The Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) is, in essence, a method of remotely accessing and using a University machine. With the VCL, users can reserve space on a University machine in order to access particular programs that they need for courses but may not have on their personal computers. For example, Microsoft Office is required for this course. If you do not have Office on your own computer, you will need to use a lab computer or access the program through the VCL for your assignments.

VCL Features

  • Easy-to-use remote access from one’s own desktop or mobile computer
  • Full access to a dedicated computing resource (some scheduling choices include monitored root or administrator access). This access is the same or more than what is possible in a physical computing laboratory.
  • Vendor-standard remote access protocols and client software. Eliminates the need for specialized customization of one’s own computer and eases updates and maintenance
  • Extensible to any remotely-accessible desktop systems in specialized campus labs. Departments can bring their lab to their students.

Please visit NCSU’s VCL resources for more details.

Reserving a VCL Computer

To connect to the VCL (for scheduling and running an application remotely):

  1. Go to
  2. Select “Make a VCL Reservation”
  3. Log in to the web-based reservation system with your Unity credentials
  4. Choose the application and operating system environment (Solaris, Linux, or Windows)
  5. Select when you want access to the program: 
    • Choose “Now” if you wish to use the application immediately
    • Choose “Later” to create a future reservation, and enter the day and time
  6. Select the session length (30 minutes, 1 hour, etc.)
  7. Submit

If you choose to use an application now:

You will be taken to a “Current Reservations” page with a note in red that says “Pending…” When the application is set up on the remote computer (requiring as much as 1 to 20 minutes to load), the “Pending…” note will be replaced by a “Connect!” button. Select it to connect.

If you schedule to use the application later:

You will get a reservation confirmation by email. Return to at the specified reservation time and select the “Current Reservations” link to connect to the application.

How do I use VCL on a MAC?

Prior to using VCL on a MAC computer, you must first install Remote Desktop. You should search for this application in the App Store.

What’s a VPN?

A VPN is a Virtual Private network. NC State may require extra security when accessing certain data or programs, so if you are not on campus and want to access the campus network, you have to connect through a VPN.

Instructions for installation and use are available here:

The use of VPN software may be illegal in certain countries and could subject the user to criminal prosecution. Please always use caution and refer to your local and national laws before using any software. If you are unable to download software needed for this class, you may want to wait until you are able to take the class in person.

What’s a WVD?

A Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a Windows environment that has been deployed for curriculum specific applications as well as general purpose (e.g EOS Lab) computer lab software solutions via Microsoft Azure cloud services. WVD environments can be accessed via the VCL website at

For further instructions on these services (requirements, access , etc), please visit this Web page: