Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) FAQ

For general information on what VDI is, please visit our service catalog.

How can I install the VMWare Horizon Client?

For Windows For Mac

How do I use VDI?

Connection to VDI is available from anywhere on the Internet as well as within the Harvard University network.

Login to VDI requires 2-Step Verification (2SV) for authentication.  There are a variety of 2SV methods. Click here for 2SV login instructions.

Notes about Student VDI:

  • VDI times out after being idle for 90 minutes. Your connection will close, and the VDI will be recycled.
  • Store data on your network P: drive.  Do NOT store files on the Student VDI. Files stored on the Student VDI desktop will be deleted upon logout/disconnect. (This includes the following folders: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos.)
  • For best quality, join video conference calls from your laptop, PC, or tablet rather than from VDI. Click here for tips on running VDI and Zoom at the same time.

Notes about Staff VDI:

  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) is NOT required.
  • Staff are provided a personal, dedicated VDI Windows 10 desktop.
  • Logout from VDI preserves Windows 10 desktop settings, preferences, and data for next login.
  •  Storing data on your Staff VDI desktop is safe and will not be deleted upon logout/disconnect.
  • For best quality, join video conference calls from your laptop, PC, or tablet rather than from VDI. Click here for tips on running VDI and Zoom at the same time.

What are the Minimum Requirements to run VDI?

VDI requires a modern laptop, PC, or tablet.
In general most laptops that are less than 4 years old will run the VDI client without an issue.  More detailed laptop requirements can be found in our student guide.

What Software is Included with VDI?

Highlights of what is included on the Student VDI system are below. Click here for the complete software inventory of the Student VDI system.

  • Adobe Products
  • East6
  • EndNote x9
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • JMP Pro 14 & 16
  • Microsoft Office Professional 2016
  • MLwiN
  • NVivo
  • Poll Everywhere
  • R
  • Salford Predictive Modeler
  • SAS 9.4
  • Stat/Transfer
  • Stata/IC
  • SUDAAN
  • Zoom

How do I request software?

Teaching faculty receive an email, prior to the start of each full term, asking to verify the software needs for their course. If you would like to request new software, please complete this form.