Access Software from Home
Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)
The Windows Virtual Desktop Service (WVD) gives secure access, for students, to popular University software and your files whilst you are away from campus.
You can connect from anywhere, using most devices, including your PC, laptop, tablet or Chromebook. You will need a browser and an internet connection.
Additionally, the Azure Student Remote Access Service provides 24/7 access to dedicated School IT lab facilities, for students belonging to:
- School of Computing
- School of Computing & Engineering & Intelligent Systems
- Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment
- School of Engineering
Access to both Azure Student Remote Access Service and Windows Virtual Desktop are not automatic.
Students should attempt to download and install software locally where possible in the first instance. If not viable or feasible to do so, requests for access need to be submitted via the Course/Module Coordinator and/or Faculty Technical representative to the Service Desk. Requests should include:
- Required Application
- List of student email addresses
The faculty technical representation and/or the Course/Module Coordinator will be the single point of contact for Digital Services in terms of communication and coordination and support for use of the application will be through Faculty technical representatives as normal.
How to access the Windows Virtual Desktop
Connect to WVD via Remote Desktop App
For the best experience in terms of speed and functionality, we recommend you download the Remote Desktop app for your device:
To configure the Windows app:
- Install the Windows Remote Desktop App
- Start the App and click on the "Subscribe" button. Subscribe with the following discovery URL https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/api/arm/feeddiscovery when prompted.
- Sign in with your University email (eg Surname-A2@ulster.ac.uk) and network password
To configure the Mac app:
- Install the Mac Remote Desktop App
- Start the App and click on the '+' icon, then select "Workspace".
- Enter the following discovery URL https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/api/arm/feeddiscovery when prompted.
- Sign in with your University email address (eg Surname-A2@ulster.ac.uk) and network password
To configure the mobile (iOS/Android) app:
- Start the app and press the '+' icon, then select "Add Workspace" or “Remote Resource Feed”.
- Enter the following discovery/feed URL https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/api/arm/feeddiscovery when prompted.
- Enter your University email address (eg Surname-A2@ulster.ac.uk), and network password
- If you have the Microsoft Authenticator App on your device setup with your University student account for MFA, you will be redirected to this app. Select your student account and you will be automatically signed in.
- If you have the Microsoft Authenticator App on your device for any other purposes, you will be redirected to this app. Press the ‘+’ icon, then sign in with your University email address (e.g. Surname-A@ulster.ac.uk) and network password.
Connect to WVD via your web browser
For the best experience in terms of speed and functionality, we recommend you download the Remote Desktop app for your device as advised above, however, you can also connect via your web browser, however this will be more restrictive:
- Go to https://rdweb.wvd.microsoft.com/arm/webclient/index.html
- Sign in with your University email address (eg Surname-A2@ulster.ac.uk) and password.
- To learn more about how to use the web client, check out get started with the web client
Use WVD to access applications you can't get on your computer whilst you're away from campus.
There is no need to log in to WVD for the following:
- To check your University email
- To access Microsoft Office Applications (sign in with your University email address and network password)
- Browse the Internet
- To attend a MS Teams event as a guest or a Blackboard Collaborate event
Student WVD Software
Students can access a range of common and faculty specific applications (detailed below), in addition to standard software such as Microsoft Office 365 and various web browsers.
Please note: CAD and specialist software are not available currently via WVD. Some applications may not be available due to licensing restrictions.
- ArcGIS 10.5 – ArcCatalog
- ArcGIS 10.5 – ArcGlobe
- ArcGIS 10.5 – ArcMap
- ArcGIS 10.5 – ArcScene
- Autodesk Autocad (TBC)
- Autodesk 3D Studio Max (TBC)
- Cloud Compare
- ERDAS Imagine 2020
- Google Chrome
- Google Pro Earth
- IBM SPSS Statistics 26
- MatchWare MindView 6.0
- Microsoft Edge (Chromium)
- Microsoft Office - Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word
- Microsoft Project
- Microsoft Visio
- Primer 6
- Sage 50 Accounts
- Solidworks (TBC)
- Visual Studio
Software available for download to your own device
Discounted and no-cost software titles are also available to download and install on own PC and personal devices:
- Adobe Digital Editions 4.5
- Filezilla Client
- Google Chrome for Enterprise
- Java 8
- VideoLan VLC Media Player
- ProQuest RefWorks Write-N-Cite for Word (Library to advise on source)
- Refworks Collection Manager RCM (Microsoft Store)
- GarageBand (MacOS) (App Store)
- iMovie (MacOS) (App Store)
- Blender (MacOS)
- Autodesk Maya 3D (MacOS)
- Krita (MacOS)
- Unreal Engine (MacOS)
- BIOVIA® DRAW (formerly Accelrys Draw)
- Google Earth Pro
- Grid InQuest
- Ocean Data View
- Quantum GIS
- Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools (MGET)
- Octave (GNU)
- Blue J Bundle
- C-TRIC Java Development Toolkit 8U45
- R Studio
Frequently asked Questions
What is Windows Virtual Desktop?
The Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service gives you access to the same Windows 10 desktop and applications that you use on campus from anywhere with an internet connection.
What do I need to access the WVD service?
You need an internet connection, a University login ID and a device capable of running the client software (or any HTML5-compatible browser, e.g. Chrome/Edge).
- How do I access WVD?
Can I access WVD from a phone or tablet?
Yes, with the following minimum requirements:
- iPhone/iPad: iOS 13
- Android: Android 4.1
What software can I access on the WVD service?
The WVD desktop includes the common software packages that are installed on Student IT Lab machines.
Can I access my usual files and folders on the WVD service?
Yes, the WVD service uses your OneDrive to store files by default, including the “My Documents” folder.
Can I access my USB pen drive in the WVD service?
USB pen drives are not supported directly by the WVD service and they are also not recommended for use during your studies due to the risk of loss or corruption. However, you can copy files from a USB pen drive onto OneDrive and then access them in WVD.
When using the Windows/Mac client you can also use “copy/paste” to transfer files to and from the service.
Is my data safe when using WVD?
Yes, the WVD service uses an encrypted link between the Microsoft cloud and campus to protect your data.
How can I print to my local printer?
Your local printers should automatically be available within WVD when using the Windows or Mac desktop clients.
How to contact the Service Desk
Service Desk Hours
Semester 1 and 2
Monday - Friday 8am - 8pm
Saturday – Sunday 1pm – 5pm
All other times except extended closure
Monday - Thursday 8am - 5pm
Friday 8am - 4pm
Extended Closure - Easter and Christmas Holidays
Monday - Friday 10am - 1pm