VDS: virtual desktop

Related pages

Get access to a virtual Windows 7 or 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 7 or Windows 10 desktop.

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

Available desktop & software

When you connect, you will be prompted to connect to UniDesktop.

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 using the AppPortal or the WebPortal. These give the best user experience - they offer a faster connection and more options, such as USB port access and printing to your own printer.

Ways to connectConnection methodNotes
From a web browser on your computer WebPortal

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

From an app on your computer, tablet or phone App Portal

The AppPortal allows you to access the service through an application on your desktop or mobile device.

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

From Chrome Connector for Chrome

If you're using Chrome on any device, you can install this Dell vWorkspace plugin. Visit the VDS webpage, click on the Downloads tab, and select Chrome connector.

From any web browser

You can use this option to connect from any web browser but bear in mind that the WebPortal option offers more functionality.

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 & IT Help Desk with your requirements.

Setup guides


To use the AppPortal, please follow the instuctions below for the device you're using:

Note: due to the limitations of web browsers on mobile devices, we recommend you use the AppPortal to access the VDS from your tablet.


To use the WebPortal, please follow the instuctions below for the device you're using:

Chrome connector

  1. Launch the Chrome connector from the Apps tab in Chome.
  2. Enter https://vds.york.ac.uk in the box.
  3. Note: at the login screen, you must select Chrome in the right hand pane before logging in

Help & troubleshooting

Library & IT Help Desk

If you're having problems using the Virtual Desktop Service, get in touch with the Library & 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 & 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.