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Using a Virtual Desktop to access applications and resources (staff only)

At Birkbeck we operate a virtual infrastructure based upon VMWare's technology, which offers a virtual desktop using VMWare View. This desktop provides staff with access to a standard Birkbeck Windows 7 desktop with a variety of applications, and access to personal and shared filestore. It allows staff to access a managed desktop without leaving their own PC powered on, reduces the data security risk, and allows access to a windows desktop from a variety of devices including PCs, Macs, and IOS and Android devices.

Many staff will be familiar with accessing a virtual desktop to gain access to legacy corporate systems which have very specific operating system, web browser and java requirements. The standard windows 7 desktop works in a similar way, but offers access to many more applications, and in some cases can offer an alternative to using a desktop computer at all.

Installing the VMWare view client (first time only)

These instructions are provided for desktop computers. For access to IOS, Android or Blackberry clients, you should search for "VMWare View" from the relevant application store, looking for the VMWare symbol.

1) From a standard web browser, enter in the location bar.

VDI image 1 getting the client


2) Click on the "View Client for Windows" link here, which takes you to VMWare's client installation pages to download the appropriate client for your device. Select the correct download (for Windows this will mean selecting the 32bit or 64bit versions as appropriate) and select and run the download. Accept the licence conditions and hit next.

VDI image 2 - welcome

 3) At the welcome screen, click on Next.

vdi image 3 - options

4) Click on “login as current user” and select “this feature will not be available”

Clck on Next.

vdi image 4 - connection broker

5) Select the connection server (staff only), and click on Next

VDI 5 - desktop shortcut options

6) Select where you would like the VMware client shortcut located, an hit Next.

7) Then click on Install. Assuming you left the "Start VMWare" box checked, the VMWare client will start when the installation has completed (skip to step 9) below).

Connecting to VMWare

8) Click on start/programs/vmware/VMWare View client

VMWare View icon

9) When the VMware view client starts, connect to and click Connect.

vdi image 6 - connecting

10) Enter your Birkbeck username and password in the login box.

VDI image 7 selecting a desktop

11) Select from the desktops available to you, by highlighting it and clicking Connect, and a standard Windows 7 desktop will appear.

VDI image 8 - standard desktop

This is a standard desktop, with a variety of applications, access to you network drive, and located on the Birkbeck network.

While the default is to operate full screen, you can make the desktop smaller by selecting from the usual windows icons which appear in the top bar that appears when you float to the top of the screen with the mouse. If you minimise the VDI View screen, you can return to the desktop of the device you are using, and maximising it, returns you to the virtual desktop.

Click the close application icon will close the desktop and logout. Alternatively, click on the Start or Windows button, then shutdown.