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IT Services, Information Technology Services


Remote Computing FAQ

What is remote computing?

The remote computing system, which runs VMware Horizon View software, provides desktop computers that are virtualized and stored on centrally managed servers run by the Office of Information Technology. Users connect to a virtual desktop system via a connection broker, which then distributes user connections to the appropriate centrally managed virtual machine. All settings, programs and data are stored within each machine so users can get the same consistent working environment on virtual desktops -- regardless of where they are connecting from or what client device they are using.

Which devices can support remote computing connections?

Remote desktops can be run on a number of different computing platforms, including but not limited to: zero clients, thin clients, Apple iPads/iPhones, Android, smart phones, and desktop systems (Windows and Macintosh) that have a compatible web browser. Compatible web browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and others. Most any device that can connect to the internet can facilitate a remote computing system.

What is a thin/zero client?

A thin/zero client is a low-cost, centrally-managed computer devoid of CD-ROM players, diskette drives, and expansion slots. This device connects to a centrally managed system (a farm of servers) where the desktop operating system resides. The thin client presents the centrally managed system to the end user. Thin clients use much less power and resources than traditional desktop computing systems (thin clients use roughly 7 watts of power, while traditional systems use almost 200 watts!). Thin clients have no moving parts, so they will typically have a longer life cycle than a traditional desktop system.

Which thin clients are recommended by OIT for our Remote Computing system?

The OIT department has done extensive testing with thin client devices. We are recommending the Dell WYSE P25 as it is the most cost effective and easy to use unit. The Dell Wyse P25 is currently about $250 to purchase without a monitor and has wireless capability.

What software is installed on the Remote Computing images?

The remote computing systems support a wide variety of software applications. The default suite of installed software includes: Microsoft Office 2013 (Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, Access, Excel, OneNote, InfoPath), McAfee Anti-Virus Software, Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat Reader and Acrobat XI (to licensed users), Java client and many others.  If additional software packages are necessary to meet the requirements of you or your department, please contact OIT and we will research/investigate your request.

What is a non-persistent desktop system?

Non persistent desktop systems are designed for temporary use, giving the user access to campus computing resources such as email, file shares, applications and printing. A good example of this use case is a computer lab or our Complimentary Desktop offer.  Customizations made to the operating system are not saved when using non persistent desktop systems. Files cannot be saved to the C:\ drive of the system and will not be retained. When using non persistent desktop systems, users need to make sure that they save all files to their personal network drive (typically the H:\ drive or a USB flash drive). Additionally, they need to remember that any settings they change will not appear the next time they login or access the system.  Users can access these systems from on or off campus.

What is a persistent desktop system?

Persistent desktop systems are designed to replace physical desktop systems, giving the user access to campus computing resources such as email, file shares, applications and printing. Users can access these systems from on or off campus. Customizations made to the operating system are saved when using persistent desktop systems. When users log in and change settings, they will be retained upon the next login. OIT recommends that all users using either a persistent or non persistent desktop system save all files to their H:\ drive or OneDrive for Business.

Can I install software on the Remote Computing images?

No. The Office of Information Technology manages all software deployments on Remote Computing images. If you have a specific software request, please request it through the Office of Information Technology.

Is Remote Computing secure?

Yes. The remote computing system uses 128 bit TLS connections for users accessing these systems from off our network.   This is the same level of encryption that is used for banking transactions and other secure applications on the internet.

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