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Library & ITS Wiki

Library & ITS Wiki

Using the Virtual Computer Labs

Contents

Overview

Middlebury College has made available a number of virtual computers that allow students, faculty and staff to access a variety of licensed software, providing comparable functionality to a desktop computer. This pool of virtual computers is known as the virtual computer lab or virtual classroom.

These virtual computers are available via:

  • thin-client devices found in various labs and libraries
  • remote connections using the VMware Horizon Client application on personal computers.

This article will guide you through accessing the virtual environment from Middlebury's wired or secure wireless networks. To access the virtual classroom from off-campus, you will need to first establish a VPN connection, then follow the instructions below.

Software Availability & General Virtual Lab Access

  • The virtual lab computers run Windows 7 Pro. Software available on the virtual lab changes every semester depending on course needs. Refer to the table on go/software?public for the most up-to-date list of installed software.
  • The virtual lab computers are available 24/7, with the exception of Sundays from 3AM - 10AM and the last weekend of the year. During these times ITS may perform scheduled maintenance.


Requirements

For teaching a course with the virtual lab

  • A classroom with wired or wireless networking. 
  • Students should bring their laptops to class – a one-time, quick software installation is needed (described below). Students can perform the installation in any location that has a network connection.
  • If a student does not have a laptop the Helpdesk can secure a computer in the classroom for that purpose for the semester. 

For accessing the virtual lab

Students, faculty, and staff can access the virtual environment from any computer, including personal and student computers, as long as it fulfills these requirements:

  • You need administrative access to the computer you will use so you can run the one-time installation of VMware Horizon Client software.
  • It must run Windows XP or later OR Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) or later. (Linux is not officially supported. See Linux Information.)
  • When you are on-campus, you need to use a wired Ethernet connection OR either of these wireless networks: midd_secure, Midd_standard.
  • For off-campus access, you will need to first establish a VPN connection. You can find instructions on setting up VPN at VPN Setup Instructions.


Install VMware Horizon Client - on a PC

The virtual lab requires some software to be installed on your computer. You only need to run this installation once. (Instructions are valid for Windows 7 and 8.1. - updated 10/14/14.)

  1. One-Time Installation: Visit go.middlebury.edu/virtual then click the software download link provided.
    • Click Go to Downloads beside the desired version of WMware Horizon Client for Windows, then click Download to obtain the installer.
  2. Double-click to launch the installer then follow the on-screen instructions, accepting defaults unless otherwise instructed here:
    • When prompted to enter a default server name, enter vdm.middlebury.edu
    • From Configure Shortcuts: Choose to install a shortcut on the desktop or the Start menu (or both).
    • You should restart your computer when prompted.
  3. After the installation, launch the VMware Horizon Client software by double-clicking your desktop icon or by selecting it from All Programs.
  4. Double-click the vdm.middlebury.edu icon. If prompted, log in with your Middlebury username and password.
  5. Double-click the Virtual Computer Classroom icon. This will connect you to an available computer that has the software needed for your course.
    • Connecting to the computer may take a minute; please be patient.
  6. To access the installed software click Start => Programs.
    • Note that any files saved to the virtual computer will be deleted when you log off. Please remember to save all work to MiddFiles or your Class folder (See: Using MiddFiles).
  7. When you are done using the virtual lab, please choose the Log Off option from the Start menu.

How to Use the Virtual Lab (on PCs)

After you have completed the steps above once to install the VMware Horizon Client software, accessing the virtual computer lab is simple:

  1. Launch the VMware Horizon Client software by double-clicking your desktop icon or by selecting it from All Programs
  2. Double-click the vdm.middlebury.edu icon.
  3. Double-click to select Virtual Computer Classroom.
  4. Choose Log Off from the Start menu when you are done working.

Note that any files saved to the virtual computer will be deleted when you log off. Please be sure to save all work to MiddFiles.


Install VMware Horizon Client - on a Mac

The virtual lab requires some software to be installed on your computer. You only need to run this installation once. If you have already installed the VMware Horizon Client software, see How to Use the Virtual Lab (on Macs).

  1. One-Time Installation: Visit go.middlebury.edu/virtual then click the software download link provided.
    • Click Go to Downloads beside VMware Horizon Client for Mac, then click Download to obtain the installer.
  2. Double-click to launch the installer file, then follow the on-screen instructions:
    • Accept the license agreement.
    • Drag the VMware Horizon Client icon to the Applications folder as directed, then close the window.
    • Open your Applications folder then drag the VMware Horizon Client icon to your Dock.
  3. Click the VMware Horizon Client icon on your Dock to launch the program.
    • If you receive the message 'VMware Horizon Client.app is an application downloaded from the Internet. Are you sure you want to open it?', click Open.
    • Click Continue to Start remote desktop USB and Printing services, then provide your computer's administrator password when prompted. It will take a minute or so before the next window appears; please be patient.
  4. Click the New Server icon, type in vdm.middlebury.edu for the name of the Connection Server, then click Connect.
  5. Provide your Middlebury College username and password when prompted, then click Login.
  6. Double-click on the Virtual Computer Classroom icon. This will connect you to a computer that has the software for your course.
    • Connecting to the computer may take a minute; please be patient.
  7. To access the installed software, click the Windows orb (Start) in lower left corner, then click All Programs.
    • Note that any files saved to the virtual computer will be deleted when you log off. Please remember to save all work to MiddFiles or your Class folder (See: Using MiddFiles).
  8. When you are done using the virtual lab, please click the Windows orb (Start) in lower left corner then click the Log Off button.


