Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

1. Where can I get help and support using VCL?

In-person VCL support is available in Hurst Hall room 203 during following hours:

  • Monday - Thursday 9:30 am-8 pm
  • Friday 9:30 am-7 pm
  • Saturday 12 pm-7 pm

Support is also available via e-mail: vcl@american.edu, telephone: (202) 885-3862, chat room or Skype: ctrl_research.

2. Do I need to install anything on my computer to use the VCL?

There are two ways to get access to virtual desktops: with a locally installed client or through your computer's browser. 

The desktop client provides a faster and more stable virtual desktop experience. See the download and configuration instructions.

For anywhere/anytime connection through your browser visit the VCL Login Page. To log in to virtual desktop we recommend you use Google Chrome or Safari as these do not require any configuration. Internet Explorer and Firefox are not recommended.

3. I can't log in, I get the error that server is not available.

If you are using the client un-check "Enable Enhanced RDP Compression and Acceleration" on the second screen that pops up - after putting in your username and password, this is the screen where you choose the pool and click on "Connect".

VCL Desktop Pools

4. Where should I save my files when connected to VCL?

If you need to save any files, please save to a flash drive or your network G:\drive. Your network drives (G:\, J:\) are mapped and accessible under "My Computer" on the virtual desktop. Note: You can save, read and edit your own files on your private network G:\ drive. You can only read saved files by your professor form the shared J:\ drive. For more information on network drives visit the following site: http://www.american.edu/oit/network/AU-Network-Drives.cfm 

5. I don't have G: drive on my virtual computer? 

Check student has G:drive access on our physical labs and on mynet.american.edu. More than likely they will not have it in which case they should contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, email helpdesk@american.edu, or IM AskAmericanUHelp if you do not have access to your drives or if you have any questions on network drive access. 

6. How can I configure the client browser window? 

All instructions available here.

7. What rights do I have on the VCL machine?

On the AU Virtual lab machine you have user level rights. In other words, the same permissions as you have on desktops at other walk-in computer labs on campus. You can use the installed software but the VCL system will reload with clear environment after log-off. Any work saved on the virtual desktop will be deleted upon log-off and any residual data will be wiped off for the next user.

8. Where can I access VCL from?

You can use VCL from your dorm room, off-campus (your apartment), on campus, so long as you have a stable internet connection.

9. Can I reconnect to the same computer if I accidentally closed the browser?

No. The pop-up window will appear if you accidentally close your browser window, reminding you that “Leaving this page will disconnect Ericom AccessNow”, if you do not want to be logged-off click on “Stay on this Page”.

10. Is there a time limit on the VCL?

Yes. Due to licensing, we have restricted idle time in an application to 60 minutes. This means that if you have an application open but aren’t active in that window 61 minutes, your session will be concluded. Any unsaved work will be lost!

11. What are the system requirements for connecting?

There are no system requirements for connecting, however the better your Internet bandwidth connectivity the better your experience will be with the remote desktop.

12. Where should I save my files when connected to VCL?

If you need to save any files, please save to a flash drive or your network G:\drive. Your network drives (G:\, J:\) are mapped and accessible under “My Computer” on the virtual desktop. Note: You can save, read and edit your own files on your private network G:\ drive. You can only read saved files by your professor form the shared J:\ drive.

For more information on network drives visit the following site:
http://www.american.edu/oit/network/AU-Network-Drives.cfm 

Please contact the IT Help Desk at 202-885-2550, email helpdesk@american.edu, or IM AskAmericanUHelp if you do not have access to your drives or if you have any questions on network drive access.

Alternatively, you could download and copy files to your local machine by using the two icons buttons in the top right corner of the virtual desktop.

Clicking on the first icon from the left will enable copying text, pictures, documents, etc. to your local machine. Clicking on the second icon (with an arrow pointing down) will allow you to download from virtual machine to your local.

13. How do I transfer files between my computer and the VCL machine?

See “Where should I save my files when connected to VCL” for a detailed explanation.

14. How to print from a remote VCL computer?

Printing within VCL off campus can be difficult. To work around this with browser access, we recommend you use CutePDF which will show up as a virtual printer and is selectable as a printer within the windows applications. This will print the output to a pdf which you can then copy to your local machine and print as you normally do. With client access, see configuration instructions on how to map your printer drives in advanced settings.

15. What happens if I leave my work on the VCL machine?

Each remote desktop is reloaded after you log off or shut down your browser. Therefore, any work left on the server is erased or lost. Make sure to save your work to the network drive (G: drive), a thumb drive, or your local computer.

16. Applications accessed via VCL are running very slowly

VCL employs network intensive technologies to provide remote access to applications. Connection and configuration issues may slow down your network connection speed. If the problem is persistent and you believe that your bandwidth speed is above 1Mbit please contact helpdesk@american.edu to discuss this issue further.

 

Suggestions and feedback are encouraged!

General feedback, requests for changes, and application recommendations for inclusion in future releases of the VCL are welcomed. Please send an email to vcl@american.edu . All submissions will be reviewed. Approved application requests and environment changes must be thoroughly tested before they can be released.

To ensure this electronic software product meets accessibility standards, we are currently undergoing 508 compliance testing. If you have any feedback, question or concerns regarding accessibility of this product, please contact Kamran Rasul, Assistive Technology Specialist, at 202-885-3407 or by email rasul@american.edu.