A virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) allows students and instructors to access the same computer from any other computer in the world. Essentially students and instructors use Windows Remote Desktop to access a virtual machine hosted in the campus Data Center. This virtual system has all the functionality of a standard campus desktop build, but with the key advantage of being accessible to anyone at anytime (only campus customers--Missouri S&T students, faculty, and staff are able to access campus systems).

There is a very important key difference from standard remote desktop protocols (RDP) for logging into remote systems when using VDI. Normally, with RDP, the user needs to know the exact hostname of the machine they are logging into (e.g. However, with VDI, the user logs into a "pool" of virtual machines, all of which have an identical build, and is then assigned the first available system.

Furthermore, custom software applications can be installed on these systems, meaning students needing a particular software package such as SAP would not have to find a computer lab on campus with SAP, but could access the virtual desktop instead.

Finally, virtual desktops are extremely useful when software packages may conflict with each other when installed on the same system. By installing isolated instances of a software package in a virtual desktop, it is possible to eliminate or reduce any potential conflicts the software package may cause when installed in conjunction with other software.

IMPORTANT: If you want to use the VMware Horizon Client from an off-campus location, you must also have Virtual Private Networking (VPN) enabled. Instructions for setting up VPN are available at:

Limitations and Restrictions on Virtual Desktops

  • Must be enrolled in a class that will be using virtual desktops.
  • Must be a Missouri S&T student, faculty, or staff member.
  • Users of the VDI are expected to behave in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policies of university-owned computing resources at both Missouri S&T and UM-System.
  • When finished using the VDI, make sure to Disconnect and Logoff, rather than just Disconnect.
    • Simply disconnecting will leave you logged into the VDI, tying up a virtual desktop and preventing someone else from using that resource.