How to Use the Virtual Lab (on Macs)

After you have completed the steps above once to install the VMware Horizon Client software, accessing the virtual computer lab is simple:

  1. Click the VMware Horizon Client software icon on your Dock to launch the program.
  2. Double-click the vdm.middlebury.edu icon.
  3. Provide your Middlebury College username and password when prompted, then click Login.
  4. Double-click to select Virtual Computer Classroom.
  5. Choose Log Off from the Start menu when you are done working.

Note that any files saved to the virtual computer will be deleted when you log off. Please be sure to save all work to MiddFiles.


Accessing the Virtual Lab - Linux Information


Linux is not officially supported by Middlebury College. If you wish to pursue the possibility of accessing the virtual environment on Linux, refer to How to get the Horizon (with View) Client for Linux.

  • Once installed, open the Horizon (with View) Client and use vdm.middlebury.edu for the server.


Getting Assistance and Troubleshooting

Some tips:

  • You must have a working internet connection to access the virtual environment.
  • You can always call, email or visit the Helpdesk.

Common Issues

  1. You cannot reach go.middlebury.edu/virtual (you receive a 404 error or a time out error).
    Solution
    : Ensure that you have a working internet connection. If you are off-campus, see Using the Virtual Computer Labs Off-Campus.
  2. You cannot login with your username and password at go.middlebury.edu/virtual
    Solution: Ensure that you are using your Exchange/Email username and password. This is the same username and password that you would use to login to your MIIS/Middlebury email account. For assistance with determining your username and password you should contact the Helpdesk at Middlebury or the Helpdesk at Monterey.
  3. You have Windows 7 and the Vmware View Client doesn't work (gives the error "View Client cannot connect to Connection Server").
    Solution: Remove the VMware View Client from Add/Remove programs and visit go.middlebury.edu/virtual. This will update your VMware View software. 
  4. You double-click on the Virtual Computer Classroom icon but nothing happens.
    Solution
    : Wait a few seconds and try clicking again. The server may be busy processing the request from a classmate.
  5. You don't see the Virtual Computer Classroom as an option or cannot find the applications for your course in the virtual lab computer.
    Solution: The applications should be accessed by clicking on Start (lower left corner of the screen) => Programs => Applications (see this picture for an example). See go/software to determine if the application you are looking for is meant to be in the Virtual Classroom. If the software page confirms that the application is supposed to be there, but you still cannot find the applications, it is likely that you you are connected to a virtual computer outside the Virtual Computer Classroom. To resolve this, visit  go/virtual and ensure you are selecting the Virtual Computer Classroom (there may be other options in the list, please click on the Virtual Computer Classroom). If you cannot see the Virtual Computer Classroom but you see other virtual labs, please contact the Middlebury College Helpdesk via email or phone: go.middlebury.edu/helpdesk
  6. How do I transfer a file from the virtual lab to my computer?
    Solution 1: You can save it to your home folder on MiddFiles or your course folder on MiddFiles. Any file saved to your home or course folder is accessible from the web, through NetStorage.
    Solution 2: You can email the file to yourself.
  7. How do I transfer a file from my computer to the virtual lab?
    Solution 1: You can save it to your home folder on MiddFiles or your course folder on MiddFiles through NetStorage. Any file saved to your home or course folder is accessible from the virtual lab, through MiddFiles.
    Solution 2: You can email the file to yourself.

Known Limitations

  1. No access to the CD/DVD-ROM drive. A CD or DVD that you insert into your computer will not play in the virtual lab.
    Workaround: If the contents of the disc are needed for coursework, the files from the CD can be copied into your classes folder.
  2. No access to external USB devices. A USB device, such as flash drive inserted in your computer will not be visible in the virtual lab.
    Solution for PCs: A separate installation program is available that can enable you to share USB devices with the virtual lab. The installation is available at http://go.middlebury.edu/files under Software => Software-Windows => Install on your PC => vmware. Download and run the file named vmware-viewclient-xxxxx.exe. After installation you can connect to the virtual lab from the Start Menu => Programs => Vmware => Vmware View. 
    Solution for Macs: If the contents of the USB drive are needed for coursework, the files can be copied into your classes folder or home folder.
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