Data transfer on KU Leuven network drives#

On clusters hosted at KU Leuven it is possible to transfer data to and from KU Leuven network drives to which you may have access. These need to be accessed through the CIFS protocol and there are different tools that can be used for this purpose. Here we will describe GIO and smbclient.

In these instructions you will need to replace unumber with your u-number and drivename with the drive you want to access:

  • users for the personal network drive (I-drive)

  • shares for the shared network drive (J-drive)

  • lvs for the Large Volume Storage (L-drive)


The location of your I-drive will not correspond to the mount point itself, but to a unumber subdirectory of the mount point.


Mounting the drives via GIO can be convenient but only works on specific login nodes and not on the compute nodes. Keep in mind that the CPU time limitations on the login nodes may cause long transfers to get interrupted. GIO can be used both via a GUI and the CLI.


Don’t forget to unmount the drives after your transfers have finished.

Via the GUI (NoMachine)#

  1. Open a NoMachine connection (see the NX start guide)

  2. Click on e.g. Places -> Home Folder to open the default file manager (Thunar).

  3. Replace the /user/... location with smb:// (substituting unumber and drivename as explained above).

  4. When asked for the password for your account, also change the domain name from SAMBA to luna.

  5. The file manager will now show the contents of the drive. Mounted drives will remain visible in the file manager’s Network section in the panel on the left.

  6. To unmount the drive afterwards, right-click on the drive name in the Network section and select Unmount.

Via the CLI#

  1. Open an SSH connection to or or start a terminal in your NoMachine session.

  2. Start a D-Bus session and then mount the network drive:

    dbus-run-session bash
    gio mount smb://
  3. When asked for the domain name, enter luna.

  4. When asked for a password, enter your u-number password.

  5. File transfers also need to happen via gio, e.g.:

    gio copy /path/to/local/dir/file.txt smb://
  6. To unmount the drive afterwards, repeat the same gio mount command with an additional --unmount flag.


Larger transfers are best done via a job on a compute node, where GIO is not available and smbclient can be used instead.


This specifically needs to happen via an interactive job, not in batch jobs. The reason is that you need to provide your u-number password, which we strongly recommend to never store in text files such as a job script.

Using smbclient is similar to sftp. You can for example launch an interactive prompt like this:

smbclient --user=unumber --workgroup=luna \\\\\\drivename
Enter LUNA\unumber's password:
smb: \>

It can sometimes be more convenient to pass a set of commands instead of using the prompt. For example:

smbclient --user=unumber --workgroup=luna \\\\\\drivename \
          -c "cd /path/to/remote/dir/; get file.txt"


Because the network drives need to be accessed via the CIFS protocol, it is not possible to transfer all file attributes from Unix-like file systems. File ownerships, permissions and symlinks can for example not be transferred.

If it is necessary to retain all metadata, an easy workaround is to first create an (compressed or uncompressed) archive and then transfer this archive file:

tar -cv --file=archive.tar /path/to/directory

For large directories it can be convenient to split the archive into smaller chunks, for example:

tar -cv -M -L 10G --file=archive.tar.{000..100} /path/to/directory

Afterwards the directory can be reconstructed as follows:

tar -xv -M --file=../archive.tar.{000..100}