What is VLab
VLab, provided by ITS Endpoint Management Services, allows you to run university-licensed software on your own computer from anywhere with an internet connection. Once you install the client, you can simply select a program you would like to run in your browser and it will launch as if it is on installed on your machine.
VLab is virtualization software - programs do not run directly on your system and most computational resource loads are processed on ITS servers - which means most modern computers with a broadband internet connect can run computational-intensive programs offered by VLab. You can access VLab at http://vlab.uidaho.edu and read on to learn more about VLab.
What software is available on VLab?
- ArcGIS Desktop 10.3.1
- Distance 6
- Mark 6
- Minitab 17
- TK Solver
- Oracle SQL Developer
- Geometers Sketchpad
- MathCAD 15
- AutoCAD 2016
- Matlab 2015a
- SAS 9.4
- Morningstar Direct (Class Restricted)
- EES (Class Restricted)
- SAP2000 (Class Restricted)
- RISA (Class Restricted)
Endpoint Management Services supports VLab on the following platforms:
- Windows 7 and newer
- OS X 10.8 and newer
- iOS 7 and newer *
- Android 4.0 and later *
Web Browsers Supported:
- Internet Explorer
You will need administrative rights on your computer to install the client. Please note that VLab requires a broadband internet connection. While bandwidth requirements are low, a faster connection will make access to local drives and printing more pleasant. VLab requires the Citrix Receiver client to be installed on your computer. The Citrix Receiver download will be provided at the VLab login screen if no client is detected. You will need administrative rights on your computer to install the client.
*Citrix does offer clients for both iOS, Android and Linux, but these platforms are not yet officially supported by ITS.
Drives on your Computer
Your network home directory (the U: drive) is automatically available when using VLab applications. Working from the U: drive is recommended as your data will be available no matter what machine you are connecting from. Your data will also be quick to access and will be backed up regularly.
When you connect to VLab, the local drives from your system will automatically be made available to you.
When connecting from a Windows-based machine, all local drives are automatically connected and named exactly as they are on your local computer.
When you connect from a Mac, local drives are connected to simulate a Windows file system. The "C" drive is connected to your Mac's "home" folder and other drives are mapped out to external media on your Mac, such as a DVD drive, card reader, etc. Your User drive is mapped automatically.
The first time you connect to a local drive on your computer, the Citrix Receiver will ask you if you would like to allow it to access your local drives. Depending on your operation system, accept the prompt by clicking "Permit all access" (on a Windows machine) or "Read & Write" (on a Mac machine) to allow VLab applications to open and save files directly to your local computer drives.
Frequently Asked Questions
VLab is currently available to all enrolled students, including Engineering Outreach students, at the University of Idaho. If you are a faculty member who would like to use VLab for teaching, please send an email request to the ITS Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No, VLab can be accessed from anywhere without a VPN connection. So long as you can connect to the internet (with broadband service) you can access VLab software.
No. Once you have logged in to VLab and started the program you wish to use, you may close the VLab webpage if you wish. If you leave the VLab webpage open, you will be automatically logged out after ten minutes of inactivity. If you would like to start another VLab program, you may need to log back in to the VLab site to select and launch the software.
When you launch a Citrix application, all of the printers connected to your machine will automatically be made available. Citrix uses a universal print driver to that should be compatible with most printers.
Since VLab is a shared system with limited resources, running programs that are not used for one hour will automatically close and be disconnected from the server. If you are actively using a program, there is no limitation as to how long you can be connected and using it.
Student Computing Systems currently only support accessing VLab from Windows and Mac machines. Citrix does provide clients for additional platforms such as Linux, iOS and Android, but Student Computing Systems does not currently provide direct support for these clients.
You can view a full list of Citrix-provided clients on their client webpage.
Most browsers will automatically start the Citrix client when you click on the program. Some browsers, depending on how they are configured, will instead download an ICA file. This file tells the Citrix client how to connect to the program you are trying to launch. If you get an ICA file, simply open it and the Citrix client will launch your program.
The first time you log in to VLab using Chrome, you will be prompted to install the Citrix Receiver even if it is already installed. When prompted, please click the “Install” button.
Vlab should then display an External Protocol Request message. Check the “remember my choice for all links of this type” checkbox and click “Launch Application”.
If VLab is unable to detect the Citrix Receiver, it will fall back to using a browser-based client to present your applications. While this works, the user experience is not as good as with the Citrix Receiver.
You can force VLab to use the locally installed Citrix Receiver by clicking your username in the upper right corner of the VLab application list and selecting “Change Receiver…”
You will then be prompted to Install the Citrix Receiver. Click Install and install the Citrix Receiver if you have not already done so.
This will take you back to the application list. You can now click your application and it should open in the standalone Citrix Receiver.