What is a VDI (Virtual Desktop Interface)?

Updated Mar 05, 2021

For links to access the VDI see the article Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI).


How VDI's work

A VDI is a virtual server with dozens of software programs, specifically for BYU-Idaho users. The term virtual in this context means "to give the appearance of." In this case, BYU-Idaho's Virtual Desktop Interface is designed to look and act exactly like a personal computer.

To access this computer interface, the user must have BYU-Idaho's VDI link and credentials. For the VDI link, see the article Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI).

Once the user has logged in, they aren't controlling just their computer anymore, they are also giving commands to the virtual server. Even though this is a virtual server, it displays just like any other computer. The user can access any of the applications provided on the VDI.

If you don't have two monitors, you can move between the VDI screen and your personal computer screen by selecting the tabs on the top of the screen. For those who have two monitors, they will be able to see two different screens, as shown in the image above.

The left image is the BYU-Idaho Server. The right is the user's personal computer.


Why students need this

BYU-Idaho's VDI has the same software programs as the McKay Library. If a student frequently uses the library for accessing software, the same student can use a VDI from their own apartment to do the same thing.

The VDI has several great uses. Firstly, the VDI is capable of handling big programs that a user's personal computer may not be able to handle, such as Adobe CC, Windows, and various engineering programs. For example, students who have to constantly come to campus to access software can access the same software anywhere in the world by accessing the VDI from a personal computer.

Secondly, the VDI is useful for users who are not able or do not want to download certain software onto their personal computer. Instead, they simply access the VDI to use the programs they need. This is especially useful for users who take classes that require the use of multiple types of obscure software on a frequent basis or for students who need access to a software they know will never use again.

For example, Mac users sometimes have a difficult time installing Windows. Instead of going through the process of downloading Windows onto their Mac, the user would access the VDI. From there, they can use Microsoft Office, Adobe, and other software needed for that semester's classes.

If there is a program/software a student needs for a specific class and the VDI does not have it, the student can contact their professor who can make a request to get the program/software added to VDI. Be aware that not all programs/software can be added to the VDI.


How to log off

Closing the VDI tab DOES NOT log the user off!

Closing the tab does not log the user off. The user stays logged in, which in some cases may cause the user to get locked out of their account when they try to log back in on a different WiFi. This can cause the student to not have access to their account. To avoid this inconvenience, the user must log off the correct way.

1. Click the Windows button in the bottom left hand corner.

2. Click the power button.

3. Click Shut down.

4. The Disconnected window will pop up if the shut down was successful.

Click Close.


How to save files on a VDI

Once the user logs off the VDI, all documents will be erased.

When a user logs onto the BYU-Idaho VDI, they have access to a variety of programs. The user can work on homework, projects, or other documents. However, once the user logs off, all the documents created by the user will be erased.

There are three ways to save documents a user works on in the VDI:

1. Save your file to your OneDrive account. For more information about OneDrive see Transferring Drive Files to OneDrive.

2. Email the document to yourself.

3. Copy and paste the document from the VDI to your personal computer.


Frequently Asked Questions

If you are having trouble with access to the VDI, contact the I.T. Service Desk at (208) 496-1411 or through the Live Chat link.

Can I open the Task Manager in the VDI?

A user user can't open the Task Manager tab by pressing ctrl+alt+delete when in the VDI. Instead, here are the instructions on how to open the Task Manager.

1. Click the gray tab on the left hand side of the screen.

2. The left side panel will open.

3. Click the button with stacked boxes.

4. Click Task Manager.

5. The Task Manager will appear. Select the program you wish to shut down.

6. Click End Task.

How do I Cut and Paste?

Users can cut and paste documents from the VDI to their personal computer. If the usual "ctrl+c" and "ctrl+v" doesn't work, here's another way to do it.

1. Click the gray tab on the left hand side of the screen.

2. The left side panel will open. Three little boxes will be clustered together. That will terminate an unresponsive application.

3. Click the Open Transfer File button.

4. The Transfer Files panel will open.

5. Find the file you want to transfer over. Right click and select Copy. This will send the copy to the Transfer Files window.

6. Click the download icon. This will download the file to your personal computer.

7. Click on the downloaded file. You have now copied and pasted a file from the VDI to your personal computer.

Can I recover saved files?

No. Every time you log off of the VDI, the system refreshes and all saved files are lost. To prevent this, see the section "Saving files on a VDI."

Why does the VDI lag?

If the user is experiencing lagging when using the VDI, the number one reason for this happening is Wi-Fi. Check your connection to make sure it is working properly. Try going to a different location that has better Wi-Fi. BYU-Idaho campus provides some of the best Wi-Fi services for students.

Older computers may not handle it as well.

Can I play music over the VDI?

Yes, users can play music over the VDI. Check the volume on VDI computer, then check the volume on your personal computer.


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