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Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD)

Virtual Desktops

Starting Spring 2024 we will no longer have remote access to ECS lab computers using Sassafras and Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). This change is due to Microsoft's licensing terms in the CSU's Microsoft contract.

Instead of direct access to lab computers in Riverside Hall and Tschannen Engineering Building (formerly Santa Clara Hall), we will be able to use Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktops (AVDs).

Please use these for remote access and let us know about any software, performance, and connection issues. The more feedback we get, the smoother the rollout.

There are two kinds of Virtual Desktops: GPU and non-GPU. GPU is intended to be used with software that requires heavy use of a graphics card, like Solidworks, Ansys, Autocad, etc.

The non-GPU desktops are intended for software that may need lots of RAM and CPU power, but lighter GPU requirements. However, feel free to try both and let us know of any performance issues. Not all software will behave the same; some software may perform better on GPU or non-GPU, despite the software requirements. These are the kinds of things we need to know through real usage by students and faculty.

Connection Instructions

Connection instructions can be found in the ECS Resource Center canvas course. As an ECS student you may already be enrolled in this canvas course or you may need to self-enroll.


AVD is new as of spring 2024. We need your feedback on any and all aspects of these new virtual desktops.

Please send any feedback to:
or use the Qualtrics ECS CCATS AVD Survey