Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) :: Getting Started


Install Software on Your Computer:

Depending on your personal computer operating system (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux), you might need additional connection software such as Remote Desktop Connection.

  • Windows - Remote Desktop Connection is included in Windows XP, Vista, and 7.
  • Mac OS X - Remote Desktop Connection can be downloaded from Mactopia:
  • Linux/Unix - Although Microsoft does not provide a client for these operating systems, the open source community has developed rdesktop. Most modern distro's include this package. If not, the tool can be downloaded from the rdesktop web site:

First Reservation:

First time users of the Virtual Computing Lab should reserve a machine for the purpose of making sure it works properly with their computer. Don't wait until the day before an assignment is due to become familiar with this new tool. It does not take long: 10-30 minutes depending on your knowledge of remote desktop technologies. Why should you test the waters first?

   ALL files on a VCL computer will be DELETED at the end of a reservation.

   Follow the instructions below to ensure you can save your work!



Start the reservation process:

  1. Go to the VCL Log In page, select one of The Claremont Colleges from the list, and use a valid network ID and password from that institution to log in.
  2. Click the 'Make a Reservation' link.
  3. You will be presented with a menu of application environments to choose from.
  4. Select the VCL application environment that contains the desired software.
  5. Select a time to start the reservation. For immediate access select 'Now'.
  6. Select the duration of the reservation, by default the initial duration is 1 hour. Once the reservation is active it can be extended up to 4 hours total.
  7. Submit your request.
  8. If a future time/date is requested a confirmation message will appear concerning the reservation. If the request is for immediate access a new page will provide real-time information concerning the provisioning of the virtual computer. Click on the 'Pending...' link for details.
  9. it can take anywhere from 1 to 20 Minutes for the provisioning process to complete.
  10. Once ready, a 'Connect' button will appear.
  11. Click the Connect button to access the details of the virtual computer. The details can include the remote IP address, a single one-time password (depending on the environment) and information on how to connect to the remote computer running the application environment selected.  Also note the details regarding the connect information will change for each reservation you make.
  12. Click Get RDP File to download a pre-configured connection file. Open the connection file using one of the Remote Desktop Connection clients discussed at the beginning of this guide. A prompt for a user name and password will appear. Use the information provided by the reservation system.
    • If the prompt for user name and password includes a DOMAIN field, leave it blank.
    • Passwords are CaSe SeNsiTiVe. Most of the Remote Desktop Connection software from Microsoft does not allow cutting and pasting the password so it must be re-typed with this in mind.

Saving Your Work:

If you use the pre-configured connection file to connect to the Virtual Computing Lab, your computer's local drives are automatically connected to the Virtual Computer. Double click the "Lab Computer" icon on the desktop of the Virtual Computer and then look for drives in the "Other" category. You should see your computer's drive(s). You can interact with the drives just like you would on your computer (drag and drop files, etc.).

Save files to the Virtual Computer's desktop first, and then copy them to your local computer. This will ensure the most stable experience.