Virtual desktops (VDI) and VMware
The University of Helsinki uses a virtual desktop environment (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure; VDI environment) used with the VMware client software (VMware Horizon Client). All other programs can also be used in a virtual desktop in the same way as in conventional university workstations. Here you can find a more detailed description of what a virtual workstation is.
The VMware client software is installed centrally on the workstations of the University. If you cannot find the program on the workstation, see the instructions on how to install the VMware software.
These instructions have been prepared for Windows computers, but they can also be applied for Mac and Cubbli.
NB! Instructions in english is outdated. This page will be translated soon.
- Choose Start > Programs > VMware > VMware Horizon Client
- A window will open with icons for the connection server vdi.helsinki.fi
- Double-click the vdi.helsinki.fi icon.
- This opens a menu listing the desktops for various purposes to which you have access rights.
- Choose the desktop you want. (Note: See the instructions on how to automatically choose a specific virtual desktop below)
- Double-click the icon.
- Wait for the virtual desktop to load.
- Once the desktop has loaded, you can run the program you want by choosing Start > All programs > <program name>
- When you want to stop using the virtual desktop, log out by choosing Start > Log off.
You can choose a specific virtual desktop to open as follows:
- Open the VMware Horizon Client. Right-click the vdi.helsinki.fi icon of the connection server.
- A menu opens. Choose Autoconnect to this Server.
- You can now close the VMware Horizon Client program and restart it.
- The program now automatically opens in the desktop menu.
- If you usually only use a specific desktop (such as Cubbli), you can also specify it to be opened automatically.
- Right-click the icon of the server you want to choose.
- A menu opens. Choose Settings.
- A new window opens for setting the options of the server.
- Check the Autoconnect to this Desktop checkbox. Click OK.
- You can now close the VMware Horizon Client program again and restart it.
- The selected desktop now opens automatically.
If you want to change the settings of the automated opening of the virtual desktop, open the Start menu and find VMware Horizon Client > Recent servers in the recently opened programs (left bar of the Start menu) and choose vdi.helsinki.fi.
You’ll save time in the future when you create a shortcut for the virtual desktop directly on your own desktop. Create the shortcut as follows:
- Open Horizon Client as usual. Right-click the icon for the desired desktop (such as Cubbli). When a menu opens, select Create shortcut.
- This will create a shortcut on the desktop. You will be able to open the chosen desktop directly using the desktop shortcut the next time.
With the default settings, the virtual desktop takes over all displays (if you are using several displays). The actual desktop is only shown in one display. This means that you cannot see your computer’s desktop at all at the same time, which may make it difficult to work.
You can set the virtual desktop as a ”floating window” as follows:
- Right-click the icon for the desktop to open. When a menu opens, select Display > Windows - Large, for example. (The default setting is All Windows, which takes over all displays.)
- Next time you open the virtual desktop, it will open in the size you have specified.
If the virtual desktop asks you to press Control + Alt + Delete, you can use the bar at the top of the desktop window to send the command Send Ctrl-Alt-Delete.
Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + Alt + Insert on the keyboard.
Note that if you press Ctrl + Alt + Del on the keyboard, the command will only be sent to the host computer ( = the computer on which you are logged to the virtual desktop).
If you only need to use a virtual desktop temporarily or occasionally and you do not have Horizon Client installed, you can also use the browser version to use virtual desktops.
- Navigate to https://vdi.helsinki.fi
- Once the window opens, select VMware Horizon HTML Access
If you want to, you can install VMware Horizon Client on your home computer, for example. To do so, click Install VMware Horizon Client.
- Log in using your own username.
- After successful login, the virtual desktop menu opens.
- Click the expand handle on the left side of the virtual desktop.
- There are three boxes on top. Click the rightmost of them.
- When the menu opens, select Log off.
- After a confirmation question, you go back to the home page and can then close the window.
You can customise the virtual computer according to your preferences in the same way as a normal workstation. The customisation of the most common settings is described here.
To adjust the settings, go to Control Panel from the Start menu.
- 1. Display settings and font size
- 2. Changing the language
- 3. Mouse settings (setting of left-hand use, for example)
You can increase the font (letter) size as follows:
- Go to Control Panel > Display
- Click 150% and choose Apply.
- You are prompted to log out (Log off now). The settings will be applied when you log out and then log in again.
This means that the previous session was not yet closed. Try again after a while.
You can change the language of the operating system. The language options are Finnish, Swedish and English.
- Go to Control Panel > Region and Language.
- In the window that opens, open the Keyboards and Languages tab.
- Choose the language you want in Choose a display language.
- You are prompted to log out (Log off now). The settings will be applied when you log out and then log in again. (An error message might be displayed)
To enable left-hand use in the virtual environment, do as follows:
- Go to Control Panel > Mouse.
- Choose Switch primary and secondary buttons.
- Save your choice by clicking OK.
The VMware Self-Support program for easily checking/resetting the settings has been installed on the computer.
- Launch the program Start > VMware UEM > Self-Support
This launches the VMware User Environment Manager Self-Support program. The program looks like this:
The program displays the settings that you have changed.
- To remove a changed setting, choose the setting and click Reset.