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Remote access to applications via Virtual Desktops

WBS provides a limited number of virtual Windows desktops. These might be of use to you in the following situations:

  1. You have a non-Windows computers (say an Apple Mac) and you need access for your course to a Windows-only software application. A virtual desktop will give you a 'virtual' Windows machine that you can connect to from your Mac to run this particular software
  2. You need access to some software for your course that is available at WBS but you are unable to visit campus. Please note that not all software licences allow this so there may still be more software available at WBS than we can provide via these Virtual Desktops.

Overview:

If you have ever used 'Remote Desktop' then you'll soon understand Virtual Desktops. You install a small client application on your personal computer (say an Apple Mac) and use this to connect to one of our Virtual Desktops at WBS. Once connected you use your own screen, keyboard and mouse/trackpad to control the Windows computer. You can install software onto that Windows computer and use it in a similar way to a regular desktop.

Limitations:

  • Virtual desktops tend to be slower than real computers ... if you can you will likely prefer to use a real Windows machine or set up a Windows virtual machine on your Mac using something like VMware Fusion (available for free to support your study: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/its/servicessupport/software/list/vmap ). If you are stuck however, or do not feel able to configure the virtual machine yourself then these Virtual Desktops should allow you to continue to study.
  • Do not save any work on the virtual desktop... it will be lost but may also be viewable by others for a period. When you log in you will see your private H drive. You may save the work on your H drive but you are likely best to send any files you create to yourself via email or similar. It is your responsibility to tidy up your files and to log out of any browser windows before closing the connection.
  • There are a limited number of virtual desktops. During busy times you may not be able to get access to a device. If you this happens occasionally then please try again later. If this happens regularly however please let us know ( help at wbs dot ac dot uk ) and we'll consider increasing the number of virtual desktops available.
  • In short - virtual desktops can be helpful but are should be considered a last resort to support your studies when no other option is available. Where you have another option (e.g. get a Windows machine, borrow a device or use a virtual machine on your Mac) then you are likely better to go with that option.

Setup:

These example show the installation of the client onto an Apple Mac and then using this to connect to one of our Windows Virtual Desktop. These instructions are similar however for other personal devices such as iPads (install the VMware Horizon client from the App Store) and personal Windows devices.

  1. Use your favourite search engine to search for 'vmware horizon client' . From the results ensure you choose one from the vmware.com domain. At the time of writing the link is as below but this could change in the future
    https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/info/slug/desktop_end_user_computing/vmware_horizon_clients/3_0
  2. Choose the relevant client for your personal computer. In this example we are setting up on an Apple Mac so we follow the option highlighted.

    Choose the correct client for your personal computer
  3. Install the client software in the usual way you would do for your device. Once completed start the 'VMware Horizon' client.
  4. Click 'New Server' and enter the address 'unicorn.wbs.ac.uk' without the quotes. Click Connect

    Create a new server connection

  5. Enter your WBS username (this will be mainly letters with a couple of numbers in the centre to show the year you started your course... something like MM10XX - if you do not have a WBS username, and not all WBS students do, then please contact us help at wbs dot ac dot uk ) and the associated password and click Connect.

    Enter your WBS (not IT Services) username

  6. Assuming you can connect successfully then you will see any 'pools' of machines to which you have been granted access. Don't worry if the pools you see are different to the image below provided you can see the 'General' pool. Double-click on that to connect

    Double click the General pool

  7. You should now be logged in to a Windows device that you can use as though you were at WBS. To install software use the 'Run Advertised Programs' link on the desktop. This will bring up a list of all the software you can install. In this case we are installing the Decision Tools Suite (select the software from the list and click the Run option).

    Use the Run Advertised Programs service to install applications

  8. When you have finished ensure you send yourself any files you wish to keep (e.g. via email). You can save files on the H drive but do not save any work on the computer as it will get lost but may also be viewable by others. Log out of any Internet services (e.g. email) that you might have been using. When you are finally ready to close the session log off as normal