UW-Madison Remote Desktop Service - Overview

This document provides an overview of the UW-Madison Remote Desktop Service, which provides employees supplemental access to commonly-used, campus-licensed applications that are only available on the Windows platform. At this time, the service is primarily intended for use by DoIT Departmental Support customers. The Remote Desktop Service is not approved to host or process sensitive or restricted University data and is not to be used for these purposes.

Table of Contents

 Requesting Access

University of Wisconsin-Madison employees should complete the Remote Desktop Service Access Request Form to request access to this service. For requests on behalf of groups of employees, please contact support@doit.wisc.edu.

Connection Instructions

Detailed instructions for connecting can be found here: UW-Madison Remote Desktop Service - Connection Instructions

Applications Available

The following applications are available for use:

  • 7-Zip
  • Adobe Acrobat DC
  • Audacity
  • EMS Desktop Client1
  • Google Chrome
  • Microsoft Office 365
    • Access1
    • Excel
    • OneNote
    • Outlook
    • PowerPoint
    • Word
  • Microsoft Project 20161,2
  • Microsoft Project 20131,2
  • Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT)
    • AD Certificate Services
    • AD Domains and Trusts
    • AD Sites and Services
    • AD Users and Computers
    • Group Policy Management
  • Microsoft Visio 20161,2
  • Microsoft Visio 20131,2
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Notepad++
  • Oracle SQL Developer
  • Perceptive Content Desktop Client
  • PuTTY
  • QWS3270 Secure
  • SecureCRT
  • SecureFX
  • Treesize
  • WinSCP
  • WiscIT Powered By Cherwell1
1 - Application available to be run independently of a full desktop session.
2 - Project and Visio are not licensed under the campus Microsoft site license and require proof of license ownership to access. Contact licensing@doit.wisc.edu and copy support@doit.wisc.edu to request access to Project and/or Visio.

Information on requesting the installation of additional software not listed here can be found in [Link for document 58393 is unavailable at this time]


To ensure a responsive environment for those actively utilizing the service, the following session timeouts are enforced:

  • Disconnected user sessions (when a user closes their session but does not explicitly logoff) are automatically ended after 3 hours.
  • Idle sessions (connected sessions without user interaction) are automatically ended after 8 hours.
User profile quotas are also implemented to prevent profiles from exceeding 20GB in size.

    Maintenance Windows / Planned Outages

    The scheduled maintenance windows for Remote Desktop Service are Wednesday 3AM to 5AM and Sunday 5AM to 8AM. Outages planned for any other time will be communicated via remotedesktop-users@g-groups.wisc.edu.

    Running Applications as a Different User

    NetID accounts should be used to connect to the Remote Desktop Service. In most instances where it's necessary to use a privileged account to run a program (e.g. the administrator of a Campus Active Directory OU attempting to open AD Users and Computers), please connect to the service using your standard NetID credentials, then use the Windows "Run as different user" command (Shift + Right Click the application/shortcut) to open the program as your privileged account. Any profile data of users logging in with OU accounts will be automatically removed.


    Having troubles getting or staying connected?

    • Ensure you are attempting to connect from a campus network or WiscVPN and that you're following the connection instructions here.
    • If your session appears to connect, but you are unable to view the window, or have other issues, you may have a corrupted session.  Please contact the DoIT Help Desk for assistance.

    Have Feedback or Need Additional Support?

    For assistance with the Remote Desktop Service beyond the above documentation, or to provide feedback regarding the service please contact the DoIT Help Desk. For assistance accessing department-specific resources via this service (such as printers, network storage, etc) please refer to documentation supplied by your departmental IT provider.

    Keywordsinstallation windows macintosh unix cost order installing accessing connect connecting access win mac unix install request account infra waf windows access facility virtual environment remote desktop service rds troubleshoot troubleshooting   Doc ID836
    OwnerJon D.GroupDoIT Departmental Support
    Created2000-12-19 19:00:00Updated2024-05-31 13:21:50
    SitesDoIT Departmental Support, DoIT Help Desk, DoIT Staff
    Feedback  8   2