Using Winstat

Winstat is the SSCC's Windows Remote Desktop Server farm. Windows Remote Desktop Servers run a special version of Windows that allows many people to use the server at the same time, but each user gets a session that looks and acts just like Windows on any other computer. While using Winstat you'll have full access to SSCC software, network drives and printers. You can connect to Winstat from anywhere and use it to transfer files between your computer and the SSCC network.

Installing the Citrix Receiver

In order to use Winstat you'll need to download and install a free program, the Citrix Receiver, on each computer you use.

Versions of the Citrix Receiver are available for Linux and many other operating systems; contact the Help Desk for assistance if you need them.

If you are upgrading from a previous version of the Citrix Receiver, you will need to reboot your computer before using the new version.

Once the Citrix Receiver is installed, simply start it, log in using your SSCC user name and password (if you've forgotten your password, you can reset it here), and click the Winstat icon. Your Winstat session will open in the Citrix Receiver Desktop Viewer.

While your Winstat sessions launches you may receive a Security Warning saying that An online application is attempting to access information on a device attached to your computer. This is the Citrix Receiver attempting to make the files on your computer's hard drive available from within your Winstat session. This is a very useful capability (see Transferring Files using Winstat below) so we suggest you choose Permit use and check the box Do not ask me again for this site.

Guidelines for Using Winstat

There are a few guidelines you should follow when using Winstat:

  1. Do not attempt to install your own software on the server. Winstat is not the same as a regular Windows PC, and sometimes software which works fine on a PC causes problems on Winstat. This includes the "codebook" programs that come with some data sets—you'll need to find another place to install and run them.
  2. Do not save files on the server's hard drive, Local Disk (C:). Save files in Documents, on the Desktop, or on network drives. (On Winstat the Desktop and Documents folders are saved on your U: drive.)
  3. When you're done using Winstat, log off. Do not just close the Citrix Receiver, or your session will continue to run in a disconnected state. If you then try to log in again, Winstat may fail to reconnect to the existing session and you won't be able to create a new one until the disconnected session is shut down automatically three hours later.

Controlling the Winstat Window

Once you are logged in to your Winstat session, you can control your Winstat window using the Receiver Control Bar at the top of your screen.

Home – Returns you to the Desktop of your computer

Ctrl+Alt+Del –Allows you to open the Task Manager on the Winstat server so that you can end programs that are giving you trouble

Preferences – Sets options for the Desktop Viewer, including display options and controlling access to local files.

Full-screen/Window – Lets Winstat use your entire screen, or returns your Winstat session to a smaller window which also gives you access to your computer's desktop and programs. 

Disconnect – Closes the Desktop Viewer but keeps your Winstat session running, so that when you connect again you will return to what you were doing when you left.  You should save all work before disconnecting if possible in case you encounter any problems returning to the session.

If you have more than one monitor and want to use them in Winstat, put Winstat in Windowed mode, then drag the edges of the Winstat window such that the Window covers at least 50% of each of the monitors you want to use. Then switch to Full-screen and Winstat will use the full screen of all the monitors you put it on.

Transferring Files Using Winstat

When you log in to Winstat using the Citrix Receiver, it will automatically create network drives that connect to the local drives of your computer. They will appear at the bottom of the list of drives, with names like Local Disk (C: on ...) and CD/DVD Drive (D: on ...). The last part of the name will be a client ID that is assigned when you log in to Winstat. Be sure not to confuse them with the local hard drive of the server itself, Local Disk (C:), which you should never use. On a Mac, Local Disk (C: on ...) is actually your home directory on your Mac's hard drive.

These drives give you a very easy way to transfer files between your computer and the SSCC network. Simply open Local Disk (C: on ...), locate the file you want to transfer, and drag it to a network drive like U: (your Windows home directory). The process also works in reverse. Keep in mind that the file must be sent over your Internet connection, so if you have a large file or a slow connection it may take a while. We do not suggest that you try to analyze data sets stored on your local hard drive: better to move them to the SSCC network and then analyze them there.

One warning: Winstat sees the hard drive of your computer as a network drive, and when you delete a file from a network drive it is permanently deleted rather than being sent to the Recycle Bin. Please be careful about deleting files.

Printing from Winstat

The Citrix Receiver allows Winstat to print to your local default printer. Make sure the printer you want to print to is the default before connecting to Winstat.

Connecting to Winstat via the Web

It is also possible to open a Winstat session directly in a web browser, though you will not be able to access files and printers using this method. We strongly recommend using the Citrix Receiver Desktop Viewer whenever possible for its increased functionality and stability, but the web interface may be useful if you cannot install software on the computer you are using.  To access Winstat via the web go to winstat.ssc.wisc.edu, log in, and click on the Winstat icon. A Winstat session will open in a new browser tab.

The web client does not have the flexibility of the Desktop Viewer, but there are buttons on the right side of the session window which allow you to copy and paste text between your computer and your Winstat session (the Desktop Viewer allows this automatically) and end programs running in your Winstat session.

Last Revised: 7/15/2015