MCECS Windows Terminal Server

MCECS provides a modest Windows Terminal Server ( for remote access to many Windows applications. It is not, however, meant to be a replacement for using the MCECS Windows labs. It mainly serves as a convenience for when you need to occasionally run something available in the labs.

It should be noted that the Terminal Server was not designed to handle the load of a classroom full of users simultaneously accessing it to work on an in-class assignment or demo. Nor was it designed to handle the full load of remote MCECS users during the closure of physical university facilities for Spring 2020.


For Spring 2020, use our Remote Labs

MCECS Computer Labs are now accessible for Remote Users

Since MCECS facilities are closed for student access during Spring 2020, we have opened up the popular MCECS computer labs for remote use. This includes the main MCECS computer labs with their full load of software. We recommend that you use this avenue instead of the Terminal Server for this term.


Due to licensing restrictions and resource limitations, the Terminal Server only contains a subset of the software load we install in the general MCECS Windows Labs. Notably, the Microsoft Office suite is not available because of software licensing restrictions. LibreOffice is provided instead.

How to access the Terminal Server

You will need a Remote Desktop program (commonly referred to as a Remote Desktop Client or an RDP client) to access the Terminal Server ( Details of how to do this from various platforms can be found at this link:

Make sure you follow these guidelines when using the Terminal Server

Web Browsers are not installed on the Terminal Server this term.

Web browsers are notorious resource hogs and casual web browsing with a few open tabs can consume a lot of RAM and CPU. Due to the limited capacity on the terminal server and the expected heavy rush of users, we don’t want web browsers parked on this system. For Spring 2020, we strongly recommend that you do your web browsing on your local computer. If you must use a web browser on the remote system, please use them on one of the remote lab systems by going to:

We will be terminating sessions of users who attempt to install and run web browsers on the Terminal Server in Spring 2020.

Do not run resource hungry processes

The Windows Terminal Server ( is a Shared Resource and processes that make excessive use of resources (CPU, Memory, Disk) should not be run there. You will need to ensure that the programs you are running do not impact other users. We will terminate any process that is found to be negatively impacting system resources and inhibiting the use of the Terminal Server by other users.

Sessions inactive for 12 hours will be terminated

Any sessions that have been idle or disconnected for more than 12 hours will be terminated.

A disconnected session is where the user is still logged in, but no longer has an active network connection to their session. This happens when you are connected to the Terminal Server ( via remote desktop, and leave your session by any means other than “Log Off” via its Start Menu. This includes closing the Remote Desktop session via the “X” button of the Remote Desktop window, clicking on Start → Disconnect, or by any number of other means including your computer freezing before properly disconnecting or losing network connectivity before cleanly disconnecting. If you do not sign out (log out), programs you have running will continue, but your session will be reported as inactive.

An idle session occurs when no mouse or keyboard input is detected over a period of time. For example, if a Terminal Server session is left unattended for twelve hours with no user interaction, that constitutes an idle session and will be terminated.

If the process you are running is expected to take more than 12 hours, you will need to periodically reconnect to your Terminal Server session so your connection doesn’t get terminated.

Be aware of our Reboot Schedules

The Terminal Server reboots at least once a month for Windows security patches. This typically happens every Friday night following the second Tuesday of the month (“Patch Tuesday”). Occasionally the CAT will also need to reboot the Terminal Server at other times in case of critical patches. We will not be able to postpone our patches to work around a long running session.

Avoid long running processes (LRP) on the Terminal Server

Due to its shared nature, the Terminal Server ( is not an ideal place for long running processes. Unlike computer labs that have off times late in the night and on weekends, the remote access nature of the Terminal Server attracts users at all hours. If you feel you have a need to run an LRP on here, please contact us first so we can discuss the nature of your work and whether it can be accommodated.