You are here: Virtual Computing Lab - How to Connect

Connection Options

For a faster and more stable experience, we recommend installing the desktop client. It supports Windows, OS X, and Linux as well as Android and iOS mobile devices.

Alternatively, you can connect to a virtual desktop through your web browser, without the need to download or install a client. This method provides the exact same desktop experience as the client, but you will not be able to access your local hard drives or USB devices. All work must be saved to network drives or cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.). This method is the best route if you're connecting from a public computer or a workstation that doesn't allow you to install a client.

Using the virtual desktop

Our AU virtual lab consists of 175 virtual desktops (list of available software).

Please note that you should not save anything to the desktop or anywhere else on the virtual computer. The files you save will be discarded upon logout as the virtual desktop gets rebuilt for the next user. If you need to save any files, please save to your Google Drive or your local computer drive, accessible under "My Computer" on the virtual desktop.

(Note: You will have access to your AU network drives, such as the J:\CLASSES drive.)

More information on accessing network drives

Please contact the Help Desk at (202) 885-2550, email, or IM AskAmericanUHelp if you have any questions regarding network drive access.

Alternatively, you can copy and paste files between your local machine and the virtual desktop by using the keyboard shortcuts for your respective operating system (Windows: CTRL+C and V, OS X: COMMAND+C and V).

Please remember to log out of the virtual desktop when you are done using it (Start --> Shutdown --> Log off). Do not simply close the browser window, or you will stay logged in to the desktop thereby making it unavailable to other users.

Accessibility Standards

To ensure this electronic software product meets accessibility standards, we are currently undergoing 508 compliance testing. If you have any feedback, questions, or concerns regarding accessibility of this product, please contact VCL Support at

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 Approved application requests and environment changes must be thoroughly tested before they can be released.

Need Help?

VCL Support is available at the Research Applications and Methods Center, Room 5 in the Library

Sun - Thurs: 11 am - 9 pm


Phone: 202.885.3862