Accessibility statement

Updates to Virtual Desktop Service

Posted on 21 February 2023

IT Services are currently working on a project to replace the existing Virtual Desktop Service (VDS) with a new provider. The VDS allows staff and students to access certain apps which are usually only available on on-campus devices.

IT Services have found a new provider, Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), and are now in the process of  gradually migrating staff who use the VDS to the new system. 

Staff will be moved to AVD in phases as we continue to make improvements to the new service and configure all of the required applications. We are also closely monitoring the performance of the new provider as more staff connect to make sure it can cope with our usage demands.   

We intend to move everyone who uses the VDS and remove the existing service provider, Parallels, later in the year. 

Why are we doing this?

  • The existing system has been unstable with frequent outages. 
  • The existing system relies heavily on physical infrastructure which is not environmentally sustainable. 

Will anything change? 

When you connect, you will have the choice of either an individual application or a full desktop (full desktop coming soon). In most cases you can choose just the application you need from the home screen.

This means: 

  • Applications will behave more like they do on your own device so it will be easier to switch between applications. 
  • You will be able to use Chrome, Office, Slack, Zoom etc on your usual desktop whilst using the VDS to access the required application.
  • You will be able to access files saved on your laptop or PC, mapped drives or OneDrive directly in the VDS.

You will also need to use a different application to sign into the VDS. 

When can I use the new service?

IT Services are currently migrating users of the VDS to the new system in phases, starting with users of business applications such as Agresso and Kinetics.

You will be contacted via email when you are invited to use the new platform, or watch out for further communications when the new service is fully live.

If you are already using the new VDS service, we would welcome any feedback or suggestions via email to