Getting Started with Virtual Sites

Choosing a Connection Method

Access Virtual Sites from any web browser. You can: 

  • Run individual software applications in a web browser (recommended).
  • Open a full Windows desktop and access applications from the Windows Start menu, allowing you to run multiple applications and share data between them. Select either a graphics processing unit (GPU) version or non-GPU version.


  • Recommended for running most standard applications.


  • Enhanced performance for applications requiring larger computational power such as Adobe InDesign, ArcGIS Pro, etc.

Saving Your Files

  • It is recommended that you use Kumo to configure a U-M cloud storage service (Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive) for long-term file storage when using Virtual Sites.
  • Virtual Sites does not save files automatically. If your network connection is interrupted while using Virtual Sites, you can recover files saved locally (Desktop or My Documents) after re-establishing your connection. However, locally saved files are temporary and will be deleted within 72 hours.
  • If you are simultaneously logged into more than one Virtual Sites session (e.g., GPU session and non-GPU session), files saved to a local drive will not persist across sessions.

Session Limits

  • Virtual Sites sessions will time out after 15 minutes of inactivity.
  • Your connection may be terminated if your session lasts longer than 12 hours. 
  • After a Virtual Sites session is terminated, session data is deleted within 15 minutes.
  • Because of these limits, long-running analytics jobs are not supported in Virtual Sites. The U-M Research Computing Package may be a better resource for these tasks.

DUO Two-Factor Authentication

Virtual Sites users must use DUO Two Factor Authentication. This can be configured at the Safe Computing DUO page.