What is a Virtual Computer Lab?
A Virtual Computer Lab is a Windows computer desktop that will display on your screen and give you access to applications that you would typically use in an on-campus Notre Dame computer lab. You can access the virtual environment from any computer (Chromebook, Macs, Windows) and from any browser window. There are no minimum hardware requirements, and a VPN is not required. This desktop is for your individual use and is not shared with other students. However, it is only available when you are actively using it (i.e., you cannot always logout and return to the same virtual computer at a later time).
Can I work offline rather than be connected?
Your computer will need an internet connection in order to use a Virtual Computer Lab. To support your use of applications offline, OIT has made many software titles are available at the OIT Software Downloads page. The downloads page offers installers for iOS, Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Unix operating systems. To use software that isn't available for download, you will need to use a Virtual Computer Lab.
Where do I save my files while working in the Virtual Computer Lab?
All files must be saved to online file storage or they will be deleted. For instructions on connecting Google Drive, see these instructions.
If you are working with very large files or experiencing unworkable slowness, you may use the Temporary Files space on your virtual computer and upload your files before ending the session. Any files that are not uploaded will be lost. For more information on working with the Temporary Files space, see this article.
What software is available on a Virtual Computer Lab?
For a complete listing of available software, see this article.
What is not available on a Virtual Computer Lab?
- We are not currently able to provide virtual operating systems other than Windows.
- Even if you are using a Virtual Computer Lab from the Notre Dame campus, you will not be able to print to campus print stations.
- Students needing access to the following software titles will receive additional communication from their professor or departmental IT group regarding access to those applications.
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Microsoft Office Suite (with the exception of Excel)
- Due to licensing restrictions Microsoft Office products and the Adobe Creative Cloud are unavailable in the Virtual Computer Lab environment. Students are encouraged to install Office 365 on to their machines and can do so by following the directions in this knowledge article.
Important considerations when using a Virtual Computer Lab
- A Virtual Computer Lab will most often be available for your use within 2 minutes of your request. However, please allow up to 15 minutes for time-sensitive needs. If you need a Virtual Computer Lab by a particular time (for example, for the start of a class), we recommend you initiate the session 15 minutes prior to the time you need it.
- You will be logged out of your Virtual Computer Lab after an extended period of inactivity.
- Just as in a normal computer lab environment, when you log off, or are logged off your Virtual Computer Lab, any files you have stored on the computer will be deleted. Please consider saving files to Google Drive or another online file sharing system.
- If you lose your internet connection while connected to a Virtual Computer Lab you will be able to reconnect to the same virtual lab within a set period of time. For advice on improving your internet connection, see this article.
- If you are a regular user of the AWS Console (most users are not), you will need to start your Virtual Computer Lab session from an incognito window so that you are provisioned the correct AWS roles.
How to access the Virtual Computer Lab
A Virtual Computer Lab will be created for you within minutes of your request. See this article for instructions on how to access a Virtual Computer Lab.
Engineering and Science Students
Your computing team has developed some expanded instructions for your usage of Virtual Computer Labs. Please find that information on this webpage.