Frequently Asked Questions - Virtual DesktopLink to Virtual Desktop Interface

General questions

What is a virtual desktop?

Virtual Desktop is a technology which allows students and
faculty to access a full Windows desktop environment from
a PC or Mac. The virtualized desktop is actually stored on
a remote server and programs are executed on this "virtual"
PC. When connected to the virtual desktop, the virtual PC screen images are sent to the user's desktop and the user's
keystrokes and mouse movements are sent to the virtual PC.
This allows for "remote" access to a self-contained PC environment.

In addition, the virtual machine "image" (which includes 
the Windows operating system and custom sets of installed
programs) can be deployed once, and distributed to a large
group of users quickly. For example, an adminstrator can
build one custom lab virtual desktop "image" which includes
all the required programs, and the entire lab can be updated with the new virtual image in one operation. 

There are many potential benefits to this technology. 
Here are a few examples;

  1. Once a virtual PC session has been started, it's
    possible to use the same virtual session from
    different locations. A task can be started from a
    lab room and finished in a dorm room; all without
    interrupting the virtual machine's Windows session.
    The lab environment is available to any authorized
    user, at any location, from any capable device.
  2. Security; data no longer resides on local workstations;
    instead it is stored in a central location where it can
    be secured and backed up regularly. 
  3. Software upgrades and licensing management can be
    managed from a central location. New products and
    updates can easily be deployed across organizations.


Can I access a virtual desktop from anywhere at anytime?

You can access a virtual desktop from residence halls, home,
and anywhere else in the world through an Internet connection.

Once you are entitled to access a virtual machine, you can access it from any platform that can run a VMware View Client including PCs, Macs, iPad and Android tablets.

Performance will vary based on broadband connection speeds and device capability.

Where can I learn more about virtual desktop technology?

For more information about Virtual Desktop technology, you can visit the VMware FAQ page.

How to

How can I get access to a virtual desktop?

The VDI environment is available as a service provided by
OIT. Several departments have partnered with OIT to manage
their own virtual desktop environments. For example, the 
Russ College of Engineering manages their Virtual Desktop
environment to provide virtual lab machines. Typically,
these virtual machine "seats" are allocated to students at
the beginning of the quarter/semester. Contact your local
IT administrator if you are a member of one of these departments.

If you would like to deploy virtual desktop in your environment, students can discuss the need for a VDI resource with their faculty or departmental IT Administrator. If an existing Virtual Desktop resource exists, the Faculty member or Administrator can give the student access. If a new Virtual Desktop resource is required, Faculty and IT administrators can submit a request with the OIT HelpDesk (740-593-1222).  

How do I use a locally attached USB device with virtual desktop?

In most cases, virtual desktop can access a USB device which
is installed on your local computer;

  • At the top of the VMware View client window, select the 
    "Connect USB device" option.
  • You will see a list of the installed USB devices. Select the 
    desired device.
  • The USB device must be fully installed on the local 
    computer before the VMware View client will be able to access it.
  • USB Webcams are not supported at this time.  


How do I install the client for my platform?

If you want to run the View Client from a Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android, you can go to the Installation Instructions page and follow the install instructions for your platform.

What are the minimum system requirements for running the View Client?

Minimum requirements for running the VMware View client

The following Operating Systems are supported (32-bit or 64-bit):

  1. Windows 7
  2. Windows XP SP3
  3. Mac OS X Leopard

CPU speed: 1.3 GHz or faster

Disk space: 16GB free

Memory: 3GB installed for Windows 7, (2GB - Windows XP or OS X) 

How can I tell if I have 32 bit or 64 bit Windows?

To find out if your computer is running a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows:

Windows 7 or Windows Vista, do the following:

  1. Open System by clicking the Start button , right-clicking Computer, and then clicking Properties.
  2. Under System, you can view the system type.

If your computer is running Windows XP, do the following:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
  3. If you don't see "x64 Edition" listed, then you're running the 32-bit version of Windows XP.
  4. If "x64 Edition" is listed under System, you're running the 64-bit version of Windows XP.