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Guacamole User Guide

As of late 2020 we are offering a remote desktop service using Guacamole. This is currently dedicated to serving machines in the 220a lab. Guacamole allows you to remotely access machines within a web browser - no other tools are required.

Access to this service is currently configured on an as-is-required case. If you feel that you should have access, please notify PHAS IT.

Accessing the remote desktop service §

Once you have been provided with credentials, the service can be accessed at https://desktop.physics.gla.ac.uk/.

Upon logging in, you will be presented with the machine pool, along with the members that make up the pool, made available to you. While it's possible to select an individual instance, it's highly recommended that you select the Pool group, where you will be automatically balanced to an instance with the least amount of load on it - keeping a fair balance for everyone.

All Connections section showing remote machines

Connecting §

After selecting the pool, a remote desktop session will initiate in the same browser window, where you will be presented with a login window. From here, you will authenticate using your single signon ID`, which in some cases may be the same username you used to authenticate with Guacamole, but note that the similarity is only cosmetic. At the time of writing, Guacamole accounts are independant from the 'single signon' system.

When authenticating, the Session drop-down can be left at Xvnc.

Authentication window appearing after selecting a remote machine

The desktop of the machine that you have been assigned to will appear after authenticating successfully. From here, you can interact with the Operating System as usual, with a couple of additional steps in some cases.

XFCE desktop environment shown when successfully authenticated

Side menu §

The Guacamole side menu provides additional functionality and work arounds to some features that may not be available through the browser by default.

To open the menu, press Ctrl+Alt+Shift on Linux, Unix and Windows and Ctrl+Command+Shift on MacOS.

Animation demoing the Guacamole side menu


The latest versions of the Chrome web browser supports clipboard access. On your first time opening remote session, you will be prompted to grant clipboard permission. This will allow you to easily copy/paste directly to the remote machine.

As of writing, Firefox does not directly support clipboard access. If your version does not support it yet, you can enable the beta feature by visiting the URL about:config and searching for dom.events.testing.asyncClipboard. Setting the value of this feature to true will enable clipboard use. However these are advanced settings so do this at your own risk.

If your browser does not support clipboard access, you can still copy and paste using the side menu interface. To paste from your device to the remote sesion, open the side menu in Guacamolke, paste the text into the clipboard box, close the menu and then paste the content as desired.

Using the side menu to paste content into a remote machine

Screen Sharing

Guacamole grants the ability to share your screens with others. To share your screen, open the side menu, select 'share' and then the 'read-only' option. You will be provided with a URL that you can send to those you wish to view your session.

Enabling read-only sharing of your remote session

General use notes §

Further notes on Guacamole use

Some notes adapted from.