Accessing Virtual Computer Labs and Applications

Last modified 9/20/2023

Illinois State University has made some computer labs available virtually. All students will have access to General Use Virtual Computer Labs, and some students will also have access to additional virtual computer labs for their major or specific courses. All of these virtual computer labs are available through Citrix at Students will automatically see all virtual computer labs to which they have access.

Some applications are also available virtually, through a web browser.

Lists of the available virtual labs and virtual applications are linked in the Related Articles section at the bottom of this article.

Mac Users: If you choose to download the Citrix Virtual Desktop Agent to your computer, you will need to allow the installer to continue. When you receive a prompt stating the download cannot be opened, click OK. You will be directed to your Security and Privacy settings, click Open Anyway. On the second prompt click Open to continue to the installation process.


  • We highly recommend using the LIGHT VERSION of Citrix to avoid any trouble connecting and to provide the most optimal experience. Mac users are especially encouraged to use the Light Version, but overall the user experience is superior for all when using the Light Version as opposed to downloading the receiver (See Figure 1).
  • You must connect to the ISU VPN before you will be able to access the website. Instructions regarding the VPN can be found here: Cisco AnyConnect.

Figure 1:
Light Version option for Citrix

Accessing Virtual Computer Labs and Virtual Applications

To access virtual computer labs to which you may have access to, use the following steps:

  1. Ensure you are connected to the ISU VPN. See the following article for more information on how to download, install, and use ISU's VPN, Cisco AnyConnect Using the Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.
  2. Using a browser (Chrome or Firefox are recommended), navigate to the Citrix login page at and login using your ULID and password.
  3. Choose the Light Version of Citrix by clicking the link Use Light Version as seen in Figure 1 above.
    3a. You have the option to Detect and Download the Receiver to use Citrix, however the Light Version provides the best overall experience.
    3b. If you opt into using the Desktop Application (Detect Receiver option), you will want to use the following steps:
    1. Click Detect Receiver.
    2. Accept the Citrix License Agreement by clicking the Radial Dial next to 'I agree with the Citrix License Agreement' (click and read through the Agreement Link to review prior to agreeing - See Figure 2).

      Figure 2:
      Agreement and Download link
    3. Click Download OR Accept the Citrix License Agreement and then click Install.
  4. Once you are presented with the ISU StoreFront Page (Landing Page of the Citrix Application), click on Desktops Desktops icon which is located at the top of the page between Favorites and Apps. This will show you all of the Desktops (Virtual Labs) you currently have access to. To access Applications available to use, click the Apps link Apps link.
  5. Click on the Desktop or Application that you are needing to use, and give it some time to launch.
  6. Click Open Citrix Receiver if prompted.
    6a. Once you are logged into a Virtual Computer remotely, click on the Windows Icon Windows Start Menu icon in the lower left-hand corner to view all Applications available to you on that virtual computer.


Make sure you are clicking this option (Windows Icon) within the virtual computer you are connected to, and not the computer you used to access the virtual lab (your physical computer). 

Disconnecting from the computer

Once you are ready to log off, do the following:


Make sure to sign out of the VIRTUAL COMPUTER.

    • For Windows:
      • Click Start → Click the Logo at the top of the left hand column of the Start menu →  Click Sign Out (See Figure 3).

        Figure 3:
        Sign Out of windows
    • For Mac:
      • Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of your screen > Click Logout.
  1. Disconnecting from the Citrix Virtual Desktop using the Citrix menu.
    • Light Version:
      • Click the Citrix menu icon in the top center of the browser window (See Figure 4) →  Click Disconnect.

        Figure 4:
        Disconnecting from Windows Virtual Desktop


Tips for Using the Virtual Labs

    • There is an idle timeout period of 15 minutes. Any unsaved work may be lost if your session times out due to inactivity.
    • Do NOT save work locally to the virtual computer. It is recommended that you save all work to OneDrive.
    • Do NOT use the standard print settings as they will print to an on-campus computer lab that may be inaccessible to you. Instead, print to PDF and save it to OneDrive.

Getting Help and Providing Feedback

If you encounter errors or have problems running the application while in class, please inform your instructor. To report technical problems with the application outside of class, please contact the Technology Support Center at (309) 438-4357, or via request form at, and provide the following information:

  • Your name, ULID, and a good phone number to contact you.
  • The course and section you are accessing the application for.
  • The name of the application.
  • A brief description of the error you are encountering.
  • What device you are using to access Citrix and the Operating System (Windows or Mac. Operating system: Windows 10/MacOS Big Sur).


If you are prompted to Download, Run and Open a Launch.ica File - please reference the following Citrix Support Article: Citrix Support Article for .ica File

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