Information Computing and Technology Services
Virtual Computing Lab

VCL Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question? Call the ITCS Help Desk 252.328.9866/1.800.340.7081 or email

How do I make a new reservation (Option 1)?

  1. Choose the Make a Reservation link on the VCL home page. Log in with your PirateID and passphrase.
  2. Click New reservation in the menu to the left.
  3. Complete the information on the screen
  4. Choose the time that you would like the reservation, or for an immediate session, select 'Now'.
  5. Select the length of your reservation.
  6. Click Create Reservation (you can go back and edit session times if necessary).
  7. If you reserved a session time in the future, you will receive a message that your reservation has been processed. If you chose an immediate session, you will be directed to the Current Reservations page, which will let you know the current wait time.
  8. Click the Connect! button once it appears, which could be from 1 to 20 minutes depending on the available resources.
  9. Once you click the Connect button, you will see a connection information page. This page will display your reservation details, the IP address of the remote computer and password information for the current reservation. You will also receive confirmation via email from Keep in mind that the password is different for each reservation.

How do I connect after I've made a reservation (Option 1)?

This depends on the operating system (Windows, Mac, Unix) you are using and the application environment you have requested. Please visit the Connect to VCL page for details on remote desktop connection software and download links.

As an instructor, how do I request that my course/software be added to the Virtual Computing Lab?

To request a software image for a course, faculty should complete the Virtual Computer Lab Image Request form found at the online Help Desk Service Request system (

How long do I have to wait after I click 'Connect' before I can log into my reserved computer (Option 1)?

Usually, the connection is immediate; however, during periods of heavy utilization, it may take up to a minute between the time you click 'Connect' and when you can actually connect to a computer.

How long do I have after I click 'Connect' before I lose my reservation (Option 1)?

You have 15 minutes to acknowledge a reservation after you click 'Connect' button. If your reservation times out, another reservation must be made.

What is an RDP file?

An RDP (Remote Desktop Program) allows you to connect your Windows or Mac computer to remotely connect to the VCL Windows computer. To automatically connect from the Connect! Page, click the Get RDP file button. Windows XP and Vista come bundled with the RDP, but older versions of Windows (Windows 2000, for example) and Mac systems must download the program from the Microsoft so this feature should already been enabled.
Download Windows RDP:
Download Mac RDP:

How do I request/use an RDP file (Option 1)?

Most RDP programs will automatically run once you click the Get RDP File button. If it does not, open the RDP program and manually enter the IP address, user name and password for the current reservation.

How do I modify my remote desktop connection screen size when using the Get RDP file (Option 1)?

While logged into the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) Web site, you can click the User Preferences link in the menu on the left to modify your settings.

Select the RDP File Preferences. Here you can change the default settings for your RDP file such as the screen size, resolution, local drives and sound.

I need more time than I originally thought. How can I get it (Option 1)?

While logged into the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) Web site, click Current Reservations. Find your reservation, and click the Edit button. From the Duration drop-down box, choose a time. Click Confirm Changes. You will only be able to extend the reservation if the VCL computer has time available before the next reservation. The maximum time for a reservation (even with an extension) is 4 hours from the time you originally made the reservation.

Can I reconnect to the VCL computer if I disconnect before my reservation time has expired (Option 1)?

Yes. Go back to the Current Reservation page and log in again with the same user name and password.  You will have 15 minutes to reconnect before your reservation is timed out. Reconnecting to a Remote Desktop session on a Windows server will show you to the "desktop" you were already using, with all of the programs and files you had open. However, reconnecting to a SSH session on a UNIX or Linux server will be like logging in initially; any programs you had running previously will no longer be running.

I logged out and forgot my password. How do I look it up (Option 1)?

From the VCL home page, choose the Make a Reservation link and log in again. Choose the Current Reservations link. Click the Connect button, and your connection details will be displayed.

What happens at the end of my reservation (Option 1)?

You will receive warnings 10 minutes and 5 minutes before the reservation expires. Once the time is up, you are automatically disconnected, and any unsaved work is lost.

What happens if I leave my work on the server (Option 1)?

The computers are reloaded after each reservation has expired. Therefore, any work left on the server is erased. To save the files you create on a VCL computer, visit the Save Your Work page for instructions.

Contact Us

ITCS Admin - 252.328.9000
IT Help Desk - 252.328.9866
IT Help Desk - 800.340.7081
Classroom Tech - 252.328.9830
ITCS Leadership - 252.328.9000

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