Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) service allows access to a “virtual” desktop computer running Windows 10 that has all the software our students and staff need. VDI supports enhanced user mobility and remote access. Students and staff do not need to invest in specific hardware to access VDI remotely. Installing the VMware Horizon View application on an existing laptop, PC, or tablet is all that’s required. This setup lets users safely access VDI from virtually any location as long as they have a good Internet connection.

HSPH offers two types of Windows 10 VDI; non-persistent VDI for Students and persistent VDI for staff.

Student VDI:

  • 2-Step Verification is required to log in to Student VDI.
  • Student VDI contains licensed software used for coursework. Click here for a complete inventory of software.
  • To download the VMware Horizon View client software and begin using VDI, please visit our VDI FAQ.
  • Student VDI is non-persistent. Changes to Windows 10 – such as desktop customizations and user software installations – are NOT saved upon logging out or restarting.  (This includes the following folders: Documents, Downloads, Music, Pictures, Videos.)
  • Student VDI times out after being idle for 90 minutes. This means you will be logged out after 90 minutes of inactivity, and any unsaved work will be lost.
  • It is advisable that you save your work to your network P: drive before taking a break that will result in 90 minutes or more of inactivity on your Student VDI computer. Do NOT store files directly on Student VDI. Files stored on the Student VDI desktop will 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.

Staff VDI:

  • 2-Step Verification is required to log in to Staff VDI.
  • Staff VDI is loaded with productivity software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe products, etc.
  • Staff VDI is a persistent, personal, dedicated VDI Windows 10 desktop.
  • Logging out from Staff 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.
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) is NOT required.

Staff/Faculty – If you are interested in joining our VDI program please contact us via helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu.

 

Key features and benefits

  • VDI is accessible from anywhere with Internet connectivity, allowing students and administrative staff to easily work from off-site using their own laptop, PC, or tablet.
  • For students and staff who are frequently on the go and need to pull up a virtual desktop containing a full range of applications and access to HSPH data, VDI is like having an office available on-demand.
  • IT routinely applies new software and updates to all VDI desktops, allowing quick response to rapidly changing requirements for teaching and learning.
  • VDI is a secure remote computing solution requiring 2-Step Verification to log in.
  • VDI offers improvement in data protection over your personal laptop, PC, or tablet. All of the data from a VDI session remains on a secure server, not your personal computer, meaning that if your laptop, PC, or tablet is stolen, your data will not be compromised.

Available to

How to get started

In you are interested in using this service, please contact the helpdesk helpdesk@hsph.harvard.edu

Useful links