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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get help about 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: noon - 7 pm
Support is also available via e-mail: vcl@american.edu, telephone: (202) 885-3862, chat room or Skype: ctrl_research.

 

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

For the best experience, you should install the desktop client. It is available for Windows, OS X, and Linux, as well as Android and iOS mobile devices.

If you are unable to install the client or you want to access the virtual desktops without installing any software, you can access the system through your web browser (see connection instructions). This connection method provides the exact same virtual desktop as through the client, but you are unable to access your local hard drives or USB devices. All work must be saved to network drives or cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)

 

How do I install and configure the VCL client?

See configuration instructions.


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 local hard drive. Any network drives that you have access to (i.e, J drive) are mapped and accessible under "My Computer" on the virtual desktop. You can only read saved files by your professor form the shared J:\ drive. See more information on AU network drives.

Also, you can use cloud storage options such as Google Drive or Dropbox to save your work.


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.


Where can I access VCL from?

You can access the VCL system from either on or off campus, as long as you have a reliable internet connection.

 

Is there a time limit on use of the VCL?

Due to licensing, we have restricted desktop idle time to 60 minutes. This means that if you are connected to a virtual desktop but remain idle for more than 60 minutes, your desktop will be rebooted to allow other users access. Please be aware that any unsaved work will be lost upon reboot.

 

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.


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

If using the VCL client, you can configure it to access your local hard drives and USB devices. See the configuration instructions.

If using the web browser access, you will be unable to see your local hard drives or USB devices, so you should save all work to mapped network drives or cloud storage (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.).


How do I print from a VCL desktop?

The AU pay-for-print system is available on all VCL desktops. Just send your documents to the printer named "AU Printers" and pick them up at one of the many printer stations throughout campus. Documents sent to the printing system are stored for two hours, so be sure to release them to a printer before that time or they will be deleted.


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 a USB drive, your local hard drive, or a cloud storage system (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.).


Why do applications on VCL desktops sometimes run 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 1Mb/sec 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 VCL support at vcl@american.edu.