Division of Information Technology
Division of Information Technology

VCL Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please contact Cindy Saylor.


1. How long do I have after I click 'Connect' before I lose my reservation?
You have 15 minutes after you click 'Connect' before your reservation times out. If your reservation times out, you can make another reservation.

2. How do I request/use an RDP file?
  • Click 'Current Reservations' on the VCL page.
  • Click 'Connect!'.
  • Click 'Get RDP File' and save the file.
  • Launch the 'Remote Desktop Connection' program.
  • Click 'Options'.
  • Click 'Open'.
  • Browse to the RDP file you downloaded and click 'Open'.
3. How do I modify my remote desktop connection screen size when using the Get RDP file?
While logged into the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) website, 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 your default settings for your RDP file such as the screen size, resolution, local drives, and sound.
4. I need more time than I originally thought. How can I get it?
While logged into the Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) website, click‘Current Reservations’. Find your reservation, and click the‘Edit’ button. From the ‘Duration’ drop-down box, choose a longer time. Then click ‘Confirm Changes’. You will only be able to extend the length if the software license has time available before the next reservation. There is a maximum limit to reservation time on individual software programs.
5. Can I reconnect to a computer if my reservation time has not expired but I disconnected?
Yes. Just run Remote Desktop Program or SSH again and login with the same username and temporary 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.
6. I logged out and forgot my password. How do I look it up?
Revisit the VCL site, click on ‘Current Reservations’, click the‘Connect!’ button, and your connection details will be displayed.
7. What is an RDP file?
An RDP (Remote Desktop Program) file will allow you to automatically connect to your reserved computer, provided your Internet browser and operating system properly support the auto login feature. To automatically connect from the Connect! page, simply click the 'Get RDP File' button. Later Windows operating systems come bundled with Remote Desktop so this feature should already been enabled.
8. How do I make a new reservation?
  • Click the 'Make a reservation now' link on the UNCP Virtual Computing Lab page. Login with your UNCP username and password.
  • Click 'New reservation' in the menu to the left.
  • Select the application you would like to use.
  • Choose the time that you would like the reservation, or for an immediate session, select 'Now'.
  • Select the length of your reservation.
  • Click 'Create Reservation' (you can go back and edit session times if necessary).
  • 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.
  • Click the 'Connect!' button once it appears, which could be from 1 to 20 minutes depending on the available resources and their current reservation.
  • 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 temporary password information for the current reservation.
9. What happens if I leave my work on the server?
The blades which are used for the images on the remote desktop are reloaded after your reservation has completed or your session has timed out. Therefore, any work left on the server is erased or lost. Confirm that you have saved your work to your UNCP user or shared drive, your local computer's hard drive, or an external storage device before closing the session or before the session times out.
10. How do I transfer files between my computer and the remote computer I'm connected to?
See File Saving for a detailed explanation on how to save files to your network accounts, as well as the local computer hard drive and external drives. You may also want to review instructions on how to remote access your network files.
11. What rights do I have on the remote computer I'm connected to?
On a Windows XP environment, you have administrative rights.
12. Why aren't there Microsoft Office/Productivity applications installed in each environment?
The purpose of each VCL environment is to provide someone access to an application or group of applications that the person wouldn't have access to already. There are many MicrosoftOffice/Productivity Suites available that can be installed on each user's machine that will be used to connect to the VCL system. OpenOffice is available for free and is compatible with Microsoft Office.
13. How long do I have to wait after I click 'Connect' before I can log into my reserved computer?
Usually, you will be able to connect to a computer immediately. However, during periods of heavy utilization, it may take a minute between the time you click 'Connect!' and when you can actually connect to a computer.
14. What happens at the end of my reservation?
You will receive warnings 10 minutes and 5 minutes before your reservation expires. Once time is up, you are disconnected and any unsaved changes you have made will not be recoverable.
15. As an instructor, how do I request that my course/software be added to the Virtual Computing Lab?
Please contact the DoIT Help Desk at helpdesk@uncp.edu with your course/software requests.
16. What if I have problems opening the RDP file in Mozilla Firefox?
Windows Firefox users having trouble opening the RDP file:
  • Click on the ‘Get RDP’ link.
  • Choose ‘Open with’ when prompted and then click on ‘Browse’. Select ‘Browse’ again in the ‘Choose Helper Application’.
  • Navigate to C:\Windows\System32 and select mstsc.exe and click on ‘Open’ to open the file.
  • Now click on ‘Open’ when you download an RDP file; it will open a connection to the VCL.