Students: to connect to a (virtual) Windows computer in the labs, use VDI.

Microsoft Remote Desktop allows you to connect your Windows computer to a remote (your engineering office) computer. Remote Desktop can be tuned to the specific type of connection you have – cable modem, DSL, dial-up – and is moderately secure.

If you are connecting to your office computer from off campus, you must log into the Junos Pulse VPN before establishing the Remote Desktop connection. This connection is completely secure.

To use Remote Desktop, you need to know the name of your office computer. When you connect, you enter the computer name of the form, where engr-d-coeXXX-Z is the name of your office computer. Look at the label on the CPU of your office computer for this information. Or go to Control Panel | System and find the computer's name. To use Remote Desktop from Windows 7 or Vista, go to Start | All Programs | Accessories | Remote Desktop Connection; from Windows XP, go to Start | Run | mstsc . Enter your office computer’s name in the Remote Desktop Connection dialogue box. From the Start menu, you will have an icon for Remote Desktop in the recently used programs area. You can right click to Pin to Start menu or Copy to your desktop for easy access in the future.

The Remote Desktop dialogue box opens (see right). Before connecting, click the Options button to set your display and connection speed preferences.

The display options let you select how much of the local screen will be used by the remote screen. Moving the slider all the way to the right gives the Remote Desktop the full screen. In this example, the Remote Desktop uses 1152 x 864 pixels, which allows both the local and the Remote Desktop to be viewed. If you choose full screen, your local display will show the name of the remote computer at the top of the screen.

remote desktop display size

To set the speed of the connection, click the Experience button. The options are for modem speeds as well as faster connections. The illustration shows a 56K modem connection.

remote desktop connection speed
With the display and connection speed options set, those remain in effect until you change them during a different connection.

Now you can log in to the remote machine. The dialogue box needs the name of the computer to connect to. The name will be, where engr-dcoeXXX-Z is the name of your office computer. After the screen blanks, you see the usual login information screen (click OK) and then the dialogue box to log in. As in your office, you must know your:
  User name: [Hawkid]
  Password: [Hawkid password]
  Domain: iowa

If you are using Windows 7 or Vista, the first time you connect from your local machine using Remote Desktop, you must enter the domain before your Hawkid, as in iowa\bgreene. Subsequent uses of Remote Desktop require using only your Hawkid, not including the domain name.

When you are done with the remote connection, on the Remote Desktop screen, go to Start | Disconnect; that ends the session with the computer in your office.

Reasons to Use Remote Desktop

  • If you teach in an SC classroom and need access to engineering software that is not on the local computer, you can use Remote Desktop to get to those programs.
  • If your connection speed is fast enough, you can use Remote Desktop to run engineering software from your remote computer.
  • If you want to run programs installed locally on your office machine, use Remote Desktop.
  • You can access share files or files on the local hard drive (D:) with Remote Desktop.


For help setting up or using FileZilla, Junos PulseRemote Desktop, or VDI, talk to the consultant at the Engineering Help Desk, 319-335-5055, 1248 SC. If you get an error message about not having rights to logon or could not connect, please call the consultant, or email to: It takes a just few minutes to grant the necessary access to your office computer.