Remote ArcGIS – SAL Virtual Machines

There are a limited number of Virtual Desktop access points for coursework students who are unable to use ArcGIS on their personal computer or access the main campus due to COVID-19. Where this access is needed, the subject coordinator needs to contact the SAL Lab Manager so that appropriate access can be set up.

Things to remember!

  • Working on a remote machine requires even more careful file management than ‘normal’ GIS work.
  • Use the “Client Software” not the HTML interface and always work from a USB device – it may seems a little slower but your data is always with you (on your USB storage device) so if the connection to the remote computer is broken, you have a copy of the most recent save available to you!

Each time you connect, you get the “next available” computer. If you logon, logoff, logon, logoff, then logon again – You might get three different computers! There is no way to control which one you get. Save your work to your USB or personal drive.

VDI = Virtual Desktop Interface

Installing the VMware Horizon Client

You can follow the instructions provided by IMTS: Virtual Desktops\Labs for Students

It’s pretty straightforward:

  1. Connect to
  2. Click on the icon “Install VMware Horizon Client
  3. Install the correct version for your operating system, you will need to restart your computer.
  4. Launch the program, click New Server and enter “”
  5. When asked, login and you will be able to see any VDIs you are authorised to access.

You only need to install the VMware Horizon Client software once.

For additional assistance with installing VMware Horizon Client, should you need it, contact IMTS.

Connecting to an ArcGIS Pool Computer

If you have been authorised for access, you will see the ArcGIS Pool when you are logged in to the VMware Horizon Client and connected to “”. To access an ArcGIS Pool computer, you double-click on the ArcGIS Pool icon.

Screenshot of the VMware Horizon Client showing the ArcGIS Pool

You may be asked to log in again – provide your UOW credentials if you are, the domain is automatically added, do not change this. This will take you to the Computer Rules Screen you are used to seeing when you sit down at a computer in the Spatial Teaching Lab.

Click the OK button, just like you would if you were sitting in front of the computer in the lab; as you have already authenticated to connect to it, you will go through to the desktop and be able to use the computer as you normally would. The only difference will be that it is in a window on your home computer and you need to save your files to a USB device.

To Connect a USB Device to the VDI

  1. Connect your USB device (thumb drive or external hard drive) to a USB on your personal computer.
  2. Go to the Menu in the VDI Window and click on Connect USB Device:
    Your USB device should be visible under the line. It may not have the same name that it has on your personal computer so if you have several USB storage devices connected make sure you know which one is which!
  3. Select the USB storage device you want to be able to use with the VDI by clicking on it. A tick will appear to the left of the line when you do
  4. Open File Explorer and you will be able to see your USB storage device connected to the ArcGIS Pool computer as it would normally be if you were sitting in front of a computer:

To Disconnect a USB Device from the VDI

Disconnect your USB storage device from your personal computer in the usual way and it will be safely removed from the VDI at the same time. Pulling a USB device out without disconnecting it first is NOT recommended.

To End an ArcGIS Pool computer Session

  1. Ensure you have a copy of everything you need saved to your USB storage device.
  2. Go to Options in the Menu at the top of the screen and select “Disconnect and Log Off”
  3. You will be asked of you are sure you want to disconnect and log off.
    If you are, click OK and you will be signed out – ending your VMware Horizon Client Session.