Research Toolkits: Getting data to and from your RAPID VM

Even though your RAPID VM looks like it is on your own laptop or desktop machine, it is not. This means that your local hard drive or other storage device isn’t accessible from your RAPID VM.

How do you get data to and from your RAPID virtual machine?

There are options, a few dependent on the operating system you’re running. Note that the storage space that is allotted to your RAPID VM may not be large, and when it is full the VM may become unresponsive. See the “cautions” below.

For Windows 10 VMs

  • Use your Duke Box account. A complete list of related documentation is available at The quickest way is to open up a web browser on your VM and log into Box, where you have placed files for transferring to the VM.
  • Use a “mapped drive” or “Windows network share” to transfer you files. This is the easiest way to have seamless access to your files in a familiar graphical interface. It does, however, require some set up. To connect from Windows, see the directions at CIFS for Windows. To connect from Mac OS, see the directions at CIFS for Mac. Once you have created the mapped drives on your local machine and on the RAPID VM, the data you place in the mapped drive directories will be instantaneously available to both machines.
  • For downloading files from the web, use the web browser on the VM, of course being cautious about the origin of the data, so that you don’t end up downloading malicious files.

For Linux VMs (some comfort with Linux required)

  • SFTP – see documentation of SFTP clients or scp on the Linux “man” pages or that are available on the web. This method transfers files onto your VM’s virtual storage.
  • wget – see documentation in Linux “man” pages or on the web. The application allows you to download web pages and files from web servers using HTTP protocols. It is invoked on the command line.
  • smbclient – see documentation the web (e.g., This Linux application allows Linux machines to access “Windows” network shares via the SMB protocol. It approximates “mapping” a CIFS for “Windows network share” using a Linux application that is invoked on the command line.
  • NFS (Network File System) – NFS file services can be use within the Duke network, though you will have to coordinate with the owner/administrator of the NFS server to accomplish this. The server will have to export NFS services to your Linux VM, and you will have to provide a mount point on the VM.


  • The RAPID VMs are not to be used for analyzing sensitive data, and no sensitive data are allowed to be transferred to RAPID VMs.
  • Appropriate and secure configuration of storage mount points or mappings is essential. If you need assistance, contact your campus IT support.