Instructional Support

Viterbi MyDesktop (VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is the current name for virtual computing resource available to students of select engineering classes.

Viterbi MyDesktop is intended to provide Viterbi students with access to engineering and scientific software packages whose licensing terms prohibit their installation on personally owned computers, involve complex installation procedures, or require elevated hardware resources for satisfactory experience. The intent is to provide access to “installed software, on any device, from anywhere and at any time” to the extent possible.

Please note that this is different from the USC ITS administered Cloudapps.  For more information on Cloudapps, please click on this link.

What is Viterbi MyDesktop?
Viterbi MyDesktop currently uses VMWare Horizon virtual desktop technology. Virtual desktops supported on MyDesktop run Windows software only.

There are currently four virtual desktop pools on MyDesktop:

  1. General Desktop with light 3D graphics acceleration.
  2. Enhanced Desktop with heavier 3D graphics requirements.
  3. C-Enhanced Desktop with higher computational requirements with modest 3D graphics requirements.
  4. Forensics Desktop with higher computational requirements with modest 3D graphics requirements. This pool is sandboxed.

Who has access to Viterbi MyDesktop?
All Viterbi classes have access to the Enhanced and General desktop pools.

Instructors, please continue to send the following before the start of the semester to

  • Class(es) that will need access to the VDI
  • Software you will be using
  • List of TAs

This will help us to keep track and provide your class with priority access during scheduled class time.

My class has access. How do I get on?

Please click MyDesktop Logon Instructions for the step by step PDF.

Benefits of using Viterbi MyDesktop

  1. Access to the software from anywhere at any time. The user does not need to come on campus and find an available computer to work on.
  2. In most cases, the user does not need to install anything on their computer to access MyDesktop. There is an HTML5 web access method for MyDesktop. The user does have the option to install a client (multi-platform) for faster access and better performance while using MyDesktop.
  3. Users could make use of the software installed on MyDesktop with their own laptops in classrooms not outfitted with computers.
  4. Apple Mac users will be able to access Windows only Engineering software.
  5. Users do not have to deal with software installation headaches and hassles such as:
    1. Do I have the right operating system?
    2. Does my computer meet the minimum hardware requirements?
    3. The software didn’t install properly. Now what do I do?
    4. Software licenses and how do I get that back from the students when they are done with the class?
  6. All users on MyDesktop have a roaming profile (where permitted by software) and network storage. Logging in with your USC Net ID, whether it is in an ITP classroom, on MyDesktop or in the Engineering Computing Center (SAL125), your shortcuts and files will follow.
  7. Easily copy and paste between MyDesktop and your own computer.
  8. Easily mount and have access to your own computer’s hard drive from within MyDesktop.
  9. Most USB flash drives plugged into your own computer will be accessible through MyDesktop. Other USB devices may also work but will depend if Windows has driver support for your device.

Usage Guidelines

  1. Login and Getting Started guide could be found here: MyDesktop Logon Instructions
  2. In order to provide fair access to all while allowing students to get their work done, session limits are enforced. Virtual desktops are automatically shut down after 8 hours to make resources available for others. Users may log off and log back on to reset the 8 hours. There are no limits to how often you may connect to MyDesktop.
  3. You are limited to one active virtual desktop session at a time. You will not be able to initiate multiple MyDesktop sessions. Please make sure you log off your session properly. Simply closing or quitting the session may result in your session being hung that may require you to wait until the session times out.
  4. Virtual desktops are automatically shut down if there is no activity or if it remains idle for 60 minutes.
  5. You should always save your work to your assigned space on the Viterbi network file storage. MyDesktop standard configuration will redirect My Documents/Documents, Desktop and Downloads to space on the Viterbi network file storage. This is also mapped in the VM as your U:\ drive. Performance is generally best when saving to the U:\ drive. You should always save your work in at least two locations. You may keep backup copies of your work on your Google Drive or other cloud storage accessible to you. Please use the web interface for these cloud storage services. You may also copy your data to an attached USB flash drive or to your local computer’s storage.
    1. For the Spring semester, all data will be purged starting on 5/31
    2. For the Summer semester, all data will be purged starting on 8/31
    3. For the Fall semester, all data will be purged starting on 12/31
    4. Be sure to copy your data before the above-mentioned dates.
  6. Read all notices when you log in. Any interruption to services will be posted when you log in.

Troubleshooting Common Viterbi MyDesktop Login Problems
Before reaching out for help, try the following:

  1. If you are unable to login with the HTML5 method, have you tried downloading the Horizon client and see if you are able to login?
  2. If you are unable to login with the Horizon client, have you tried using the HTML5 to login?
  3. If you are using the Horizon client, are you using the latest version? If you have a Mac and running Bootcamp, you could try both the Windows and Mac version of Horizon client to see which works better for you.
  4. Are you using your USC Net ID and the correct password? If you are not sure, try logging into myViterbi. If you can’t log in to that either, there’s something wrong with your username, password or both. Please contact ITS at (213) 740-5555 to confirm your USC Net ID and or reset your password.

If the above fails, please contact your faculty or TA for assistance. If your faculty redirects you to Viterbi IT for help logging into myViterbi or if your class does not have a TA, please email Viterbi IT at Please provide the following information:

  1. Computer Operating System and version you are using. For example, Windows 7, Windows 10, Mac OSX El Capitan…
  2. Are you using the Horizon client? If yes, which version did you download and install?
  3. Your USC Net ID. Do NOT send your password.
  4. The class you are in that requires access to MyDesktop. Please provide the class name and course number.

Viterbi IT is opened from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. If you send in a request after hours or on the weekends, you may not receive a reply until the offices are opened. Viterbi IT will only be able to help you log onto MyDesktop. Viterbi IT will not be able to help you with computer hardware or software problems.

Caveats when using Viterbi MyDesktop

  1. MyDesktop is set up as an additional way to deliver software for classroom and instructional purposes. It is not meant as a straight replacement for classroom or lab computers. As such, while the performance of MyDesktop is quite good, it will not outperform a desktop computer equipped with a similar processor, RAM, video capabilities and an SSD.
  2. The user’s ISP speed connecting to MyDesktop will play a part in the user experience. The faster the connection, the more responsive MyDesktop will feel. Conversely, the slower the connection, MyDesktop may feel laggy and slow to respond.
  3. Roaming profiles and network storage is very convenient but please take note. The more that is saved to the roaming profile, the longer the login time. Keep only the necessary items on the desktop. Move your homework files to the network storage.

Last updated on October 11th, 2021