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DECS Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Information

The DECS RDS servers provide users with an environment similar to the DECS Public Computer Labs where users can access all of their network files and most of the same software. Use of these servers is available to all engineering users.

 Saving Your Work

  • While working on the RDS servers, it is important to save all files to your home directory (M: drive). This ensures that your files will be available in future RDS sessions and in the DECS Public Computer Labs. Files stored on the servers local C: drive may be deleted at any time. File locations which are automatically stored in your home directory include the Desktop and My Documents directory.
  • If a file is too large to fit on your home directory, you may use the DECS scratch space (S: drive) for temporary storage. WARNING: The DECS scratch space is temporary storage space and old files are deleted on a regular basis. Files needed for long-term or archival usage should be stored in another network location that is backed up, such as your home or research directories.
  • Click here for more information about the scratch space, and other network storage locations provided by DECS.

Disconnecting versus Signing Out

  • If you sign out via the start menu, your session will be removed from the RDS servers. A new session will be created when you reconnect.
  • If you disconnect via the start menu or by exiting/closing your Remote Desktop client, your session will remain active on the RDS servers for 12 hours. During this time, you can reconnect to your session, allowing you to continue right where you left off. Disconnected sessions are automatically logged off and removed from the RDS servers after 12 hours of inactivity.

Local Resource Redirection (USB flash drives, hard drives, etc.)

  • The RDS servers will redirect certain local resources and devices that are attached to the local computer you are connecting from. For example: if you connect to RDS from your laptop and have a USB flash drive attached to your laptop, it should be available on the RDS servers.
    The following local resources can be redirected:
    • USB devices
    • Hard drives
    • CD/DVD drives
    • Clipboard (for copy and paste)
    • Audio
    • Printers (explained below in the Printing section)
  • USB flash drives, and other devices with a drive letter, will be displayed in "This PC" (formerly known as My Computer) with the following name: "E on laptop" where "E" is the local drive letter and "laptop" is the name of the local computer that you are connecting from.
  • Some USB devices may not be properly redirected; it depends on the device and whether or not it requires special drivers. Mac and Linux computers are known to have issues redirecting resources. Please contact the DECS Support Office if you are having issues redirecting a USB device.


  • The DECS Public Computer Lab printers are available from the RDS servers. Printing to them will use your engineering print quota just as it would in the labs.
  • Printers attached to the local computer you are connecting from should also be available through RDS Printer Redirection. For example: if you connect to RDS from your home computer, and have an inkjet printer attached to that computer, that inkject printer should be available in your RDS session. Redirected printers will be listed with the text "(redirected)" at the end of the printer name.


  • The RDS servers benefit from a rolling maintenance system, wherein the latest updates are applied behind-the-scenes, and you need only sign out and back in to the RDS system to connect to the most up-to-date server.
  • You will receive a pop-up message when you reconnect to a server that is scheduled for maintenance, please finish the work in your current session and sign out when you are finished. Please see the above section "Disconnecting versus Signing Out" if you are unsure about the difference between the two.
  • All RDS servers are subject to being restarted or taken off-line for critical maintenance at any time.

Computational Jobs

  • The DECS RDS servers are not computational servers, please consider using the DECS Compute Servers for resource intensive or long running computational jobs.