Terminal Server

Published: March 12th, 2012

Category: Computer Help, Outlook

When you are away from UF and need access to your files and emails, one of the simplest tools for accessing them is the PHHP Terminal Server, ts.phhp.ufl.edu. Using a commonly available tool called Windows Remote Desktop, you can access a virtual desktop on a server in the PHHP server room. From that desktop you can run commonly needed tools like MS Office, Outlook, and SPSS while seeing the same server drives you can see from your own PC at work.

When connected to a terminal server session, programs run on the terminal server. Windows Remote Desktop sends your keystrokes and mouse movements to the terminal server and displays the screen image sent back from the terminal server.

The terminal server provides a more uniform, secure environment then can generally be achieved on a conventional home PC or laptop.

Attention Mac Users

Note if you are using a Mac you may need to download the Microsoft Remote Desktop App from the App Store in order to use remote desktop.

Making the Connection

Make sure the HSC VPN client is installed on them machine you are using to connect to your PHHP workstation.
Launch the Cisco Anyconnect Client, use “vpn.health.ufl.edu”  and login with your Gatorlink username and password. It will launch and connect with the HSC VPN.

Logging into the Terminal Server

To login to the terminal server, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start Button > All Programs > Accessories > Remote Desktop Connection
    or
    Click Start Button > All Programs > Accessories > Communications > Remote Desktop Connection
  2. Enter ts.phhp.ufl.edu in the Computer field
  3. Click Connect
  4. A new window will open with the remote desktop session and you will need to log in with your Gatorlink username and password

Programs

There is a lot of software available on thhe Terminal Server, but very few shortcuts on the desktop. Look under Start, All Programs to find MS Office, Outlook, Firefox, SPSS, Acrobat, Acrobat Reader, Pidgin (a multi-service instant messaging client) and more. If you want icons on your desktop or in your Quick Launch bar, you can drag them from Start, All Programs.

You will not be able to install software on the terminal server. If a program you need to do your work is not available on the thin clients please email support@phhp.ufl.edu with the name of that program, a brief description of the program and its role in your work at PHHP. IT and departmental staff will review the program to determine if it can be installed on the terminal server. Software packages do not always work well in a Terminal Server environment and require evaluation.

Printing to a Work Printer

The terminal server has access to the same networked printers you see at work and you can add them in much the same way. To do so, go to Start, Printers and Faxes. Click Add a Printer, Next, Next, Next (with “Find a Printer in the Directory” selected), enter ‘phhp-‘ in the name field and press enter. Select the networked printer for your room. The printers or named according to building number and then room number. The building number for the HPNP Building is 0212.

Printing to a Home Printer

When you connect to the terminal server from home or any other location, the terminal server will attempt to create a printer object for your local printer. If it succeeds, you can select that device when printing and thus send output to a printer where you are sitting.

However, the terminal server can only create a printer object if the drivers for that printer have been installed on the terminal server. The print server includes drivers for most business class printers but not nearly as many consumer class printers. If you have a printer whose drivers are not on the terminal server, you will not be able to print to your home printer.

PHHP IT used to add drivers for consumer class home printers to the terminal servers, but has since discontinued this practice. These printer drivers led to serious stability problems for the terminal servers. Since we have removed those drivers, the terminal server are much more reliable. Because of this history of problems, PHHP IT offers limited support for printing to your home printer when using the terminal server.

Disconnecting & Reconnecting

Your termimal server session keeps running for an hour if you disconnect from it. This allows you to disconnect from a session from one computer and reconnect to it for up to one hour from the same or a different computer.

You can also steal a session running on another computer. If you start a session at work and leave it running at the end of the day, you can connect to it when you get home.

To disconnect from a session, choose Start, Shutdown, Disconnect. When you disconnect from a session, it automatically locks so no one but you can reconnect to it. To reconnect just login. The terminal server will detect your running session and connect you to it.

To reconnect from a different computer, you will need to put your Gatorlink ID into the Remote desktop client and remove any Domain information prior to connecting. If you provide your GLID, the system will do it’s best to reconnect you to your disconnected session. Please note that “UFAD\glid” is *different* than simply “glid”.

  • Note: The Mac Remote Desktop client insists on filling in the Domain field with the name of the computer you are connecting to. You *must* delete that entry to successfully reconnect to your session.

Connection Timeout

To conserve its memory and processor, the terminal server will disconnect idle sessions after 3 hours of inactivity. It will also expire disconnected sessions after 1 hour in the disconnected state. If you stop using a session you have 3 hours until you are disconnected and 1 more until the session is expired. So save your work!

Video on the Terminal Server

The PHHP terminal server environment is not designed to handle audio/video streams. You can do it but it will not be a great experience. The audio stream will lag about 2 seconds behind the video–at best. This problem can be mitigated somewhat by reducing the size of the window displaying the video, but it cannot be fixed. This may be OK for your purposes, but if you want perfectly synchronized audio and video, you will not get it from this system. As such we don’t advise watching video running on the terminal server.

This problem is inherent to the remote desktop connections used to connect you to the terminal server. Even with the best hardware and software the lag only goes down to about 1 second when using remote desktop. Truely synchronized audio and video is possible for remote connections, but this system cannot do it.

Audio Players

Audio Players such as Windows Media often provided an animated display coordinated with the music. The video updates caused by the animation will slow down your internet connection and the terminal server. Due to the aforementioned problems with video, the animation will not even move in time with the music. As such, PHHP IT recommends you minimize the animation window or turn animation off. The bigger the size of animation the slower things will be.