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VDS: virtual desktop

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Get access to a virtual Windows 10 desktop using the Virtual Desktop Service (VDS).

The virtual desktop has the same look and feel as a managed University PC, and you can access your filestore and commonly used software.

Virtual Desktop Service » (Setup required)



Available to all staff & students.

The Virtual Desktop Service (VDS) gives you secure access to a virtual Windows 10 desktop.

You can connect to the VDS from most devices, including your tablet, laptop or Chromebook.

Available desktop & software

When you connect, you will have access to UniDesktop or StudentDesktop (students only).

UniDesktop includes software available on classroom PCs and office PCs. 

Software available on UniDesktop includes:

  • SPSS
  • EndNote
  • Microsoft Office
  • Chrome

For the best experience in terms of speed and functionality, we recommend downloading and installing the Parallels client software, and then logging in to from your web browser.

Ways to connectNotes
From a web browser on your computer

You'll need to install an app and do a quick setup before you use it for the first time.

From Chrome

If you're using Chrome on any device, you can install the Parallels client extension. Visit the VDS webpage, click on Downloads, and select Chrome client.


Launch the Virtual Windows 10 desktop within your web browser (no software required).

Other software options

On request, we can use the VDS to give you access to a specific piece of software without having to use the full Windows desktop.

For example, this might be useful for someone who needs to run an older version of MS Word as well as the current version. Running it as a seamless application on the VDS will avoid any conflicts normally associated with running multiple versions of software on one machine.

Contact the Library and IT Help Desk with your requirements.

Help & troubleshooting

Library & IT Help Desk

If you're having problems using the Virtual Desktop Service, get in touch with the Library and IT Help Desk.

Our commitments

Service status Live and supported service.
Hours of service 24/7
Service support For help and support with this service, contact the Library and IT Help Desk.
Hours of support Help from the Library & IT Help Desk is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Target availability

General IT Services targets:

Review cycle Every three years
Policies York local acceptable use policy
Our performance

Our service standards have been produced in consultation with our customers, and monitor the quality, timeliness and access to facilities and services:

Complaints procedure

If you wish to give us general feedback on this service, please see our Feedback page for ways to get in touch.

If you wish to make a complaint, please see our complaints procedure.

Additional software

Certain software is unavailable on the VDI images available to students

UniDesktop only

  • AGRESSO Batch Input Formatter
  • AGRESSO Report Engine
  • Corel Draw
  • Corel PaintShop Pro
  • Corel PDF Fusion
  • CRSPSift
  • Eviews
  • FileOpen Client
  • Maple
  • Mathematica
  • MathPlayer Plugin
  • MestReNova
  • Microfit
  • MindGenius
  • NVivo
  • Oracle Instant Client
  • Origin
  • OxMetrics
  • PPCME Penn Parsed Corpus
  • PyMOL
  • Reaper
  • Scientia Syllabus Plus
  • Scientific WorkPlace
  • Sibelius- OpenType Fonts
  • Sibelius
  • SigmaPlot
  • SITS Shortcuts

Below is a list of software available on both the student and staff desktops.

Shared Software

  • 7-Zip
  • Accelrys Discovery Studio
  • Accelrys Draw
  • ACD/Labs Spectrus Processor
  • Adobe Digital Editions
  • Adobe Flash Player ActiveX
  • Adobe Flash Player NPAPI
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 2017
  • Anaconda2
  • Anaconda3
  • ArcGIS Desktop with Data Interoperability
  • ArcGIS Pro
  • ATLAS.ti
  • Audacity
  • AutoDock
  • Blender
  • BlueJ
  • CCP4MG
  • CDBurnerXP
  • CereVoice SAPI TechDis Jack (CereVoice)
  • CereVoice SAPI TechDis Jess (CereVoice)
  • CereVoice SAPI x64 TechDis Jack (CereVoice)
  • CereVoice SAPI x64 TechDis Jess (CereVoice)
  • ChemDraw
  • Chime Viewer
  • CLAN
  • CodeBlocks
  • DataStream
  • Datastream Charting Add-In
  • Datastream DFO Add-In With Datastream and Charting
  • Ebrary
  • ELAN Windows
  • EndNote
  • Fiji
  • Firefox
  • G*power
  • Gaussian
  • GaussView
  • GhostScript
  • Gnuplot
  • Google Chrome
  • GSView
  • Inkscape
  • Instant Eyedropper
  • JASP
  • Java JRE
  • Java SDK
  • KompoZer
  • LyX
  • Matlab
  • Mendeley Desktop
  • Mercury
  • MeshLab
  • Microsoft Office
  • MiKTeX
  • MinGW
  • MySQL Connector/ODBC x64
  • NHS eLearning Materials
  • Notepad++
  • Oeuvres completes de Voltaire
  • Praat
  • PuTTY
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • R
  • RStudio
  • Rtools
  • SHMo
  • SPSS Amos Graphics
  • SPSS Statistics
  • Stata
  • TeXLive
  • TeXMaker
  • Tinn-R
  • TreeView
  • TurningPoint
  • VeraCrypt
  • VLC Player
  • VMD
  • VuBar
  • WinBugs
  • WinDirStat
  • Windows Defender
  • WinEdt
  • WinSCP
  • x2go client