Information Services

Guide to accessing remote software

This page gives help and guidance on how to access software remotely at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to the on-campus software which has been made available on open access computers around the University, remote access provision has been made for certain applications to allow users to work off-campus if/when required.

Accessing remote software – before you start

To access applications remotely, you need to be online, and using a reliable internet connection. Please be aware that the first time you access remote software, it may take up to 60 seconds to start up. This is the system logging you in. Please be patient.

How to find the application you need

In some cases, the application you need may already be installed on the device you are using – you can check your device to see if this is the case.

If you don’t already have the app, you can find all the applications available for remote access on the remote software apps list. Use the search box or A-Z list to find the application you want. Selecting an app from the list will provide specific details of how to access it.

The technology we use to make the applications available may change over time. For this reason, please start on the remote software apps list page every time you need to use an application to make sure you access it in the right way. For each app in the list you will find specific access details.

Not all applications are available to everyone – your course will determine which applications you have access to.

Search the remote software apps list 

Different methods to access the software explained

AVD Client

Most remotely available applications are published using the Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) service. Accessing apps on this platform works best if you install the native client. Full details of how to do this is available on the following page: 

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

AVD Streaming (via browser)

If you don’t install the native client, you can access the application by streaming – in other words – accessing it in your browser. Streaming an app instead of accessing it through the client software may mean fewer features are available.

Downloading free applications

Several applications can be directly downloaded onto your device for free. In some cases, the application you require may already be installed on the device you are using – you should check to if an app is already installed before starting a fresh download.

Installing licensed applications

Some University Schools will have a licence for the application you require, meaning you can install it directly on your own device. You can check which licences are available on the student software list. If your School does have a licence, contact them to obtain the relevant information to install the application. 

Check the student software list

Remote Labs 

Some Schools provide specialist software on devices within University labs, and you may be able to access this software by remotely connecting to the devices which have this software installed. This is known as remote desktop protocol (RDP) and is achieved through the Remote Labs site. If an app seems to be available through Remote Labs, check the access details with your School, as not all lab machines may have the software and not all applications are available to all students. You can find more information about remote access to lab computers on the Remote Labs page.

Remote Labs page 

Learn more about remote desktop protocol 

Storing data from applications 

When you want to save your work in an application, you should use the cloud-based file storage service, OneDrive, unless specifically advised otherwise by your course. Storing your files in OneDrive will mean you will be able to access them when you are using applications remotely. OneDrive works across all platforms and is available to all staff and students at any time and on any device through Office 365.


Access OneDrive

Find out more about Office 365

You should not store your work on local drives of your own device as you may not be able to access it when accessing apps remotely. 

Contact us for more help 

If you are unable to access the application you need, or you are experiencing problems with the service, please launch EdHelp for more help or to report problems.