Using Microsoft Windows in the College Computer Labs

Quick Tips

  • Please be sure you have read the ETS lab & classroom use policies.
  • ETS maintains some specific restrictions on tasks that normal users are allowed to access. This is normal and expected of public computer labs and includes things that affect settings for all users and machine security settings. In other words, these aren’t your computers; they are a public resource.
  • You must use an Engineering account to log into an ETS lab computer. The Engineering account is normally the same as your eID.
  • No matter which computer you use, in which lab, it has the same software1.
  • The equipment and software found in college computer labs and classrooms are for academic teaching purposes only. (Yes, this includes homework and other coursework!) Do not use these resources for any non-academic or commercial purposes.
  • Because computer lab seats are at a premium, you cannot tie up a seat without being physically present. We provide mobile sessions if you need to keep your programs running while you are not physically at the computer, and we have other options for high-performance computing.


In general, the college computer labs all have the exact same software installed. This means that you do not, for example, have to be in the GIS Computer Classroom in order to use GIS software.

There are exceptions:

  • The Virtual Classroom may not include software which does not install on the Windows Server operating system.
  • The Virtual Classroom may not include software due to software licensing restrictions. For more information, see the Virtual Classroom page.

Note that if some software has a “classroom” or “teaching” license, it will be installed in the college computer labs only. If you need to use software that is for “research” (e.g., any non-classroom use), we have resources for you.


  • PCs & Workstations: The nearest printers are automatically mapped for you when you log in. You can map additional printers if desired.
  • Virtual Classroom (thin clients): Thin clients connect to the Virtual Classroom. Because your session is portable, or mobile, the Virtual Classroom may not know exactly where you’re sitting. It will try to figure this out and automatically select your printers, but that may not always happen. You can select printers to map by using the Map Printers App. You can open this app from the Start Menu at any time.
  • Virtual Lab: You can select printers to map by using the Map Printers App. You can open the app from the Start Menu at any time.
  • More information on printing

PCs & Workstations

The PCs in the college computer labs run Windows 10. Please click the Log Off icon on the desktop when finished with your session.

Windows PCs will log you off after 20 minutes of inactivity. This is so others can use this valuable resource. (No, you cannot lock a machine to run simulations for hours or days. There are other resources for this.)

Thin Clients / Virtual Classroom

The thin clients in the labs (identified by small black boxes about the size of a thick book) connect directly to a group of load-balanced servers called, collectively, the Virtual Classroom. The Virtual Classrooms runs on Windows Server 2012 R2, which looks and acts just like Windows 8.1 for you. The Virtual Classroom is available only from a thin client. The Virtual Classroom has nearly all the same software as the Windows PCs in the labs.

One advantage of using the Virtual Classroom is that users are not limited to a 20-minute idle time, so users may start applications here and let them run without physically being at the computer. However, users will be logged off after 3 days of inactivity, defined as input from a keyboard or mouse. In order to keep an application running, simply reconnect to the Virtual Classroom and use the keyboard or mouse within 3 days.

You have two options when you are finished with your session: Disconnect or Log Off. If you close your remote desktop session like a usual window, e.g. by using the ‘x’ menu item, you will be disconnected. 

Because this is a shared user environment, you should not run processes that can hamper other users’ computing experience. (For example, simulations that use a large amount of CPU compute power or RAM.) For this type of use, we have other resources available for you. Please contact ETS if you need assistance running large simulations.

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Engineering Technology Services

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Call (970) 491-2917

Stop by an ETS Help Desk:
Main Help Desk (Glover 100)
Foothills Campus Help Desk (Atmospheric Science 107)
Academic Village Help Desk (AVB C142, next to the Orion Design Studios)