Remote Desktop Service - Connection Instructions

This document explains the options for opening applications and provides detailed connection instructions for connecting to the UW-Madison Remote Desktop Service from different operating systems.

Remote Desktop Service Access

Please refer to UW-Madison Remote Desktop Service - Overview for instructions on requesting access to the Remote Desktop Service.

Full Desktop Sessions and RemoteApps

Remote Desktop Service offers two options for running compatible applications:

  • Full Desktop Session - all applications/windows opened in Remote Desktop Service appear within a single virtual desktop separate from the user's local desktop.
  • RemoteApp - certain programs are available to run independently as RemoteApps (denoted in the available applications list). These are still hosted on the Remote Desktop Service but appear as though running directly on the user's desktop with their own taskbar/dock entry like other local applications. These can also be be resized/moved across monitors.
Remote Desktop Service Session Selection Menu

It's recommended not to mix RemoteApp and Full Desktop Session usage, as the profile which saves your settings can only be used in one mode at a time.

Connection Requirements

As a security measure, the Remote Desktop Service only accepts connections originating from campus networks and the WiscVPN service. When attempting to access the service off-campus please ensure that you have an active WiscVPN connection; more information on installing and using WiscVPN can be found here.

OS-Specific Connection Steps

Windows Users
macOS Users
Linux Users

ChromeOS Users

Windows Users:

  1. Confirm that you're connected to a campus network or have a WiscVPN connection active if you're on an off-campus network
  2. In the web browser of your choice navigate to https://remotedesktop.doit.wisc.edu.
  3. Review the security statement, then login by entering "AD\[Your_NetID]" for the username (e.g. "AD\bbadger") and your NetID password.
  4. You'll be presented with the remote desktops and applications available to you.
    • If you only need to use a single application and see it listed here, click the application.
    • If you will be using multiple applications or otherwise prefer a full desktop experience, click "Full Desktop Session".
  5. A connection file will be downloaded to your computer. Depending on your browser, open the file by clicking it in the download bar or choose "Open".
  6. Verify the publisher is "remotedesktop.doit.wisc.edu" then click "Connect".
    • You can check "Don't ask me again for remote connections to this publisher" to bypass future publisher confirmations for the Remote Desktop Service.
    • From this dialog you can also choose which local resources available are available to use within your remote connection, such as storage drives, audio devices and printers. To access these options, click "Show Details" at the bottom of the window.
  7. Enter your username and password as previously in step 3, then click "OK" to be connected to your chosen desktop session or application.

macOS Users:

Note: macOS users should first download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop client from the Apple App Store.

  1. Confirm that you're connected to a campus network or have a WiscVPN connection active if you're on an off-campus network
  2. In the web browser of your choice navigate to https://remotedesktop.doit.wisc.edu.
  3. Review the security statement, then login by entering "AD\[YourNetID]" for the username (e.g. "AD\bbadger") and your NetID password.
  4. You'll be presented with the remote desktops and applications available to you.
    • If you only need to use a single application and see it listed here, click the application.
    • If you will be using multiple applications or otherwise prefer a full desktop experience, click "Full Desktop Session".
  5. A connection file will be downloaded to your computer. Depending on your browser, open the file by clicking it in the download bar or choosing "Open".
  6. Enter your username and password as previously in step 3, then click "OK" to be connected to your chosen desktop session or application.

Linux Users:

Note: Linux users will want to install an appropriate remote desktop client that supports Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) such as Remmina.

  1. Confirm that you're connected to a campus network or have a WiscVPN connection active if you're on an off-campus network.
  2. In the web browser of your choice navigate to https://remotedesktop.doit.wisc.edu.
  3. Review the security statement, then login by entering "AD\[YourNetID]" for the username (e.g. "AD\bbadger") and your NetID password.
  4. You'll be presented with the remote desktops and applications available to you.
    • If you only need to use a single application and see it listed here, click the application.
    • If you will be using multiple applications or otherwise prefer a full desktop experience, click "Full Desktop Session".
  5. A connection file will be downloaded to your computer. Open this with your compatible remote desktop client (such as with an "Open with..." dialog or perhaps dragging the file to the application).
  6. Enter your username and password as previously in step 3. If you are prompted to accept a certificate, verify the publisher is "remotedesktop.doit.wisc.edu" then do so.
    • If your client has a separate field for "Domain" (such as Remmina), do not prepend "AD\" to your username and instead enter "AD" in the "Domain" box, using just your username and password in the appropriate fields.
    • Otherwise, prepend "AD\" to your username as in step 3.
If using Remmina, the following options may enhance your experience:
  • On the sidebar, enable "Dynamic Resolution Update" to allow the Remote Desktop Service screen to properly resize with the window.
  • Adding the .RDP connection file to the list in Remmina allows for quick access to the Remote Desktop Service in the future.

ChromeOS Users:

Note: ChromeOS users should first download and install the Microsoft Remote Desktop client from Google Play.

  1. Confirm that you're connected to a campus network or have a WiscVPN connection active if you're on an off-campus network
  2. In the Chrome web browser navigate to https://remotedesktop.doit.wisc.edu.
  3. Review the security statement, then login by entering "AD\[YourNetID]" for the username (e.g. "AD\bbadger") and your NetID password.
  4. You'll be presented with the remote desktops and applications available to you.
    • If you only need to use a single application and see it listed here, click the application.
    • If you will be using multiple applications or otherwise prefer a full desktop experience, click "Full Desktop Session".
  5. A connection file will be downloaded to your computer.
    1. After you see the Download Manager notification "Download complete", click the "Show in Folder" button.
    2. Then right-click (or on a touchpad, Alt + Click) the .RDP file that you just downloaded.
    3. Choose "Open with.."
    4. Select "RD Client"
  6. Enter your username and password as previously in step 3, then click "OK" to be connected to your chosen desktop session or application.




Keywords:installing accessing connect connecting access win mac unix install metaframe citrix waf windows access facility virtual environment remote desktop service rds   Doc ID:1775
Owner:Jon D.Group:DoIT Departmental Support
Created:2002-10-23 19:00 CDTUpdated:2020-08-21 09:53 CDT
Sites:DoIT Departmental Support, DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Staff, Help Desk Level 2
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