Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

Access AVD

The Azure Virtual Desktop Service (AVD) gives secure access to University software, your files and protected websites. It's the best way to access software during teaching sessions and private study.

You can connect from anywhere, using most devices, including your PC, laptop, tablet or Chromebook. You’ll need a browser and an internet connection.

If you are working remotely and you need access, you can request this via the IT Service Desk - https://www.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/support/itservicedesk/

Connect via your web browser (To be used in Teaching Rooms)

Sign in with your University email address (eg. A.N.Other2@newcastle.ac.uk) and password

To learn more about how to use the web client, check out get started with the web client.

Connect with the Remote Desktop App

You can also download the Remote Desktop app for your device. (Windows users: the app called "Remote Desktop" in the Microsoft Store is not compatible with AVD, use the link below to download the correct version.)

 To use the Windows app:

  • Start the Remote Desktop App and click on the "Subscribe" button.
  • Sign in with your University login ID (eg. c1234567@newcastle.ac.uk) and password
  • Select the relevant icon to access the software or Tier you want to access.

To use the Mac app:

  • Start the Remote Desktop App and click on the '+' icon, then select "Workspace".
  • Sign in with your University login ID (eg. b1234567@newcastle.ac.uk) and password
  • Select the relevant icon to access the software or Tier you want to access

To use the mobile (iOS/Android) app:

  • Start the app and press the '+' icon, then select "Add Workspace".
  • Enter your University email address (eg. A.N.Other2@newcastle.ac.uk), then select "Next".
  • Sign in with your University login ID (eg. b1234567@newcastle.ac.uk) and password
  • Select the relevant icon to access the software or Tier you want to access

Once connected you'll see the Azure Virtual Desktop:

AVD screen with software packages

Best Practice

Use AVD to access applications you can't get on your computer whilst you're away from campus

There's no need to log in to AVD for the following:

AVD Software

Software List

The AVD software page details the services and software available:

Download software for your own device

Discounted and no-cost software titles are also available to download and install on own PC and personal devices: 

Common Questions

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

The Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) service gives you access to the same Windows 10 desktop and applications that you use on campus from anywhere with an internet connection.

What do I need to access the AVD service?

You need an internet connection, a University login ID and a device capable of running the client software (or any modern browser, e.g. Chrome/Edge).

How do I access AVD?

You can download the client software:

Or you can also access directly from a modern browser.  The supported browsers are:

  • Windows: Edge, Chrome, Firefox
  • MacOS: Safari
  • Linux: Chrome
  • ChromeOS: Chrome

Can I access AVD from a phone/tablet?

Yes, with the following minimum requirements:

  • iPhone/iPad: iOS 13
  • Android: Android 4.1

How do I access the AVD service?

Visit the Access AVD page on the NUIT website for full details.

What software can I access on the AVD service?

The AVD desktop includes the software that has been identified as needed for teaching.

Why is software only being made available on AVD?

Uncertainties remain due to the ongoing pandemic. It is still possible many students may be unable to travel to take part in intended PiP teaching sessions. For this reason, all software will be made available online on AVD as the default option, to ensure access from anywhere.

Why the 3 different tiers for the applications?

The University uses a wide range of software for teaching. Some packages require little computing power; others have special requirements to run well. Applications have been grouped by their requirements; the 3 tiers provide the best user experience for each application.

Why isn't my software available?

Software is made available based on when it is needed by and the number of students using it. For example, software taught in Semester 2 or 3 will be available later.

Can I access my usual files and folders on the AVD service?

Yes, the H: drive contains your files and folders, just as it would on campus.

The “My Documents” folder is empty, where are my files?

Unlike PCs on campus, the AVD service uses your OneDrive to store files by default, including the “My Documents” folder.  Your previous “My Documents” folder can be found on the H: drive in the file explorer.

What’s the difference between OneDrive and my H: drive?

OneDrive is a storage service hosted in the Microsoft cloud and has built-in support in Windows 10.  Your H: drive is storage based on campus.

Should I use OneDrive or my H: drive?

You can use either; you may find OneDrive to be a more convenient place to store files you use between multiple computers.

Where should I run my files from when using specialist applications?

You should only run source files from your OneDrive client. Using the H Drive directly will deteriorate the application performance. 

How should I use OneDrive when using AVD?

OneDrive for Azure Virtual Desktop runs as a Files-On-Demand service. This means you have to download your files before you use them. 

Click here for more information and a guide on how to download your files. 

Can I access my USB storage stick in AVD?

USB storage devices are not supported directly; however, you can copy the USB stick files onto OneDrive and then access them in AVD.

When using the Windows/Mac client you can also use “copy/paste” to transfer files to and from the service.

Is my data safe when using AVD?

Yes, the AVD service uses an encrypted link between the Microsoft cloud and campus to protect your data.

How can I print to my local printer?

Your local printers should automatically be available within AVD when using the Windows or Mac desktop clients.

How can I request additional software to be added?

Please fill in the form available at https://services.ncl.ac.uk/itservice/core-services/software/softwareformassdeployment/ and state which cluster you want the software installed on. Please note that only staff can request new software to be installed as it needs to be required for teaching.