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    Virtual Desktop Service​


The Virtual Desktop Service (VDS) enables staff and students to access an Edinburgh Napier desktop from anywhere, anytime on almost any device (a full list of supported devices can be found below).
Please note: if you need to remote desktop to your own University PC then you should use the Virtual Private Network.

What can I access from the Virtual Desktop Service?

You can access the standard Edinburgh Napier University Windows service which includes your H drive and most University applications from any device both on and off campus providing you have internet access.
Please note: you won’t be able to access the Windows desktop on your physical staff PC, in order to do this you need to use the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to Remote Connect to your desktop.  Refer to the Virtual Private Network (VPN) information for further information.

What are the benefits of using the Virtual Desktop Service?

  • On campus the service will be useful if you are working on another campus or if you are working away from your staff PC.  Students will find the service helpful during busy times e.g. if there are no free on-campus PCs available or if they prefer to work in social areas.
  • Off campus staff and students will be able to work from home or even abroad. You can access the service virtually anywhere, globally providing you have internet access. 
  • You will have immediate access to all updates and additions to the Virtual Desktop Service.
  • A fresh, clean desktop is presented each time you log on, maintaining initial performance and reducing likelihood of potential corruption, viruses and incompatibilities.

From what devices can I access the Virtual Desktop Service?

The service supports devices based on the following Operating Systems:

  • MS Windows XP SP3
  • MS Windows Vista SP1/2
  • MS Windows 7
  • MS Windows 8
  • MS Windows RT
  • Apple Macintosh OS X
  • Apple iOS
  • Google Android (including Kindle Fire)
  • Linux, 32-bit Ubuntu

Is there anything else I need to know before I use the Virtual Desktop Service?


Before using the Virtual Desktop Service (VDS) you should be aware of the following:

  • The virtual desktops are created at each logon so any changes you make out with your redirected folders and roaming profile, such as installing an application or saving data to the C: drive, are lost when you logout.
  • For staff the VDS uses its own version of Windows Roaming Profiles. These enable user desktop settings to be maintained across different virtual desktop sessions. At present for staff members these are completely independent of any existing physical PC service Windows profiles.
  • Folder redirection is applied identically as with the physical PC service. So, for instance, ‘Documents’ will still reference your personal data area as will the Windows ‘Desktop’ folder for student users.

How do I get the Virtual Desktop Service?

In order to access the Virtual Desktop from your device, it must be network connected and you will need to install a small VMware View client application. 
The following videos demonstrate how to install the Virtual Desktop Service on a PC or a Mac:
Install the Virtual Desktop Service on a Windows Machine
Install the Virtual Desktop Service on a Mac
Alternatively, use the guidance below:
To install the Virtual Desktop on a tablet:
  • Visit your Tablet’s app store and search for “VMware View”:

VDS Client  Download iPad.jpg


  • Follow the on screen instructions to Download and install the client app which should be free. 

To install the virtual desktop on a PC, Laptop or a Tablet with no VMware View app available in the Tablet’s app store:

Install VMware Horizon View Client image


  • Select Install VMware Horizon View Client and you will be redirected to the client download page (external site).
  • Follow the on screen instructions to select, download and install the correct client for your operating system from the list provided.  Be careful to correctly pick a 32-bit or 64-bit client version if both options exist.


How do I open the Virtual Desktop Service?

To open the Virtual Desktop Service:
  • Open the VMware View client:

                VMware View Client.jpg

  • Connect to the Connection Server: “desktop.napier.ac.uk”:

           VDS Connection Server.jpg

  • Log in using your University username and password;

          VDS Login.jpg

  • When you successfully logon you will see all virtual desktops available to you, select the desired desktop and click Connect:        

          VDS log on to desktop.jpg

Once finished select Log off from the Virtual Desktop Start Menu.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Can I print using the Virtual Desktop Service?
A:  You are able to print to a sub-set of on-campus network printers. 
To attach to a printer when required:
  • Click on the Printing and Welcome icon:

                VDS printing and welcome.jpg

  •  Click Setup Campus Printer and follow the on screen instructions to install a printer.
Devices running Windows or Mac OS X Operating systems can also print to a local printer already connected to the device. 
Q:  Can I use sound via the Virtual Desktop Service?
A:  Sound from Virtual Desktops is available via the host device speakers.

Q:  Can I connect a USB device when I’m accessing the Virtual Desktop Service?
A:  The majority of VMWare clients will allow you to “through connect” USB devices from a local device e.g. a personal laptop.

Q:  Can I connect to more than one Virtual Desktop at any one time?
A:  No, only one Virtual Desktop connection is allowed per user at any one time.

Q:  Will my Virtual Desktop disconnect after a period of inactivity?
A:  Yes, staff members’ Virtual Desktop will automatically disconnect after 30 minutes, students’ will disconnect after 15 minutes.