the Xythos Drive Software
Once you've downloaded the software for the Xythos Drive, it's time to install it. This process is very similar to most application installation dialogs with a place to specify the installation folder with an extra option for what to call the program group in the start menu. Both the default values should be fine for most setups.
Updating the Xythos Drive Software
Xythos regularly updates their drive software to correct glitches and bugs and introduce new features. The drive software, once installed on your computer will notify you of updates that are available.
Occasionally, the updates will fail when the option to download and install the update is chosen. There is yet to be a cause discovered for this, but there is a solution to work around the problem. The solution is to manually download the client from the Desktop Client Request page. When asked how many licenses you will be using, please enter "0" (zero), as your license will have already be counted from your previous installation of the software.
Adding Additional Folders to Your Connect List
If your department is using Netfiles, you may wish to make an additional folder connection so that the departmental resource appears along with your Netfiles Home folder connection. This can be easily accomplished by configuring the Xythos Drive Software.
- Open the configuration dialog by clicking the Xythos Drive icon within the Xythos Drive folder of the start menu.
- You will see many tabs which all serve as categories of different settings for your Xythos drive configuration. Under the Connect tab, you will see a button labeled Service. To add a link to your departmental space, click this Service button and select "New...".
- This should open a Service Properties dialog box. Give your connection a name and type in the correct Server URL path for your departmental space (https://netfiles.umn.edu/dept_abbreviation).
- Type in your Internet ID.
- When you click okay, the connection will be created in the drop list. The first available drive letter is selected in the second drop box, by default, but this can be changed to whatever is most convenient for your setup.
Managing Files and Folders
With Xythos Drive Software installed on your machine, much of the Netfiles features and settings become available to you via the right-click menu in Windows Explorer. You can build an Intellitach message and toggle logging and versions. Once you've selected the task via the right-click menu, then the Xythos drive will open up a browser already at the appropriate Netfiles dialog required for the task selected with your previously entered login credentials used to connect the drive.
Changes to the Netfiles Web Experience
We've mentioned how the Xythos Drive software changes the right-click context menus in Windows Explorer, but there is also other ways installing the software affects your Netfiles user experience. Without Xythos, in the web interface you see a "pen writing notes" icon next to your file links, and when you click it, it give you instructions on how to edit your files (save locally, edit, upload replace). Once you've installed Xythos software, this icon turns into a set of binoculars. With Xythos, you can either view the file by clicking on the binoculars or edit your files in place by clicking the links. When you click the links then save your changes, your programs save your edits back to Netfiles.
Also with Xythos installed, you may in certain situations be required to authenticate twice and even possibly with different credentials. For instance, if you are accessing a Netfiles ticket that is password protected, Netfiles should bring you to a page to enter that password. Once successfully logged in there, and your Xythos drive isn't connected yet (i.e. working offline), you will be prompted by Xythos client to also login with your Internet username and password, before the client will open the file. So always be careful to read what password or username and password you are being prompted to type.
Using the Intellitach Plugin for Microsoft Outlook
To turn on the option to use the Outlook plug-in with your Xythos Drive Software:
- Open the Xythos connector dialog.
- Under the tab for Intellitach, check the box at the top marked "Enable Intellitach in Outlook and Notes".
- This will bring a new icon into your toolbar in Outlook which looks very similar to the icon located in the system tray. Now, when you attach a file to an email, you will see a new dialog upon sending the message to send the attachment as a link, a ticket or regular attachment.
The Intellitach option will save the files to whatever folder you designate in the Intellitach tab of the Xythos client settings window. The default is "Sent Attachments".
There is a known issue with Publisher 2003 which prevents saving of files. Publisher 2003 uses a special lock when editing files which isn't supported by Xythos Drive. Other Office apps like Word do not use this type of lock and so they work fine. Currently, the suggested workaround for working with Publisher 2003 is to edit the files locally then move them into the mapped folder. Please note that this issue does not exist in Publisher 2007 and testing has shown that this new version of Publisher does work with Xythos Drive.