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IT Services, Information Technology Services


Remote Computing FAQ

What is remote computing?

The remote computing system, which runs Citrix’s Xen Desktop software, provides desktop computers that are virtualized and stored on centrally managed servers run by IT Services. 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 thin clients, Apple iPads/iPhones, 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 client?

A thin 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 typically 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 IT Services for our Remote Computing system?

The IT Services department has done extensive testing with thin client devices. We are recommending the WYSE Xenith as it is the most cost effective and easy to use unit. The Xenith is currently about $330 to purchase without a monitor and has wireless capability.

What software is installed on the Remote Computing images? Which Operating systems are supported?

Windows 7 is the only supported operating systems. The software configurations are the same on both Windows XP and Windows 7 systems. The suite of installed software includes: Microsoft Office 2007 (Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, Access, Excel, OneNote, InfoPath), McAfee Anti-Virus Software, Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Java client, CallXpress unified messaging client.

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. Users can access these systems from on or off campus. Customizations made to the operating system are not saved when using non persistent desktop systems. Files saved to the C:\ of the system will not be retained. When using non persistent desktop systems, users need to make sure that they save all files to their H:\. Additionally, they need to remember that any settings they change will not appear the next time they login or access the system.

What is a persistent desktop system?

Persistent desktop systems are designed for short or long term use, giving the user access to campus computing resources such as email, file shares, applications and printing. These desktops are suitable for desktop replacement. 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. IT Services recommends that all users using either a persistent or non persistent desktop system save all files to their H:\ drive.

Can I install software on the Remote Computing images?

No. IT Services manages all software deployments on Remote Computing images.

If I make changes to the system, will the changes be saved the next time I login?

There are 2 types of Remote Computing systems available from IT Services:

The first type, called “non persistent” desktops, is for users who need temporary access to campus computing resources. These systems will reset all changes the user makes when they log off.

The second type, called “persistent” desktops, will save changes users make to the desktop system. These systems will be used for end user desktop replacements and will save changes that users make.

Is Remote Computing secure?

Yes. The remote computing system uses 128 bit SSL 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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