CSU East Bay VCL FAQ

What are the system requirements for connecting?

  • Windows
    • To connect to a Windows computer, you need Remote Desktop Connection. Windows XP and Vista work best.
    • To connect to a Unix/Linux computer you must have an SSH client (such as PuTTY).
  • Macintosh
    • To connect to a Windows computer, you need to download Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection software.
    • To connect to a Unix/Linux computer you need OS X with X11 installed.
  • Linux
    • A Remote Desktop Protocol client (rdesktop), as well as SSH/X.
  • Wireless
    • A wireless “G” or “N” network.
    • On campus use The Bay. If The Bay is not available, use EBEmployee or EBStudent. Do not use EBGuest.
    • Dial up will not work.
  • Lan or High Speed Internet
    • Cable or DSL Internet Access—Comcast, RoadRunner, ATT, SBC.
    • A T1 or higher fiber optic network is preferred (the campus has fiber optic).

How do I make a VCL Reservation?

1. Select 'Make a Reservation' or 'New Reservation.'

2. Select a VCL session (environment) from the drop down menu.

3. Select the time you want to start the reservation.

4. Select the duration of your reservation.

Note: Once the reservation is active, it can be extended to a total of 6 hours. Under special cases longer durations are available.

5. Select “Create Reservation.”

6. You are taken to the Current Reservations page.

Note: Click 'Pending...' for details of the processing.

7. To create another session, select “New Reservation” and repeat from step 2.

How long do I have to wait after I hit 'Connect' before I can log on to my session?

During periods of heavy utilization, times may increase. However the average time is less than a minute.

The Mystery of the Middle Password (VCL Reservation Password)

This is the password that the VCL provides on the Connect! screen. This middle password is randomly generated and must be typed in manually. This is not the same as your NetID password. This password is valid only for your current VCL session and is not usable for other sessions.

What is an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) file?

An RDP file is a settings file that can be opened by the Remote Desktop Client to automatically open a connection to the reserved computer.

How do I modify my remote desktop connection screen size when using the Get RDP file?

On the website (vcl.calstate.edu):

  • Click 'Make A New Reservation.'
  • Select the User Preferences link in the left pane.
  • Select the RDP file preferences.

Here you can edit the settings for your RDP session: screen size resolution, local drive options, and sound.

To Open or to Save, that is the question.

On the Current Reservations, once you have loaded the Connect! Page, you are greeted with a “Get RDP File” link near the bottom left of the page.
This will prompt you to download an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) file to your computer.

Always choose to SAVE this file. When you save your RPD image session you can always reconnect back to the image for the duration of your reservation. Save it to the Desktop. If your browser does not prompt you for a location, it will most likely save it to your Desktop or to a folder called Downloads in your My Documents folder. Then open the RDP file and type in the login information provided by the VCL to connect to your software session.

When I click Get RDP file, Internet Explorer gives an error and states it cannot download index.php from vcl.calstate.edu

This is related to a security setting in Internet Explorer that does not allow file downloads over a secure connection (https).

To fix this problem:

  1. Within Internet Explorer, on the Tools menu, choose Internet Options.
  2. On the Advanced tab, under Settings, in the Security section, make sure
    [X] Do not save encrypted pages to disk
    is selected (check marked).
  3. Click OK.

Attempt to get the RDP file again: click "Get RDP file." You should be able to save the RDP file to your computer.

I logged out and forgot my password. How do I look it up?

Revisit the VCL Web site:

  1. Click Current Reservations.
  2. Click Connect.

Your connection details are displayed.

I have a block reservation, how do I log into it?

A block reservation means that we have reserved a group of sessions for use during a specified time. These sessions have been preloaded with the requested software. You must still click New Reservation and select the image that has been blocked or saved for you during the arranged time.

Can I reconnect to my session if my reservation time has not expired but I disconnected or closed the window?

Yes. Just run the RDP file that you downloaded and log on with the same user name and password provided by the VCL. You have 15 minutes to reconnect before your reservation times out. Reconnecting to an existing session returms you to the desktop you were already using with all of the programs and files you had open.

How do I print from a remote VCL computer?

Some printers locally connected to your computer will work, some networked printers may not. If printers are not working, save to PDF as a work around.
Most VCL sessions have CutePDF installed. CutePDF appears as a listed printer and may be selected in the Print dialog box. Save the file to a specified location, copy it to your local computer, and print it from there. You can also save to a USB Drive. Your USB drive appears in your session as a drive under My Computer. You can then print the file from your USB drive using your local computer printer.

What happens when I leave my work on the server?

Windows XP and custom Red Hat Enterprise Linux computers are reloaded after your reservation has completed or your session has timed out. Any work left on the desktop is erased.

My VCL Windows application crashes when saving files to my personal machine through Remote Desktop.

The process that a program used to access files on your personal computer through Remote Desktop is complicated and sometimes not fast enough. In these cases, it is recommended that you copy your files to the VCL computer, work on your files there, and then copy them back to your personal computer when you have completed your work.

Where should I save my files when connected to Windows XP VCL?

For remote access to a Windows XP VCL session there are three options for saving your files:

  1. Local Hard Drive tunneled through the Remote Desktop session.
  2. Home Directory (H: Drive) or other Mapped Drives (T: drive).
  3. Local Hard Drive through the RDP:
    • Before you connect to a Windows computer, click Options in the RDP window.
    • On the Local Resources tab, under Local Devices, select (check mark) Disk Drives.
    • Connect to the remote server.
    • In 'My Computer' in the VCL session a drive appears with the name of your computer.

Note: Do NOT leave your work in the VCL connected desktop. It will be deleted.

How do I transfer files between my computer and the remote one?

For a VCL session with Windows XP there are four options for saving your files:

  1. Local Hard Drive [Setup through the RDP client: see “Where should I save my files when connected to Windows XP VCL?”]
  2. Network Drives [T: Drive, S: Drive, etc.].
  3. USB Drive.
  4. Email to the file to yourself.
  5. Online Web Storage: SharePoint, GoogleDocs, RapidShare

How can I ensure that I’ve securely closed my connection to VCL?

To ensure that your account is completely logged off, particularly if you are using a public computer, please close ALL browser windows and quit the browser program. 

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