Accessing Network Files via VPN - macOS


This page describes how to connect to network shares while off-site and using the CSCS VPN service on macOS X.


  • user account on any of the three domains: BIOSCI (Zoology), MINTS (Clinical / Medical School) or SLCU (Sainsbury Lab)
  • Apple Mac computer in an off-site location running at least macOS 10.13 High Sierra or newer
  • VPN client installed as per Mac Install Instructions
  • reasonably fast Internet connection


Every user on any of the three locations supported by CSCS – Addenbrooke's, SLCU and Zoology – has a designated personal network share: in the Windows environment, the personal network share is referred to as the U drive. Additionally, some users have access to one or more group network shares, referred to as group drives (V, W, X...).

You will need to know the "path" of the drive to which you wish to connect,  A list of all drives is located here:

In order to access any network shares on OS X, while in Finder, please select Go from the top menu bar:

and, from the menu, choose Connect to Server...

Alternatively, while still in Finder you can simply press the Command (Apple) key + K simultaneously. You will then be presented with the below window:

In order to access any network shares, in the Server Address field, please type the full path to a shared directory. This resembles:


Please, do NOT copy the above file path itself, as it is not a valid link to anything.  Instead of "", your particular network share should be listed below, under the heading Network Share Paths, or at

Before clicking Connect, it is advisable to click the plus button '+' in order to add the path to the Favourite Servers list for easy subsequent access. Then simply press Enter or select Connect and you should be presented with the authentication windows:

For quick access in the future, you may want to tick the box next to Remember this password in my keychain, then simply type in your network username and password:

You'll need to prefix your username with your domain. Example:

  • Medschl users: MINTS\abc123
  • Zoology users: BIOSCI\abc123
  • Sainsbury Laboratory users: SLCU\John.Smith

Use your domain password (not your Raven password). Now press Enter or select Connect.

Network share paths for users of:

 MINTS domain

For their personal network share, users at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus should type:


substituting AccountName for their actual username, which for most would be their CRSid.

Depending on where their group network shares is located, MINTS users will need to enter one the following server paths:




substituting GroupName for their actual group share name. If they are a member of the IMS, the group network share has the following path:

 BIOSCI domain

Users at the Department of Zoology can access their personal network share by typing:


substituting AccountName for their actual username, which for most would be their CRSid.

Group network shares are accessible on:


substituting GroupName for their actual group share name.


On some versions of macOS it may be necessary to use cifs:// instead of the smb:// prefix:


Several group shares (mostly admin ones) are located on another server:

 SLCU domain

In order to access their personal network share, SLCU users should type:

smb://$/First LastName

with a space replacing a dot (.) in their username.

Group shares can be access using:



It may be useful to use shortcuts after successfully connecting to the network shares. Shortcuts can be created in Finder itself or in the Dock simply by dragging the directory icon from the top title bar to either Favorites in Sidebar:

or to the Dock, on the right side of the separator bar:

These shortcuts will stop working as soon as you disconnect from the VPN, of if you restart your Apple Mac computer; and they will only become active again, after you successfully authenticate to the network shares using the steps outlined above.

If you have any doubts as to what network share path you should be typing, please contact the Service Desk.