Frequently Asked Questions
MDS Remote Desktop
What is MDS Remote Desktop?
MDS Remote Desktop is a new addition to the MDS system, which provides MDS users with their MDS desktop on a remote machine. MDS Remote Desktop is for use by authorised MDS users only and is not available to other users or students. This service is designed to be used primarily through Internet Explorer 6 or 7 (IE) and will present the user with their MDS desktop wherever the user is, as long as they have access to the web.
What browsers can I use to access MDS Remote Desktop?
The technology behind MDS Remote Desktop requires the use of Microsft Internet Explorer 6 or 7.
You will not be able to connect using any other web browser. For example Safari, Opera and Firefox are not supported.
Computers that do not support Internet Explorer, for example Apple Mac's and Linux PC's, can use additional Remote Desktop connection software to gain access to MDS Remote Desktop.
Please see the main MDS Remote Desktop Page for more details:
Who can use MDS Remote Desktop?
All staff members can request access to MDS Remote via the IT Service Desk. http://www.dur.ac.uk/its/servicedesk/contactus/
Students do not have access to MDS Remote, due so software licensing issues.
Can I request other applications to be installed on MDS Remote?
MDS Remote is designed for people to use Microsoft Office 2007 applications (Word,Excel,PowerPoint and Access), use Exchange email with the full Outlook client and to access files stored on certain servers at Durham University from a remote location for short periods of time.
At this stage no other extra specialist applications will be installed on the system.
MDS Remote is being replaced with MDS Anywhere, further details on this system can be found here:
If you already have access to MDS Remote, you will be able to log onto MDS Anywhere.
Can I use additional local hardware via MDS Remote Desktop?
There is no support offered for locally installed hardware when using MDS Remote Desktop.
Locally installed devices such as Scanners, Fax/Modems, CD/DVD Writers and Multifunction Devices will not work in conjunction with MDS Remote Desktop.
Although it is possible some locally installed printers may work this is not supported by ITS and users are recommended to use the installed PDF printer driver and transfer the resultant file for local printing.
How do I access my S: Drive using MDS Remote Desktop
To access your S: Drive on MDS Remote Desktop you need to run a small utility.
The Utility can be found on the Start Menu under ITS Utilities and is called MapSDrive.
Activate this and you will be prompted to select your department or college. The S: drive will then be mapped for you to use during this session. You will need to repeat this process each time you connect to MDS Remote Desktop if you wish to use the S: Drive.
Can I use local USB Flash (Memory) Drives and USB Hard Disk Drives with MDS Remote Desktop?
Locally connected USB Flash (memory) drives and USB Hard disk drives are normally available via MDS Remote Desktop as long as the devices are plugged in and recognised by the host operating system prior to connecting to MDS Remote Desktop.
Drives connected after you have started an MDS Remote Desktop session will not be accessible. To access these drives you will need to log out of MDS Remote Desktop and connect again.
Why would I be disconnected from MDS Remote Desktop due to a data encryption error?
It has been noted that it is possible to get disconnected from MDS Remote Desktop with the following error:
“Remote Desktop Disconnection. Because of an error in data encryption this session will end. Please try to connecting to the remote computer again.”
There are a number of causes for this; however they are all related to network communication issues. When network packets are dropped, the Microsoft Remote Server shuts the connection as a precaution to protect yourself and the University from what it feels could be a security issue, as it cannot then maintain its encrypted integrity.
The main causes for this disconnection include:
• The model or configuration of the router/modem you are connected to
• Poor broadband line quality
• Internet speed or connectivity issues,
• Wireless transmission or configuration issues (if using WIFI / Wireless),
• Network drivers or network hardware problems
• Restrictions or configurations made by your ISP
• Firewalls and other software monitoring data transmissions
If you receive this error in the first instance simply try and reconnect..
If the disconnections happen on a regular basis you should suspect one of the above issues locally is causing the problem. ITS will endeavour to help you find the cause however we can only offer limited support in resolving the issue as the error is not normally related to the university system. However instances of this fault should be reported to the IT Service Desk.
How do I print from MDS Remote Desktop?
Printing directly to local printers on MDS Remote Desktop is not supported due to the infinite number of different printers that could be installed on the local machine.
To print documents when using MDS Remote Desktop, the recommended method is to use PDF Writer to produce a PDF file. This PDF file then needs to be copied to a local drive and printed in the normal way.
Whilst it is possible to save the PDF to the local drive directly, due the volume of data passed through the remote connection, it is quicker and more reliable to save the PDF document in your J: drive and then transfer the pdf file to the local drive.