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Virtual Computer Lab: FAQs

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How does the VCL work?

Essentially, the computer accessing the VCL acts as a wireless mouse and keyboard. The applications themselves are running on NYU servers in a data center, but the mouse and keyboard commands are coming from the device from which the VCL is accessed.

How do I know if I am eligible to use the VCL?

NYU students enrolled in degree programs with active NYU email accounts are eligible to use the VCL and should see the VCL channel on the Academics tab of NYUHome.

You can also see if you are VCL eligible from the NYU Start Page:

  • Go to the NYU Start Page.
  • Enter your NetID, and click START!
  • Enter your password, and click Continue.
  • Select Information about your NYU account.
  • Eligibility will be listed next to the Virtual Computer Lab line.

Do I need to install anything on my computer to use the VCL?

Yes. If you are accessing the VCL from a laptop or desktop computer, you will need to install the Citrix ICA plug-in.

If you are accessing the VCL from a mobile device, you will need to install the Citrix receiver. You will be prompted to download and install the plug-in the first time you log in to the VCL.

Both are designed to support a connection across the network permitting you to launch and use applications running on a server. See "How do I install the Citrix ICA plug-in?" and "How do I install the Citrix receiver?"

What is the Citrix ICA plug-in/Citrix receiver?

The Citrix ICA plug-in permits the VCL and your desktop or laptop to communicate. You only need to install the plug-in once per computer. You may be prompted more than once on your machine if you access the VCL from a different browser.

The Citrix receiver is an app that needs to be installed and configured on your mobile device in order to access the VCL. The Citrix receiver is available from the app distribution service for your mobile device (AppStore, Android Market, etc.)

The Citrix receiver is also an optional method for using the VCL on your desktop or laptop.

What are the differences between the plug-in and the receiver?

The ICA plug-in is specific to laptop and desktop operating systems, and is what you are prompted to install the first time you log in to the VCL. Using the plug-in means fewer updates.

If you are using a Mac to access the VCL, the plug-in may also mean printing requires two prompts before your document successfully prints (See "Why am I prompted twice when I try to print from the VCL?"). To avoid this, install and configure the receiver, available from the app distribution service for your mobile device (AppStore, Android Market, etc.).

The Citrix receiver is the only way to access the VCL from a mobile device.

Why am I being asked to install the Citrix ICA plug-in again?

If you visit the VCL from a browser other than the one you used to install the Citrix ICA plug-in, you will likely be prompted to install it again. If you are certain that the ICA plug-in is already installed, click Skip Installation on the VCL login page to continue to the Application Library. You may also be prompted to install the ICA plugin if you decide to use the Citrix Receiver application instead (See "What are the differences between the plug-in and the receiver?").

How can I check to see if the Citrix ICA plug-in/Citrix receiver is already installed?

If you aren't certain whether the plug-in is installed on your computer or the receiver is installed on your mobile device and don't know how to check, follow these steps:

To confirm that the plug-in is installed on your PC:

  1. Launch the Control Panel.
  2. Click Programs.
  3. Select the Programs and Features folder.
  4. If Citrix online plug-in -web exists in the folder, it is installed, and you can select Skip Installation.

To confirm that the plug-in is installed on your Mac:

  1. In Finder, select Macintosh HD.
  2. Open Library.
  3. Open the Internet Plug-Ins folder.
  4. If ICAClientPlugIn.plugin exists in the folder, it is installed, and you can select Skip Installation.

How can I access files stored on my local machine (desktop, laptop, mobile device)?

The VCL can access files on the local drive of your computer or mobile device. For your convenience, there are virtual links to your local drive in the default save/open folders of each application. In the File Open or File Save dialog boxes, look for a link that reads Access Local Files. This will redirect you to your local machine (the device from which you are accessing the VCL).

In the event that this link is missing, click Computer in the left-hand navigation bar of the dialog box. This will list all the storage devices the application has access to. Your local hard drive should be listed as Local Disk (C: on 'YOUR_COMPUTER_NAME'). Selecting that drive will bring you to the root of your local hard drive.

If you are using an application that does not use a graphical user interface or dialog boxes for opening and saving files, you can access your local hard drive by typing \\Client\C$ (or \\\\Client\C$, depending on the application) into the filename input box. To access a file directly, type \\Client\C$ (or \\\\Client\C$) and then add the path to the specific file starting from the root of your local hard drive.

I tried to save a file locally, and now I am being asked to allow access. What should I do? (Mac)

For security purposes, you must give the Citrix Online Plug-in permission to access your hard drive. You may be prompted to do so when trying to open or save a file.

You can select Read Only access if you are opening a file for viewing purposes only and do not plan to edit or save the file. If you would like to be able to edit or save a new file, choose Read & Write. This will grant access to the Online Plug-in for this session only.

You can permanently give the Online Plug-in access to your local hard drive:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen, then select System Preferences...
  2. Click Citrix Online Plug-in in the "Other" section of System Preferences.
  3. Click the Devices tab.
  4. Locate your hard drive in the list of mapped drives.
  5. Select your preferred level of permissions from the "Read" and "Write" columns.

Why am I receiving a File Security pop-up every time I open an application? (Windows)

In order for the VCL to open or save files to your local hard drive, Windows requires that you grant the Citrix Online plug-in permission to do so.

You can select Allow Read Only access if you are opening a file for viewing purposes only and do not plan to edit or save the file. If you would like to be able to edit or save a new file, choose Permit All Access. This will grant access to the Online Plug-in for the current session only.

You can permanently give the Online Plug-in access to your local hard drive by checking the box next to Do not ask me again for this site. You may be required to check this box of for each application in the VCL.

Is there a time limit on the VCL?

Yes. Due to licensing limitations, we have restricted idle time in an application to 30 minutes. This means that if you have an application open but aren't active in that window for 31 minutes, your session will be concluded.

Important: Any unsaved work will be lost.

Idle time includes time the application is working but you aren't active in that window. For example, if MatLab is running a computation without input from you, the system does not recognize that as activity and will log you out 31 minutes from the last activity in any Citrix window.

Why am I prompted twice when I try to print from the VCL?

The way the print message is passed from the VCL to your laptop or desktop requires a second "approval" of the print request. Make sure to check your settings the second time the Print window appears. Whatever your default print settings are will override any adjustments you make when printing from the VCL.

I see the VCL Channel on NYUHome, so why can't I log in?

If you are a VCL-eligible student who can't log in to the VCL, you may need to reset your NetID password. To see if this is the case:

  1. Go to the NYU Start Page.
  2. Enter your NetID, and click START!
  3. Enter your password, and click Continue.
  4. Click Information about your NYU account.
  5. Check to see if your Active Directory account is enabled and your password synchronized with LDAP.
  6. If your Active Directory account is enabled but your password is not synchronized with LDAP, you will need to reset your password (click Return to Menu, then Change your NetID password, and follow the instructions). You should have access to the VCL within 15 minutes.

If your Active Directory account is enabled and your password is synchronized with LDAP and you are still unable to log in to the VCL, please make sure you are typing in your password correctly at the VCL login page. If you continue to have problems logging in, you will need to contact the IT Service Desk.

Suggestions, application requests, and general feedback are encouraged!

General feedback, requests for changes, and application recommendations for inclusion in future releases of the VCL are welcomed via the AskITS Contact Us page. To ensure your feedback, requests, and recommendations reach the VCL team, select Other as the subject and type in VCL Feedback in the pop-up window that appears.

All submissions will be reviewed. Approved application requests and environment changes must be thoroughly tested before they can be released.

Page last reviewed: February 17, 2012