Davidson College’s Virtual Lab provides access to many of the same computing resources available in physical labs. This allows use of applications and resources unavailable on personal devices due to licensing restrictions or resource limitations. Access the Virtual Lab using any web browser. Note that software provided via the Virtual Lab is Windows-only — software that runs exclusively on Apple's Mac OS is not available.
Note: You will often see the Virtual Lab referred to as Apporto. Apporto is the name of the software/service that runs the Virtual Lab. The two terms may be considered interchangeable.
Starting the Virtual Lab
- Open a web browser and go to http://virtuallab.davidson.edu.
- Press the Log in button and enter your college email address (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) and password when prompted, and complete the Duo login process if prompted.
- Press the Launch button to open a virtual computer desktop in your browser.
Using the Virtual Lab
Once you are logged onto a Virtual Lab desktop through your browser, it will function just like any other Windows 10 computer. The added features of the Virtual Lab are:
- Davidson-Specific Lab Software: All Davidson College applications used in the Virtual Lab are located in the All Software folder on the virtual desktop opened in your browser. Double-clicking on this folder will give you access to all of the software loaded onto these virtual lab machines.
- The Menu: Available options and functions are displayed as icons in the top menu bar.
- Change Display Mode
- Click the icon in the top panel to toggle the display to full-screen mode.
- Click the icon in the top panel or press the <Esc> key to return the display to normal mode.
- Upload/Download Files
- Click the File upload icon in the top panel to upload a file to your Virtual Lab desktop.
- Click the File download icon in the top panel to download a file from your Virtual Lab desktop.
- Save or Restore a Snapshot: Click the Save/Restore snapshots icon in the top panel to save or restore a "snapshot" of the current session.
- Share Your Screen: Use the Share screen icon to invite other users to collaborate in the current session.
- Launch Messenger:Click the Messenger icon in the top panel to launch and use Messenger to chat with other users that are currently using Davidson College’s Virtual Lab.
- View Analytics: Click the Analytics icon to view activity statistics for your user account.
- Mute/Unmute your Desktop: Click the Sound icon to turn sound on or off.
Please note that if the virtual lab does not receive any keyboard or mouse input for 30 minutes, your session will be timed out and you will be disconnected. Once this happens you will have 15 minutes to reconnect. If you do not reconnect within that period of time your session will be turned off and any unsaved work will be lost.
Special Considerations When Using the Virtual Lab from Off-Campus
Network Speeds & Guidelines
To ensure the best experience with the Virtual Lab off-campus, connect using a high-bandwidth, low-latency Internet connection. Poor network connections will result in slow response times and pixelated graphics. Personal hotspots and other cellular connections are not recommended, as they are unreliable.
- For most applications, performance is good over WiFi if latency is under 100ms. Bandwidth is typically not a limiting factor.
- For graphics-intensive applications like ArcGIS, use a wired network connection instead of WiFi, ideally with a bandwidth of 1 Mbps or greater and latency less than 50ms.
- For video, we recommend a bandwidth of 3 Mbps for standard-definition video or 5 Mbps for hi-definition, and latency less than 50ms.
- Wired connections improve your experience using the Virtual Lab; they can reduce latency by a factor of ten.
Please refer to the Speed Tests section below for additional information on how to determine if your Internet connection meets the guidelines above.
The Virtual Lab software lives in a Virginia datacenter, which is meant to keep the round trip time between your clicks and application responses (latency) as low as possible.
- Bandwidth is likely not a limiting factor unless you are using a graphics-intensive app or streaming video.
- If you experience slow performance in the Virtual Lab, you can test latency and bandwidth using sites like https://www.speedtest.net or http://cloudharmony.com/speedtest-for-aws to determine whether or not your network connection is fast enough. (If you use the speedtest-for-aws option, you need to allow the tests to complete to get a full understanding of network performance issues you might face.)