OIT to end Microsoft Windows virtual desktop access license

Note: This information was updated on May 14, 2020.

On Monday, June 1, NC State will not renew the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) site license due to a significant price increase.

This will impact all students who make remote desktop connections from non-university-owned devices to Windows computers or Windows virtual machines owned by the university. This includes but is not limited to student-owned devices connecting to departmental lab computers or Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) resources running a Windows operating system.

Departmental labs

Any student needing to remotely access a university Windows desktop computer from a personal device after Sunday, May 31 will need to have an individual VDA license from Microsoft in the student’s name. 


  • Due to COVID-19, student access to the VCL-provided Windows desktop is extended to Monday, Aug. 31 for classroom continuity.
  • On Aug. 31, access to VCL Microsoft Windows operating system images will be restricted to faculty and staff only; research assistants (RAs) and teaching assistants (TAs) are not included as staff.
    • Microsoft’s Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)
      • When possible, student use of Windows applications via the VCL will be made available through the Azure WVD service without an individual VDA license requirement. 
      • See Accessing Environments in Windows Virtual Desktop to view details to access the Azure WVD service via the VCL portal.
      • Windows applications or unique VCL Windows environments that cannot migrate to Azure WVD will require an individual VDA license per student.
    • VCL Linux environments
      • Linux-based VCL images will not be impacted. 
      • OIT recommends that any VCL application that is currently running on Windows and that can also run on Linux be migrated to Linux. 
      • OIT will assist in installing, testing and making available applications suitable for VCL Linux environments.

OIT staff are working with college and department IT staff and faculty to transition to Microsoft Azure WVD and Lab services or to VCL Linux environments where applicable over the next few months in preparation for the fall 2020 semester. More information will be available soon.

OIT is also continuing its discussions with Microsoft, and license and pricing information for individual VDA licenses will be available soon.

For updates, see the SysNews announcement.