VDS: virtual desktop

Related pages

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 workspace.york.ac.uk 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 & 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 & 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.