California State University, Sacramento

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ECS Computing Services & Tech Shop College of Engineering & Computer Science

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ECS Helpdesk Remote Tools

ECS Remote Tools

The College of ECS has several options for working with engineering software remotely. We have a Windows Remote Desktop Server cluster called Hydra, which can be accessed from home to provide you with access to engineering software.

The campus also provides Zoom, a web video conferencing solution, to help get into contact with staff, students, or to study together remotely. Please see the tutorials on this page to help you get started.

If you have questions/issues regarding any of these tools please contact the ECS Helpdesk Student Assistants for clarification

ECS Helpdesk Student Assistants

(916) 278-6690

(916) 278-2858

Can I use ECS Labs Remotely?

Yes. For the fall 2020 semester you can log into ECS labs remotely. Over the summer, we have deployed a system called Sassafras to many ECS labs which allows ECS students to use a lab machine remotely.

If you wish to connect to an ECS lab system remotely follow these quick steps:

  1. Connect to the CSUS VPN.
  2. visit
  3. log in with your CSUS credentials (CSUS\your username).
  4. find an ECS lab and computer, (the "ECS" tab).
  5. click connect and enter your CSUS credentials (CSUS\your username).

For a much more detailed explanation of Sassafras and how to connect, please visit the article on our news page.

What is Hydra? How do I work with engineering software from home?

The ECS Computing Services team has developed and supports a Windows Remote Desktop Server cluster called Hydra, though its usage is being phased out.

Hydra is being phased out in favor of Sassafras and other upcoming projects, but will remain available until everything has been fully migrated and Sassafras' capabilities meet or exceed Hydra's. Please use Sassafras, rather than Hydra. There are some important benefits to Sassafras over Hydra (files, performance, etc).

Hydra is a load-balanced cluster of Windows Servers, with available ECS engineering software.

Connecting to Hydra is similar to using an ECS lab system remotely and has almost all of the ECS engineering software you would find in the labs, however software has not been updated this summer, it has the same software and versions as the spring 2020 semester so be aware.

You can still log into it by using your ECS account and following the Hydra connection instructions

Sassafras will also be expanded to cover more labs in the upcoming days and will allow for more concurrent ECS student sessions than Hydra.

Connecting to the CSUS VPN via the Global Protect VPN Client

What's a VPN, why do I need to use it?

A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. It creates a secure tunnel from your system to the campus internal network.

Some ECS resources are not available outside of the campus internal network (e.g. Hydra, some Linux servers) so you will need to connect to the campus network using the CSUS VPN.

VPN Clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux

*most modern PCs are 64-bit

Zoom Video Conferencing and Meeting software

What is Zoom?

Zoom is a web conferencing technology which allows the campus community to hold live meetings, webinars, and share content from our screens. All you need is a device with an Internet connection. The Zoom platform offers web conferencing services with both voice and video, and other features like Q&A, polling, remote screen control, whiteboards, and discussions.

All CSUS faculty, staff, and students already have zoom accounts which can be accessed via your normal CSUS Saclink credentials.

You can host video/audio meetings with anyone, not just CSUS faculty/staff/students. People that wish to join meetings do not need the app or a smartphone.

To get started using Zoom, please read the Zoom Instructions or check out Zoom's Video Tutorials.