Using Winstat
(For Members in the School of Education)

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 and School of Education network drives and printers. You can connect to Winstat from anywhere using the Winstat Web Interface, and use it to transfer files between your computer and the SoE network.

Note that when you are logged into Winstat your home directory is labeled as the U: drive rather than H: or P:. It contains the same files; it just has a different name.

If you have difficulty logging into Winstat, please contact the SoE Help Desk or talk to your department's computing support person.

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. To do so, go to the Winstat Web Interface and log in. The web interface will then detect whether you have the Citrix Receiver installed, and if you do not it will send you an install program automatically. Allow the installer to run and the only thing you'll have to do is accept the license agreement.

If you click on Winstat and your browser tries to download a file called launch.ica without giving you the option to open it using the Citrix Receiver, then the Citrix Receiver is not properly installed. Make sure you ran the install program, then contact the Help Desk for assistance if the problem persists.

Some browsers will give a warning the first time you try to run the Citrix Receiver, and block the program until you give it permission to run. If Winstat doesn't start up right away, look for warning messages. Firefox and Chrome users may need to go into their browser's settings to give the Citrix Receiver permission to run:

Instructions for Firefox users

Instructions for Chrome users

The first time you log in to Winstat the Citrix Receiver will give you a Security Warning saying that An online application is attempting to access information on a device attached to your computer. This is Winstat 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 actually 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 one hour later.
  4. Avoid using Winstat to run applications which are also installed on your personal computer, such as email programs. Running these programs locally makes them easier for SoE staff to support and reduces the load on the server. Remember you can switch between Winstat and programs on your computer by pressing Shift-F2, and you can even copy and paste between them.

Controlling the Winstat Window

Once you've connected to Winstat, the Citrix Receiver will take over your screen and you can almost forget you're not using your own computer. If you want to access your own desktop on a PC, press Shift-F2 to put your terminal server session in a window. You can then minimize it like any other program. To go back to your session, make sure the session is selected and press Shift-F2 again. On a Mac, pressing Ctrl-Option makes the dock and menu bar visible, and pressing it again makes them disappear.

If you want your session to take up just part of the screen, it's best to choose a size for the session using the web interface before starting Winstat. After giving your username and password, click on Settings, find Window Size in the User Experience section and choose the size you prefer.

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 the Local Disk (C: on ...) drive, 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.

Statistical Computing on Winstat

Winstat has a wide variety of statistical software installed: Stata, SAS, SPSS, R, NVivo and many others. For a complete list, see our software page. This makes Winstat a great place to do research, though those looking to do major number crunching should keep in mind such programs generally run faster on our Linux servers. If you'll be running long jobs, you should be aware that Winstat sessions are disconnected after 24 hours without input from the user, and disconnected sessions are terminated after three hours. If this will cause problems for you, talk to the Help Desk about using our special Winstat servers designed for long jobs.

Last Revised: 10/24/2014