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Frequently Asked Questions

What is my login information?

You log into vLabs by using your full UMass Lowell e-mail address and password.

Where are the vLabs equipped labs for on campus use?

An updated list of labs on campus that use vLabs terminals can be found on IT's main vLabs webpage.

Can I access vLabs from off campus?

You may access vLabs from anywhere in the world that has Internet access or from one of the on-campus labs equipped with vLabs terminals.

What software is accessible on vLabs?

A list of applications that are installed in vLabs can be found on the vLabs Custom Software webpage. The most commonly used vLabs pool is the Learning Commons, and most of the software is available there.

Please note that some applications are available only to students in certain majors or classes. If you are unable to access the software you need contact the IT Service Desk.

Can I access vLabs with just a web browser?

By navigating to the UMass Lowell vLabs website (https://vlabs.uml.edu/) using Internet Explorer, Chrome, or another browser and clicking on the VMware Horizon HTML Access link you can log into vLabs without having to install any special software.

While convenient the HTML Access does not offer the same capabilities that the client software does. Such as USB or audio connectivity.

What is the client software and how do I get it?

When you visit the UMass Lowell vLabs website you will see a link called ‘Install VMware Horizon Client’. Click there and you will be brought to the VMware download site. Select the download for your device.

Is there any assistance available for downloading and installing the Horizon Client?

There are online guides for a variety of devices on the vLabs Client Configurations webpage. You may also visit the IT Service Desk, or call 978-934-4357.

For more information on contact information or services offered by the IT Service Desk visit the IT Contact page.

How can I report a problem with vLabs?

You can report an issue or request software by contacting the IT Service Desk or by creating a ticket with the IT Online Help Desk. Log in using your UMass Lowell e-mail credentials and click on New Ticket. Please be as specific as possible when describing the problem.

If you are requesting new software please include license information and where the software can be found.

Where can I save my files?

vLabs desktops will be deleted on log off. That means that any files you save will need to be saved elsewhere. You may use OneDrive or another online storage provider; e-mail smaller files to yourself; or place them on USB storage.

Is there any information on recommended USB devices?

The IT Service Desk has tested several USB storage devices and listed those that have been determined to work best. This list can be found on the vLabs USB Information webpage.

vLabs desktops run Windows 10, in general any USB device that is Windows compatible will work. However, because of some of the limitations with vLabs performance may vary.

What do I do if file access is very slow?

While working with your files you may notice applications are running slowly. This is often true if your work files are located on OneDrive or USB. For best results download your files to the desktop and copy them back after you have edited them. Always back files up. Remember that once your session is over any files that are left on that Windows virtual machine will be lost.

How can I use vLabs?

When you log into vLabs you have administrator rights to a fully functional Windows 10 installation. You can install software, experiment with system changes, and do just about anything else you can do with Windows. When you log out that Windows installation is deleted, and you’ll have a fresh session on your next logon.

This means you can use vLabs to experiment with new software or learn about Windows settings without doing permanent changes like a physical desktop.

This also means that if you do not save and back up your work to OneDrive or Dropbox you will lose it.

Remember too that this is still Windows, and crashes may occur. If you have too many programs at once Windows can slow down. Virus’s and malware attacks can happen, although they will be deleted when you log off.

My Internet connection dropped while I was working. What can I do?

If you disconnect (not logoff) from a vLabs session you have 60 minutes* to reconnect. During that time you can log back into vLabs – from the same device or another – and you will have the same Windows desktop.

Windows will automatically disconnect after 10 minutes of idle time.

*vLabs Engineering has a 6 hour session timeout to accommodate certain application tasks.

The College of Engineering has a vLabs pool with custom settings and software. Engineering faculty and students can find information of vLabs Engineering at https://www.uml.edu/IT/Services/vLabs/engineering.aspx. Software like Autodesk or Solidworks is installed.

How does vLabs function?

vLabs uses VMware Horizon on the backend, to create non-persistent Windows 10 desktops. The desktops basically exist as a collection of files running off Dell server hardware. If you remember the days of using simple terminals to log into a big computer mainframe, you are on the right track.

Each time you log in to a new session you are using a fresh desktop, any bad settings or software you’ve installed will be gone.

To find out more visit VMware's website for information on VMware Horizon and you can read this Wikipedia entry on Desktop virtualization for a basic overview of virtual desktops.

How do I stay safe on vLabs?

Please remember some security basics when using vLabs or any online resource. If you are using a terminal in an on-campus lab, make sure you do not leave yourself logged in. This will give others access to your files, e-mail, and possibly other personal information. If you need to leave temporarily you can disconnect from your session and reconnect within 60 minutes.

vLabs is still Windows and malware can strike. IT has included basic antivirus protection, but that is only a first line of defense. For more information on safe computing check out the UMass Lowell IT Security website or the U.S. federal government’s Online Safety website.

Does vLabs offer any GPU capabilities?

vLabs utilizes nVidia’s GRID technology with Dell servers to power its virtual desktops. The nVidia hardware can provide some video power to Windows and applications such as ArcGIS, however, it will not be on the same level as a dedicated video card. You may notice lag in streaming video services, this is normal.

How can I request new features or software?

Faculty can request software changes by creating a ticket in the UMass Lowell online Help Desk. If the software has license limitations please include relevant license files or serial numbers.

Some program settings are ‘stuck’ between settings. What can I do?

vLabs includes a feature called ‘User Experience Management’ that allows you to keep some settings between vLabs sessions. These include Start Menu changes, browser history, and others. You can review program settings and reset or revert to an older backup by clicking on Start - Programs – Vmware User Experience Manager and choosing Self-Service.