Remote Windows Desktop Sessions

Session Profile Setup | Research Use of Remote Windows Servers

The 50 seats in GUG 212 are not enough for more than a fraction of A&A matriculated students. To provide access to the necessary engineering/math software for A&A students, the department supports remote desktop sessions on several Microsoft Windows Servers, using Remote Desktop Services. These servers are shared resources that allow a large number of students to open simultaneous desktop sessions from Windows or Mac-based Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) clients, which may be launched from any host on which the Remote Desktop Connection application is installed. The only additional requirements are a UW A&A Windows Active Directory account and an Internet network connection.


Windows Remote Desktop Services host hardware


Local Disk
(Capacity/User Quota)*
Remote (U:\) Disk
(Capacity/User Quota)*
RDSH-1 Intel Xeon
(2x3.2Ghz E5-2667 v4)
32 HT cores
192GB None 2TB/5GB 2TB/5GB
RDSH-2 Intel Xeon
(2x3.2Ghz E5-2667 v4)
32 HT cores
192GB None 2TB/5GB 2TB/5GB

*Typical user disk quota.  If needed, request expanded quota.

NOTE -- Though RDSH-1/RDSH-2's 192GB of memory and 32 cpu are very large, memory and cpu cores can be monopolized by an inattentive student, denying other students the ability to launch remote sessions.  Please use the Task Manager (Start menu/Windows Security/Start  Task Manager) "Performance" tab to monitor cpu/memory utilization.  Kill your own excessive processes from the Task Manager "Processes" tab and figure out how to reduce utilization to a safe level.  
Please notify UW A&A Support of excessive use by other students. To protect RDSH-1/RDSH-2 for all students, any jobs that are discovered to be monopolizing cpu/memory may be aborted without prior notice. Thanks for your cooperation!!

Remote Windows Desktop Session Setup

The Microsoft RDC client application is bundled with Windows 7 or 8 (Start menu/All Programs/Accessories) and is available for download for Mac OS X from the App Store as "Microsoft Remote Desktop".

RDP default1) After launching the RDC application, the minimal default window is displayed. If you are satisfied with the default settings, simply enter the domain name and select the Connect button to launch your session.  That said, selecting the "Show Options" button will display expanded settings that allow you to tailor your session profile and save for future use.
RDP screen resolution2) If you've selected the "Show Options" button above, the "Display" tab in the expanded settings allows you to set your session display resolution and color depth to better match your local display.
RDP default3a) The "Local Resources" tab allows you to map local devices to your remote Windows session.
RDP default3b) One of the options is mapping your local hard disk to your remote session.  This allows you to move files between your local hard disk and your remote session volumes.
RDP default4) When you are satisfied with your session settings, you may save them to a profile that can be launched directly or loaded from the RDC application to open future sessions.

Research Use

The A&A Windows Remote Desktop servers primary purpose is supporting classwork, but by observing the following conditions, research may be performed on them. Please contact UW A&A Support before attempting to perform research on RDSH-1 or RDSH-2.

  • Software license restrictions -- The software license terms for several engineering applications installed on the Remote Desktop servers restrict use ONLY to instructional support and undergraduate projects . These applications include Abaqus FEA, ANSYS FEA, Fluent CFD, and STK orbital mechanics. (See the A&A Licensed Software webpage for a detailed explanation.)
  • Excessive memory or cpu utilization -- The 192GB of memory and 32 cpu cores of the RDSH-1/RDSH-2 Remote Desktop servers make them attractive for the large-scale problems that often accompany research use, especially when compared to the 8GB of memory and 4 cores of the GUG 212 workstations or local faculty research labs. But RDSH-1/RDSH-2 have no resource management and it is easy for a single researcher to monopolize an entire server, denying all access to other students. To protect RDSH-1/RDSH-2 for all students, research jobs that are discovered to be monopolizing cpu/memory may be aborted without prior notice.

    If you anticipate needing more than 4 processors or 8GB of memory, you should instead be using the A&A 19-node Cerberus cluster, with each node having twice the memory (32GB) and Moab/Torque to manage cpu/memory utilization.