Remote access to software

In partnership with IST (Information Systems & Technology), the Arts Computing Office offers remote access to applications used in some courses. Remote access allows a student to run a piece of software without installing it locally on their computer or working in a computer lab. Access is restricted to students registered in courses that are set up to use remote access to software.

Virtual applications currently available

  1. TaxPrep Installation (docx)
  2. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) opening files (docx)
  3. Free learning resources available to students for SAS
  4. Courses with access to SPSS VDI
  5. Stata 15 IC

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Public computing labs


You can access virtual apps installed locally in the following areas:

PAS 1080, PAS 1098, PAS 1099, PAS 1237, or HH 280

  • From the Start menu, type the name of the application (e.g. SPSS or TaxPrep) OR, choose Start > All Programs, then browse for the virtual application.

  • For more information on computer labs, visit our ACO computing labs page

  • Also see Software available in the labs

  • Use Labstat to remotely access our labs

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    Connecting remotely to virtual applications (VDI)

    As an alternative to using browser-based access to remote applications, you can run Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), which is part of the Windows operating system, and a downloadable application for Mac, to run the software.

    1. Through web browser
    2. In our public computing labs

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    1. Connect to UWaterloo's Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Windows
    2. Download the .rdp file from RD Web Access, as shown below (using nexus\youruserID to login) and open it.


    Note: Users may not have all of the resources shown below available to them. Select the resource you need to begin using it. 


    1. Enter your username as nexus\[userID] (your userID is your WatIAM userID) and your WatIAM password. Select the option Remember me and click OK.
    2. To access the file again, simply run the .rdp file.

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    1. If on campus, connect to eduroam wireless network. If off campus, connect to UWaterloo's Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Mac.
    2. Change the default security settings:
      1. Click on the Apple menu and select System PreferencesSystem preferences dropdown selection on a mac 
      2. In the top row, click on Security & Privacy.the mac pop-up menu where you select security and privacy after selecting system preferences
      3. Select general at the top, then look for the section titled Allow apps downloaded from - unlock and make changes to Anywhere. If there isn't an Anywhere option, select Mac App Store and Identified developers. security and privacy settings menu where you select general then the anywhere or mac app store and identified developers bubble
    3. If you don't have Microsoft Remote Desktop, download the latest version of Microsoft Remote Desktop, from the Apple App Store.
      1. Click the Apple menu and select App Store:select app store on apple dropdown menu
      2. Search for Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 and download it by clicking on Free, then Install App:microsoft remote desktop 10 app with a red background icon and white outlined computer
      3. If you're asked for your Apple ID and password, enter it, then click Sign In:apple ID and password prompt to confirm the installment
      4. Once the software is installed, click on Open and you will be brought to the main menu:microsoft remote desktop app opened to main page showing a computer and an add feed button
    4. Configure Microsoft Remote Desktop to be able to access your computer’s folder:
      1. On the main window for Remote Desktop, click on the Settings icon on the top. On the drop-down menu that appears, click on the Preferences.
      2. In the General tab, under If Folder redirection is enabled for Managed Resources or RDP files, redirect:, click on Nothing and change to Choose Folder.
      3. In the Finder window that appears, navigate to the folder you desire to appear in the app and select Choose. One folder that can be chosen is the Users folder which would allow all folders within your account to be visible in the app.
    5. Now in the main window for Remote Desktop, under the Workspaces tab, click on Add Workspaces.
    6. In the URL field, type
    7. type the URL in the URL field
    8. In the User Account Field change the selection from Ask me every time to Add User Account… If you have a pre-existing Nexus account with your WatIAM, log in then select that account.
    9. If not, then enter the username as nexus\[userID] (the userID is your WatIAM userID) and your WatIAM password, then click Save, then Next.
    10. You should now see all the resources that you have access to within the RemoteApp, e.g.:all resources you might need access to and could use with remote desktop such as taxprep, SAS, and statistical package for the social sciences
    11. Next time you log in, search for Microsoft Remote Desktop then click and run the app.

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    Connecting remotely to virtual applications (WVD)

    Go to:

    A prompt will appear asking you to sign in. Sign in using your WatIAM credentials. 

    Arts Desktop Sign In

    It does not require using the campus VPN (it’s in the MS cloud). It looks like this:


    Single click the “Arts Desktop” and eventually you’ll be presented with a prompt for credentials that looks like this:  

    Arts Desktop Nexus Sign in

    Eventually you’ll be logged in a ‘tab’ that has a full desktop.

    Users need to sign out of the "Arts Desktop" when they are done using it. 

    Arts Desktop Sign Out

    Using web browser

    NOTE: This option is not recommended because it requires extra sign-ins for each use, however, it can be used as a fallback.

    1. If you're off campus, connect to UWaterloo's Virtual Private Network (VPN) for Windows (you will need to be connected to the VPN or you will not be able to connect to the remote application server).
      1. If you're using Internet Explorer:
        1. download the file of registration entries (e.g. SPSSVDI.reg) you have been provided with from LEARN and double-click it. 
      2. If you're using Firefox:
        1. Open Firefox and type about:config in the address bar.
        2. Click on I will be careful, I promise!
        3. Type network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris in search.insert the provided address into the search using firefox
        4. Double click the Preference name of network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris
        5. Enter the URL the link provided into the url field
    2. Using your browser, go to RD Web Access and log in with the domain/username as: nexus\userID (the userID is your WatIAM userID) and your WatIAM password.
    3. Once logged in, click on the virtual application.
    4. Make sure it says Open with Remote Desktop Connection (default) then click OK.
    5. Another window will appear asking if you want to trust the publisher of this RemoteApp program, click Connect.
    6. You will then be prompted to enter your credentials nexus\userID as the domain/username, and your WatIAM password. Click OK.

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    Connecting to your N:\ drive

    Some students, faculty and staff are unable to open or locate files saved locally which would normally be accessed on a campus lab computer. If you are not on a campus lab computer, to access files locally you will need to map your N:\ drive (network drive).

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    Live chat

    Computing questions? Connect with the Arts Computing Office Help Desk on our live chat! Available Monday to Friday, 9:30AM - 4:30PM, with some exceptions.