The Virtual Workspace is your away-from-TU link to your office desktop: if you’re at home or traveling and need to access programs or files, you just log in to the Virtual Workspace and you immediately get access to Outlook (including your email folders) and your H: and O: drives. This important work tool is now even more useful thanks to a recent upgrade. Below, we catch up with upgrade Project Manager Mike Iacaruso to learn more about the new Virtual Workspace.
1. What is the Virtual Workspace and why was it upgraded?
Virtual Workspace (VW) is a web-based solution that provides an excellent way to work from home or when traveling. It offers Microsoft Office, lets you get to files on your H: and O: drives, and provides a full version of Outlook (especially important if you use personal folders, mail drops, or other advanced features). VW also offers access to specialty applications that might not be installed on your office computer, such as Contribute, Crystal Reports, Resource 25, SPSS and Mathematica.
OTS decided to upgrade Virtual Workspace in order to address the outdated hardware and software that ran the environment. The upgrade has improved the services’ performance and reliability. There are also some new features that we wanted to take advantage of by upgrading.
2. What did the upgrade entail?
A completely new environment needed to be designed and built to run the newest versions of software and the Microsoft server operating system. All of the servers are now virtual machines, which will allow us to save on power and cooling costs in the data centers.
3. What new features or enhancements are available with the upgraded Virtual Workspace?
The upgrade will provide a more stable environment as well as improved performance. The new log-in page will look the same, but the desktop will have a new Windows 7 look and feel and some of the applications have been upgraded as well. A future enhancement that is coming soon will include the ability to connect to VW through mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads.
One additional change in the new Virtual Workspace is the number of choices you will see when you log in. We have removed the Microsoft Office applications from the main menu once you are logged in. Please click on the Towson Desktop to use any of the Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.
4. Are there any changes to how faculty and staff will access the upgraded environment?
No, Virtual Workspace can be accessed the same as before the upgrade, from both on and off campus. Simply launch a supported web browser (Firefox and Internet Explorer for Windows; Safari 5.1 or newer and Firefox for Macs) and type http://vw.towson.edu in the address bar to access the login page for Virtual Workspace.
5. How can faculty and staff learn to use the upgraded Virtual Workspace?
Self-help documents are available to learn how to use Virtual Workspace. Please visit our training website to read the available documentation.