Working From Home

Working From Home

This page contains information on how to access CS systems from outside the department. Please observe the conditions of use when making use of these services.

  • Thinlinc provides access to CS managed Windows and Linux services, and also enables access to UCL services.
  • SSH is for Linux users who need access to CS file systems and Linux servers.
  • CSWall is recommended for Mac and Windows users who need access to CS file systems, CS Desktops and UCL services.
  • Remote Desktop Server 2016 is an alternative to Thinlinc for accessing CS managed windows services.
  • Students are able to access GPU-enabled lab machines via SSH.
  • CSWall2 is an alternative VPN to CSWall, and is currently only available to admin staff using Windows 10. 

Click here for a diagram.

This is a guide on how to use the ThinLinc client to get a remote desktop environment (both Linux and Windows). If you are using a managed machine, or a machine that we have set up for you, then the ThinLinc application should already be installed. If the application is not currently installed on your machine you can download it from the link below.

Download Client

Please select the appropriate client for your operating system: Click here to download the ThinLinc Client

Quick Start

Launch the ThinLinc application and type in the Server field. Then, type your CS username and password in the corresponding fields. Then, click Connect to start your session. Once connected, you will have a choice to connect to either a Linux (CentOS 7) or Windows (Windows Server 2016) desktop. If you choose the Windows desktop you will be prompted to enter your CS Windows password. If you need your password reset, please come to room 4.20 Malet Place Engineering Building with your University ID card.

Configuration Options

In the login window there will be an options button (if this is not visible click the Advanced button). This will allow you to configure a variety of options before launching your remote session. This includes: Screen Size – ThinLinc by default starts your remote session in fullscreen mode. To exit full screen press F8. You can also set screen size by clicking on the Screen tab at the top of the options box. Then, select the screen size you would like the session to use. Local Devices – You can configure your local devices, (e.g. drives and printers) before you start your remote session. If you click on the Local Devices tab you can select the tick box for the devices you wish to have access to during your session.

Ending Your ThinLinc Session

There are two methods of ending your remote session, Log Out or Disconnect. Log Out will end the session on the server and log you off leaving no active session running. This is the recommended method. To logout of a remote session follow your normal logout procedure for a desktop environment. Disconnect will leave the session running on the server but disconnect the connection on your machine. This option makes it possible to start a remote session on one machine, disconnect, then rejoin the same active session on another machine. The desktop environment will remain way you left it. For example you could connect to a remote session through ThinLinc in the office, disconnect, go home, launch ThinLinc and connect to the same session that you were using in the office. However, each disconnected session retains one of a limited number of licences. If all licences are in use then no new sessions can begin, which may prevent some users from being able to connect. As such, please be considerate to other users. To disconnect a session use the pop up session menu (press F8) and click Disconnect Session.


  • It is important to regularly save work when using remote sessions.
  • Idle sessions will be automatically terminated after 24 hours and any unsaved work will be lost.
  • In the event of a system failure the session will terminate and any unsaved work or active processes will be lost.
  • Servers are regularly rebooted (the first Wednesday of every month) for maintenance and this terminates any disconnected sessions.
  • In very rare cases it will be necessary for us to shut-down servers without notice, this will terminate any disconnected sessions running on the server and any unsaved work will be lost.

Many CS services are not accessible from outside of CS networks. To access them, first log into one of our gateway nodes: for staff members for students

then ssh from there to whichever machine you need to connect to.

You can do this in one command:

ssh -l alice -J

(replace alice with your CS username and destination with the name of the machine you wish to connect to).

CSWall is our VPN service which is available to both staff and student users of Computer Science.

The aim of this service is to provide secure and private communication to CS network services from remote locations.

To use the CSWall service you must have a CS user account. Staff have access to staff network services whereas  students have access to student network services only.

When connected to CSWall you must abide by the UCL Computer Regulations and JANET Acceptable Use Policy.

It is important that your system is protected against security threats and the pages below offer further advice:

10 basic security recommendations

Before connecting to the Internet

Click the link below for guides on how to install and set up CSWall:

How to Install and Configure CSWall.

RDS2016 is part of our remote worker service and provides remote access to Windows software. To access RDS2016 you can either use thinlinc or the Remote Desktop Connection app. Thinlinc will allow connectivity from anywhere whereas Remote Desktop Connection will only work from the CS network.

Setup Remote Desktop Connection to access RDS2016

You can only use the option when connected to the CS network or CSwall.


1. Open Remote Desktop Connection from the Start button, which is usually found under Windows Accesories



Or right-click the Start button, choose Run and enter mstsc



Enter as the computer name. Before connection you can use Show Options to change the session screen resolution.



Select Display to change the session screen resolution.



After selection Connect login as CS\username



At the end of your session right click the Start button, choose Shut down or sign out and then sign out.


CSWall2 is an alternative VPN to CSWall and is currently only available to admin staff using Windows 10. We aim to roll out CSWall2 to OSX and Linux users soon. We appreciate that VPN usage is very high within UCL and therefore whilst we develop the service individual staff users can request access to CSwall2 by sending an email to

CSWall2 allows you to access files and restricted services from outside CS. To setup CSWall2 follow the steps below:


1. Right-click the Start button and choose Settings.



2. Select Network & Internet.



3. Select VPN.



4. Select Add a VPN Connection.



5. Choose Windows (built-in) under VPN provider, enter CSwall2 as the connection name and as the server name. Enter your username as CS\username and your CS Windows password, enable Remember my sign-in info and then click Save.



Using CSwall2

Once you have set up your connection to CSWall2, you can use the wireless network icon to connect and disconnect. 


Connect to CSWall2:

1. Click the wirless network icon on the Task Bar.



2. Click Connect next to cswall2. 



Disconnect from cswall2:


1.Click the wireless network icon on the Task Bar.



2. Select Disconnect next to cswall2. 



See above for more details on accessing CS and UCL services remotely. 

We recommend that you store your critical and work related data on our file systems especially when working remotely. Click here for further details.

We recommend that you store your CS-related data on your H drive when working remotely. 

To access your H drive on our CS file systems  you must be connected to either CSwall or CSwall2.

1.Open Explorer from the Start button, and right-click This PC.

2. Select Map Network Drive.

3. Select from Drive and enter \\\username into Folder where username is your CS username (not your UCL one). Select Connect using different credentials and optionally Reconnect at sign-in.

4. You must login with your CS username. To do this select More Choices.

5. Select Use a different account.

6. Enter your username in the format CS\username, for example CS\bertieb, and your password. Optionally select Remember my credentials.


Creating Shortcuts to Drive H

Creating shortcuts allows you to find your files and folders quickly. 

1. Right-click your desktop, select New and then Shortcut.

2. Select Browse.

3. Choose Drive H.

4. Select the relevant folder from drive H.

5. Select Next to confirm the folder.

6. Enter a description for the shortcut.

7. A shortcut is created on your desktop.