Information Technology Services - nav image

Virtual Desktop

Virtual Desktop is a remote desktop solution available to all HLS Faculty and Staff users from any computer with internet access.  Logging onto Virtual Desktop will allow HLS users access to all the HLS applications and network data they would have from their office computer. 

Virtual Desktop is accessible through a program known as Remote Desktop Connection that comes standard with Windows-based computers and is available download on Macintosh computers.  The connection is encrypted and provides a secure way for users to work from anywhere. 

Virtual Desktop does not require logging into the VPN, and provides greater access to the network applications needed to effectively work remotely.

There are multiple reasons why users will want to use Virtual Desktop:

  • When working remotely
  • When your primary work computer is being serviced by ITS and you are working on a loaner computer
  • Access to an application that you do not have installed on your primary computer
  • When needing a Windows-based application that does not work on a Macintosh, such as EMS or Crystal Reports

When you log into Virtual Desktop, you will only have access to the network resources and applications that you have rights to. You will not see any applications that you do not have permissions to.

Please note: not all the applications used at HLS are available on Virtual Desktop.  If you need access to an application that is not on Virtual Desktop, please have your manager contact the Help Desk to discuss.

Important Notes about Using Virtual Desktop:

  • When using Virtual Desktop to create or edit documents, you must save this data on a network drive (H, R, S, etc.), and not on the local drive such as the C drive or the local desktop directory. Your session on Virtual Desktop is erased every time you log off; data saved locally on Virtual Desktop will not be recoverable after you log off.
  • There is an automatic log off feature that will terminate your session after 60 minutes of inactivity.
  • When you are finished with a session, go to the Start Menu and click on the small arrow on the right and choose “Log Off.”

Requirements for Using Virtual Desktop:

  • You will need to have a valid HLS Active Directory account to log into virtual desktop. This is the same username and password you use to login into your computer at HLS.
  • Access to Remote Desktop Connection software. Software comes standard with Windows-based operating systems and is readily available for Macintosh computers.

What You Can See on the Network Using Virtual Desktop:

When using Virtual Desktop, you can see the same network drives that you can see on your office computer. To see available drives and access them, please go to Start -> Computer.

Adding Printers When Using Virtual Desktop:

Because of security concerns, you can only print to a network printer on the HLS Campus. If you want to print, you will first need to connect a printer. To do this:

1.  Click on the Start menu, choose All Programs and then Printers
2. Click the folder for the building where the printer resides
3. Click on any printer you wish to add and it will be added

When you go to print from a document, make sure the printer you’ve added is selected in the drop down, as you can have several added. Printers will be uninstalled upon logout.

Instructions on how to use Virtual Desktop on a PC

Instructions on how to use Virtual Desktop on a Mac

Remote Desktop for Mac Download

Last modified: July 29, 2014

© 2015 The President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.