Windows Virtual Desktop

You can now access many lab applications on your own computer or mobile device using our Windows Virtual Desktop. Applications available include ArcGIS, Atlas.ti, Chemdraw, Eviews, SPSS, and STATA. It also includes the desktop versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.


Getting Started

The Windows Virtual Desktop can be accessed from just about any device including Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, iOS and Android devices. There are 2 ways to access it:

  1. Using a web browser by going to
  2. Using the client application- RECOMMENDED

We strongly recommend you access it using the desktop client whenever possible. If you use the client you can access files on your hard drive and you will also have the ability to print to printers configured on your device. These features are not available from the web version.

For instructions on how install the client and access the virtual desktop see our guide at

Connecting to OneDrive

Whether you are using the web version or the client, Windows or Mac, we recommend you connect to your OneDrive cloud storage. Using OneDrive makes it easy to access your files from any location and any device. OneDrive is also a great way to share files and store documents for collaboration. To connect to OneDrive in Windows Virtual Desktop click the This PC icon on the desktop and then click OneDrive in the left side of the window. Enter your username in the format and your password. Once connected you will see all your OneDrive folders and files.

Connect to OneDrive

Tips on using the MacOS Client

When you first start the Virtual desktop it will most likely be in full screen mode. If you shrink the window the desktop won’t resize automatically with it and you will have to scroll around to see various parts of the desktop. You can change a setting so that the Virtual Desktop resizes as you resize the window. Click the window menu at the top of the screen and make sure Fit to Window is checked.

Connect to your local hard drive (Client Only) – MacOS

You can access files on your hard drive including your Desktop or Documents folder but you need to tell the Remote Desktop application which folders to share. You can do this before or after connecting to the Virtual Desktop. If you do this after connecting you will have to disconnect and reconnect for the changes to take effect. Open the Remote Desktop preferences. Under the General section there is an option that says “If folder redirection is enabled…” The default is “Nothing” but you should change this to whatever folder makes sense for you. Usually this would be your home folder so you will have access to everything on your Desktop or in your Documents and Downloads folders.

Once this is set, open a Windows Explorer window by either clicking This PC on the desktop or the folder icon at the bottom of the screen. Look under This PC on the left of the window and you should see whatever folder you selected.

Tips on using the Windows Client

When you first login to the virtual desktop it will be full screen. Often it is easiest to work in full screen mode as much as possible but you can resize it however you want. At the top of the screen you will see a toolbar with icons that will allow you to exit full screen mode and run it in a window.

If the screen isn’t resizing properly you can right click on the top of the virtual desktop window, choose display settings and select Fit session to window. This setting will resize the virtual desktop as you resize the window.

Display Settings

Accessing files on your Hard Drive (Client only) – Windows

Once connected to the virtual desktop from the client you can access files on your local hard drive (you CAN’T do this from the web version). Open a windows explorer window by clicking the This PC icon on the desktop or via the folder icon at the bottom of the screen. You will then see your hard drive listed under This PC on the left and under Redirected Drives and Folders. It will be labeled as “C on COMPUTER_NAME.” Click on that link and navigate to the Users folder and find your username. There you will see (among other items) your Desktop and Documents folder.

If you have any questions about installing the application please contact the IS Service desk at 860-297-2100 (faculty/staff) 860-297-2007 (students). For assistance with specialized software contact the Student Technology Assistants or your Instructional Technologist.

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