• On-campus Science Computing offices are *open* with limited core hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Please contact a Science Computing representative for an appointment.
      • Due to reduced staffing, walk-ins may be disappointed.
      • Virtual support is still available at the above contacts or via Teams.
  • In-person access to the student computing labs (Nexus labs) is not currently available.

Remote computing lab access

Remote access to Nexus lab workstations is available using the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

When to use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

When software required for a course is only available in the Nexus labs:

  • B1-370 (SciLab)
  • C2-160 (FriesenLab)
  • Physics 342 (PhysLab)
  • STC-PHY (Gardiner)


  • a student's local machine is inadequate for running course software.

Step 1 - VPN

You will need to be connected to the Campus VPN  to access campus computing resources.  You will have to connect to the VPN every time you use RDP. The Cisco VPN client is available for all devices and you will require a valid WatIAMuserid and password to access/connect with this software.

Step 2 - RDP client

In addition to the VPN software, you will require remote desktop client software to make the connection to the lab computers.  Choose and install the appropriate RDP software for your operating system.

Pay attention to system dialog boxes that may appear the first time you attempt to access a remote computer.  Your operating system may ask permission to allow a connection through your computer’s firewall.  It is safe to allow this type of traffic to pass through.

Windows: Windows Remote Desktop (RDP) client is built into Windows.

Mac: Client software can be downloaded from the App Store

  • We currently recommend the latest version of Microsoft Remote Desktop.

Linux: Client software can be installed from the console/terminal.

$ sudo apt install remmina 

Step 3 - Find a lab computer

Workstation naming on the remote access page is consistent with workstation naming in the physical labs.

See our labs for additional information.

B1-370 (SciLab)    https://remoteaccess.labstats.com/uWaterloo-Sci-SciLab

C2-160 (FriesenLab)     https://remoteaccess.labstats.com/uWaterloo-Sci-ChemLab

Physics 342 (PhysLab)       https://remoteaccess.labstats.com/uWaterloo-Sci-PhysLab

STC-PHY (Gardiner)      https://remoteaccess.labstats.com/uWaterloo-Sci-Physics

Step 4 - Connect

After you select a computer to use, an RDP file will be downloaded to your computer.  Double-clicking on this file should automatically start your RDP client software and initiate a remote connection to the selected computer. 

You will need to provide a valid WatIAMuserid and WatIAM password in the following form:

Microsoft Remote Desktop:






domain = nexus.uwaterloo.ca

The WatIAM userid is the short (max 8 characters) username originally assigned when you activated your WatIAM account.

Friendly usernames (e.g. firstname.lastname, flastname, flastname@uwaterloo.ca, firstname.lastname@uwaterloo.ca) will not work for this!


If you still can't connect, please check the following troubleshooting steps:

  1. Ensure your computer is properly connected to the Internet. You can try disconnecting and reconnecting to get a fresh connection.
  2. Ensure the campus VPN software is installed, running, and connected. Other VPN clients will not work - you must use the Cisco AnyConnect client.  If your VPN client is older, you may have to uninstall it and download the latest version.
  3. Ensure your local firewall is allowing port TCP/3389.
  • Windows

    • Go to the "Control Panel" then click "System and Security" and then click "Windows Firewall." 
    • Click "Advanced settings" on the left side. Ensure that "Inbound Rules" for Remote Desktop is "Enabled."
  • Other operating systems

  1. Ensure you are using the correct WatIAMuserid format for your remote client.
  2. Try a different workstation. The issue could be the specific remote workstation.
  3. You can also try to access some lab computers at 

Issues or Concerns?

Please contact the Science Computing Helpdesk.