Using Azure Virtual Desktops (How-to)

This article contains instructions for installing, configuring, and accessing Drake University's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), powered by Azure Virtual Desktops. Azure Virtual Desktops provides access to a virtual Windows computer allowing you to access common software applications such as Microsoft Office, Visio, and course-specific software.

Installing the Remote Desktop Application

The Microsoft Remote Desktop application is used for accessing Drake's Azure Virtual Desktops environment. You will need to install this application on your computer before continuing. Links to guides for installing the Remote Desktop client are available here:

Connect your Drake account to Remote Desktop

Windows Computers

  1. Click on the Subscribe with URL button.

Welcome screen on Remote Desktop, click Subscribe with URL to sign in.

  1. In the Email or Workspace URL text box, type in your Drake email address, and then click Next.

Subscribing to a Workspace URL using your Drake email address

  1. At the Pick an account screen, select your Drake email account. If is not present in this screen, click on Use another account.
  2. Follow the password and/or multifactor authentication prompts to sign in.

Once signed in, you will be presented with your subscribed virtual desktops and applications and may proceed to the next step.


Mac Computers

  1. At the top of the Microsoft Remote Desktop application, select Workspaces.
  2. Select Add Workspace.

Adding the Drake Workspace to the Microsoft Remote Desktop app.

  1. In the Workspace URL text box, type in your Drake email address.
  2. Click Add.

Adding Workspace URL to Remote Desktop

  1. Type in your Drake email address in the Email address text box.
  2. Click Next.
  3. Type in your password in the Password text box.
  4. Click Sign In. You may be prompted to approve a multi-factor authentication prompt.

Once signed in, you will be presented with your subscribed virtual desktops and applications and may proceed to the next step.

Accessing a Virtual Application or Desktop

  1. Double-click on the desktop or application you would like to access. For example, if you would like to access the Campus Desktop, double-click on the Campus Desktop icon.

The Remote Desktop storefront, where you may open virtual applications or desktops.

  1. In the Password text box, type in your Drake password. Optionally, on Windows devices, click on Remember me to remember your password for future connections.
  2. Click OK to continue signing in.
  3. You will be presented with a virtual desktop, where you may begin working as if you were in front of a regular Windows computer.

NOTE: The first time you open an application or desktop in Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD), it will take a minute or two for the application or desktop to appear. In the background, AVD is creating a location to store any personalized changes you may make. This is a one-time process and subsequent logins to applications and desktops will be much faster.

Using the Virtual Desktop

Launching Applications

The virtual desktop provides a familiar Windows 11-based environment. Common applications, such as Microsoft Office, Visio, and web browsers are included in this virtual desktop. To launch an application, you may double click the available icons on the desktop, or open the Start menu at the bottom of the screen.

Ending your virtual desktop session

  1. Click on the Windows Start button at the bottom of remote desktop session.
  2. Click on your Name.
  3. Click Sign Out.

Signing out of the Remote Desktop session.

Adjusting Display Settings

Windows Computers

By default, each virtual desktop will open in full screen mode on a single display. If you would like to customize how your virtual desktop is presented to you, you may adjust your display settings from within the Microsoft Remote Desktop application.

  1. Right click on the desktop, and click on Settings.

Changing the settings on a virtual desktop.

  1. Set Use Default Settings to Off.

Changing display settings on a virtual desktop.

  1. Under Display Configuration, you can customize how you would like your desktop to appear while in full screen mode. Available options are:
    1. All Displays: Each display connected to your computer will show the virtual desktop in full screen mode.
    2. Single Display: A single display connected to your computer will show the virtual desktop in full screen mode. All other displays will not be taken over by the Remote Desktop window. (This is the default option)
    3. Select Displays: The displays you select will show the virtual desktop. For example, if you have three monitors, you could select only monitors 2 and 3 to display the virtual desktop provided that they are are contiguous displays.
  2. If Start in full screen mode is enabled, your virtual desktop will start in full screen mode using your above Display configuration settings.
  3. Click on the X to save your changes and go back to the main screen.

NOTE: For an optimal viewing experience, ITS does not recommend changing the Fit session to window and Update the resolution on resize settings from the default (On).

Mac Computers

By default, when you connect to a virtual desktops session on a Mac, the virtual desktop will span across all displays connected to your computer. If you would like to change the settings from the defaults, please follow the below steps:

  1. Right click on the desktop you wish to modify, and click Edit.

Opening the display settings for a virtual desktop on Mac

  1. Check the box next to Use custom settings to allow settings changes.
  2. Use all monitors will show the virtual desktop across all screens. Uncheck this to display the desktop on only one screen.
  3. Start session in full screen will start the virtual desktop session in full screen after connecting.
  4. Update the session resolution on resize will resize the screen resolution of the virtual desktop dynamically when resizing the session window.
  5. Once you have changed your settings, click Save. The changes you have made will take effect the next time you open the virtual desktop.

Adjusting a virtual desktop's display settings on a Mac.

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Article ID: 151475
Fri 5/5/23 3:30 PM
Mon 7/22/24 2:48 PM

Related Services / Offerings (2)

Report any access issues with virtual apps or desktops.
Request a new application, a modification to an existing application or desktop, or a change in access to a virtual application or desktop.