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Virtual Lab Access and Navigation Instructions

Learning to access and navigate the Virtual Lab.


Some UWEX programs use the Virtual Lab Infrastructure to create a secure connection between your computer and a virtual Windows desktop in which your program software is installed. This infrastructure uses a non-persistent environment, similar to an in-person computer lab. You will need to install the VMWare Horizon Client to access and use a virtual lab for class assignments and projects that require specialized software applications.

This series of documents contains five important sections of information for students:

  • Virtual Lab System Requirements (Part A
  • Accessing the Virtual Lab and How to Get Help (Part B
  • Virtual Lab Installation Instructions (Part C) (Macs click here)
  • Virtual Lab Access and Navigation Instructions (Part D) (This page)
  • How to Save Work Safely in the Virtual Lab (Part E(Macs click here)

D. Virtual Lab Access and Navigation Instructions

After the initial installation, you can access the Virtual Desktop from the client on your machine and will not have to go through the installation process.

Before using the Virtual Desktop please note the following regarding student use:

  • Do NOT store any data on the Virtual Desktop. Please use an external storage device (flash drive, external hard-drive, etc.) in order to store course files.
  • If your Virtual Desktop becomes corrupt, everything will be deleted, and the desktop will be restored to the initial setup.
  • Saving your work will require you to save to an external hard drive, your local hard drive, or a USB drive. See the next instructions (Part E) for details.
  • There is a 3-hour inactive time-out in place. If you are inactive in a session for three hours, your session will time out and you will lose any unsaved work.
  • You will see a new, clean desktop each time you log in. Items saved on the desktop will not roll over onto a new session.
  1. You can access the VMware Horizon Client from a desktop icon or from your start menu.

    • If you selected Desktop, look for the VMware Horizon icon, and double-click on it.

      icon
  2. The first time you launch VMware Horizon Client, you will have to add the UW-Extension server. Click on "+ New Server", or double-click on the "Add Server" icon.

    • Type virtuallab.wisconsin.edu into the "Enter the name of the connection server" field, and then click "Connect".

    add server  add server
    1. After you have completed the initial login attempt, the client will save the server. On subsequent attempts, a cloud icon will appear with the server connection (virtuallab.wisconsin.edu) below it. Double-click on this "cloud" icon.

      cloud icon
  3. Next, you will provide your user credentials in order to enter into the virtual desktop environment. Your Virtual Desktop Username and Password were provided to you in the "Online Course Access Information" email from datascience@uwex.edu or appliedcomputing@uwex.edu at the start of the preview week. (These are provided to you in your welcome letter).

    • Enter your User Credentials (User name and Password).
    • Select "VIRTUALLAB" as the Domain.
    • Click "Login".

    login
  4. Your Virtual Lab will now appear as an icon within the VMware Horizon Client. Double-click on the "Monitor" icon. After this, you will see a status message informing you that the Virtual Desktop is being prepared.

    Please note that the first time or few that you log into the Virtual Lab, you may need to wait for your account to be provisioned. This usually takes fewer than five minutes.

    connect personal    loading image
  5. The Virtual Lab will feel similar to a normal desktop.

    In order to enter into a program, click on the "Windows flag" in the lower left-hand corner. A list of commonly used applications for your program will appear. The below example is for Applied Computing.

  6. Start menu
  7. Connecting the Virtual Desktop with your local machine

    • When you first log into your virtual desktop, you may be asked if you would like to access your local files when using remote desktops and applications. Clicking "Allow" will allow you to easily transfer files created in the virtual desktop on to your local machine without the use of a USB drive or cloud storage.

    • allow local access
    • If you click "Deny" and you would like to access local files later, that is no problem. Simply jump to Step 7.

    • In order to access your local drive start by clicking on the folder icon in the bottom left corner of the screen (1# in the image below). Then click "Network Drive (Z:) (#2 in the image below) to open access points on your machine.

    Folder Icon
  8. The Virtual Desktop toolbar is located at the top of the screen, and allows you to perform several actions. The following are example uses of the toolbar:

    toolbar 
    • If you do not see this toolbar displaying, find the thin blue/grey line at the top of your screen and hover over it. The toolbar should then display. You can pin it to the screen by clicking the pushpin icon on the left side of the bar.

    • Clicking on the "Options" drop-down arrow displays the options menu which contains the following: how to access help information; information regarding the client and disconnecting from the virtual desktop.

      Options Menu
    • As mentioned earlier, you can access your local files from here. Simply select "Share Folders," and then click "Share your local files" in the next box, and click "Apply." Follow the prompts to complete the process.
    • Mapping to Local Drive
    • Clicking on the "Connect USB Device" drop-down arrow displays the options regarding USB device connection.

      usb id

        NOTE: The Virtual Desktop will support an external, removable storage unit and you will be able to save directly from the Virtual Desktop onto your device.

      • If you would like to use a USB device, select either "Automatically Connect at Startup" or "Automatically Connect when Inserted" (before activating a USB device, the menu will display "No Suitable USB devices available").

        usb starting point

        Once your device is identified, the "Connect USB Device" menu will display the name of your USB device.

        usb device activated
      • NOTE: The Virtual Lab will take a minute or two before the USB device is fully functional.

      • In order to disconnect the USB device, you can click on the "Connect USB Device" in the toolbar and click on the menu where your USB device is displayed. In this example, the user would click where "Verbatim STORE N GO" is displayed (You can also disconnect the USB device from standard device eject option).

    • If you would like to view content on your real machine while connected the Virtual Lab, you can select "Minimize" or "Restore Down." In order to bring the virtual desktop display back open (if minimized) click on the "VMware desktop icon" in the Task Bar.

      min restore Home Bar
  9. When you are finished with the Virtual Desktop, you may close out of it in a couple of different ways:

    • Click on the "X" located in the toolbar.

      close 1
    • Click on "Options" in the toolbar and then click on "Disconnect".

      disconnect from toolbar
  10. Next, a VMware Horizon Client dialogue prompt will appear asking you to confirm the disconnect attempt. Click "OK".

    disconnect confirmation




Keywords:VMware, virtual, lab, desktop, data, science, applied, computing, health, information, management, technology, himt   Doc ID:85098
Owner:Christy S.Group:Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning
Created:2018-08-22 08:49 CDTUpdated:2020-04-22 10:13 CDT
Sites:Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning
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