Installing Obsidian on a school computer system

Use case or problem

I want to install Obsidian onto a computer suite at my school. Students across subject areas could hugely benefit from taking notes using this software. Tech support have reported that it installs into user appdata and not the C drive. The issue is that appdata is wiped every time a user logs in/out.

Proposed solution

Can there be an option to install on the C drive rather than appdata?

Current workaround (optional)

None - cannot proceed with students using this software unless this is resolved.


Where will students be storing their notes if every time they logout their home directory is wiped out?

If they store their notes somewhere else in C, every other user/student can read/overwrite their notes.

I do see that this feature is helpful (even more so for school in poor countries/area).
Is there a way to detect vault on USB? I think detect vault on USB would help solve the wipe/overwrite problem.

Am not the OP but I’m pretty familiar with standard US account setups for education. Basically, the computer has profiles set up so that a student is accessing “their” files via the intranet. The local computer in front of them has %APPDATA% and whatnot, but that stuff gets wiped to make sure that students can’t jack stuff up. But students (and teachers, for that matter) usually have access to their own “Documents” folder via the intranet.

Think less “their stuff gets wiped every time they log out?!?!” and more “students often don’t use the same computer every time they use a computer.”

The thing is, I think your IT Department is probably wrong about how big a problem the %APPDATA% thing is (based on my experience with school district IT departments, this should not be shocking). OBSIDIAN installs into the %APPDATA% stuff, but the student notes would not actually get wiped — because the vault would just be markdown files on their intranet folder.

It’s basically the same thing as how you can absolutely get a school IT department to install Minecraft — but the session data and all won’t be saved, sure. But if the student saves their maps to their intranet folder, it’s fine.

As for Obsidian, there’s nothing stopping IT from adding it to the %APPDATA% image as a “default installed program” — tho they probably won’t do it for you until over the summer.


Hi Eleanor,

Your instincts are spot on. Their files are on a drive which they authenticate to get access to. Their notes would be saved in there. We have a lot of software on these computers - for every different subject. I understand that the APPDATA is cleared to avoid buildup and slowdown. I am not a network technician by any means.

I will ask IT if Obsidian can be added to the %APPDATA% image - that could be a good lead!

Thank you.

Just noticed that there isn’t a portable version for windows. I’ve been using Appimage so I assumed there is one for windows as well. Would a portable version be one possible solution? So that you can store both the software and data in a USB drive.

Since obsidian needs a place to store users settings (beyond the vault), an installation that targets only c:\program files is not possible.

There is an open FR for a portable version. In this case, both the main obsidian program and the user settings would be stored within a single directory. Each student would have to install this version in their personal (network) space.


Good Afternoon,

Thanks everyone! I’ve shared some of this with my IT department. The APPDATA “default software” idea may work. Their wish was that it could be an “MSI”. Is this possible/ feasible?