Off-Campus Lab Access Tools

There are two main tools used by students to access educational software while off-campus: Virtual Lab (Citrix) and Computer Lab Remote Access Tool (LabStats). Here we will explain the differences and benefits of each.

Virtual Lab (Citrix)

The Virtual Lab is a remote access tool that allows you to use educational software on your computer via a program called Citrix Workspace. You install the Citrix Workspace application on your computer, launch programs and they run from a server on campus but appear on your computer and allow you to interact. Files you create and modify in these programs must be intentionally saved to your local computer. Your internet connection will determine how quickly your interactions with the programs take effect. This tool allows MSU Denver ITS to provide students with many costly programs without having to install and maintain them individually on student devices. Install Citrix Workspace once and get access to dozens of applications.


  • Wide variety of applications available and constantly updated.
  • Requests for new software are easy to make.
  • Utilizes Citrix Workspace, a well-known remote computing environment solution.
  • Can be run entirely from a web browser.
  • Work can be saved directly to your computer.


  • Connection speed can greatly affects application performance.
  • Graphics-intensive applications like AutoCAD or Photoshop may experience performance issues.
  • When using desktop app, Citrix Workspace requires updates to be made by the user to stay current.
  • Requires some additional setup.

For more information on using this tool, see What is the Virtual Lab Environment?

Computer Lab Remote Access Tool (LabStats)

The Computer Lab Remote Access Tool utilizes Microsoft Remote Desktop and a tool called LabStats. It allows you to remote into a physical lab computer on campus. Instead of running a program that connects to a server like the Virtual Lab (Citrix), the Computer Lab Remote Access Tool connects you to a lab computer in a remote session. All programs are run on that remote computer. Any files created or modified in the remote session are saved to the remote computer. It is up to the student to upload their files to OneDrive or copy them back to their local computer. All files are deleted upon log off.


  • Microsoft Remote Desktop provides an excellent experience in most network conditions.
  • Easy setup for Mac and built-in support for Windows (meaning no download necessary).
  • Applications run on a single, dedicated lab computer on campus (rather than a shared server like Citrix) which provides better performance for resource-intensive applications like AutoCAD and Photoshop.


  • Logging into a remote lab computer for the first time may take several minutes.
  • The lab computer you used in a previous session may not always be available for use the next time around.
  • Work must be saved to OneDrive or copied to local computer. Anything stored on the remote computer is deleted after logging off.

For more information on using this tool, see What is the Computer Lab Remote Access Tool?


Both of these tools require the use of the GlobalProtect remote access system. This allows a connection from your computer to the campus network so you can access lab computers and servers. Your connection speed while connected to this service will be slower than usual and that is expected. For more information, see What is GlobalProtect?


Article ID: 122230
Mon 12/7/20 4:53 PM
Wed 4/13/22 6:21 PM

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Students can use many software titles virtually on their own computer.